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I have dined here before and found it to be a beautiful atmosphere and really very delicious food. I have used Mint Kitchen Catering for many years and know the food to be always up to scratch. My particular favorite is the well known chicken club sandwiches I don;t know what the secret ingredient is but they’re very more-ish!! I was sad when I heard James had closed as a restaurant and was only for private dining but was so pleased to get an invitation to a recent event there and I have to say they really do specialize in events these people because it was really wonderful. Right from walking in to the new bar area with champagne and oysters and a beautiful baby grand piano I hadn’t seen before and the chap playing was really world class it was spectacular and really an ambiance that is rare in Auckland. The canapes as I mentioned earlier were divine. My daughter is getting married next year and I have already booked her in to come and see when she’s home for London next month because it just really ticks all boxes as a venue.
My girlfriend and I live in the area and thought we’d look at local restaurants to dine at as a treat. We came across this place on the internet and thought that we would give it a go.
I was very pleased with the service that we received while walking in and throughout the remainder of the evening. Soon after being seated and having our order taken our meal was presented in good time. We both ordered the smoked kahawai as entrees and shared a seafood paella pan which was delicious. The food was amazing and well presented.
Unfortunately we did not have time for desert, but my partner and I will be definitely dining here again.
As a treat I bought a voucher for my partner for 9-course tapas. There’s always a little bit of trepidation when fronting up with vouchers as it can sometimes result in being treated like ‘second class citizens’, this was definitely one of those occasions.
Being from out of town, I booked well in advance, eventually settling on a date – third time lucky as I was told the two previously requested nights weren’t available. This place must be really popular!
On arrival we found a half empty restaurant and a very flustered maitre d’ who didn’t seem to know what she was doing or who we were. After handing over our voucher and listening to some incoherent ramblings about organic wine, we were all set, or so we thought.
Next to appear was (we’re guessing) the owner/manager who took an instant dislike to my partner. I admit that he is a bit of an acquired taste, however not even my (usually) irresistible friendliness could warm up this cold waiter.
We were told our 9-course tapas would not be served one course at a time but in three lots. That was odd but fine, we ordered some wine.
The first three dishes arrived; two dry fish cakes (one with bones), calamari inside an inedible tortilla and a couple of pieces of chicken, Cold plates, waiters chewing gum. Hmmmm.
When my partner asked if he could have lemon with his calamari, the owner returned with a face that looked like he’d just eaten a lemon himself.
The next three dishes arrived, all as unremarkable as the first lot.
My partner asked a young passing waiter for some bread and butter and was told ‘no problem’ receiving the first smile of the evening. Things were looking up.
Next thing I know, grumpy owner/manager stalks over to tell my partner in no uncertain terms that they don’t have any bread.
A little later another passing waiter asks how we’re doing and my partner explains how he really would have liked some bread and surprise, surprise, bread and butter arrives! Owner/Manager at this point looks mutinous and I’m about ready to crawl under the table.
Dessert comes, we don’t even bother to point out that we only had 7 dishes not the promised 9. We’ve had enough and my nerves can’t take another encounter with the owner. We pay our bill and leave.
We still had a great night, we always manage to enjoy ourselves no matter what and we had quite a giggle about it later; but we won’t ever go back!
I am really shocked at the good reviews of this place.
The food was absolutely terrible, we had a degustation menu and I can genuinely say that there was not one course that stood out (only for the wrong reasons), neither were any of the courses of restaurant quality.
What shocked me the most was the pork belly, it had no flavour, and the skin which should be crackling was like a sheet of inedible leather on top. You could literally not chew it, unless your teeth are made of diamonds. It was also accompanied by a large layer of fat underneath the inedible piece of leather.
another dish that was absolutely terrible was the paella, we were told that “the burnt pieces at the bottom is the best part”, firstly it was soooo salty, all I could taste was salt, so if it had any other kind of flavouring, it was completely lost in the salt flavour. And another thing is, the burnt pieces at the bottom is not the best part…. the rice was so burnt, it was the same texture as when it is raw, so I am unsure how anyone can eat it other than just swallowing it without chewing.
I really am suspicious of all the other 5 star reviews on here, as I really do not see how anyone can enjoy this place. I have only written about the 2 worst dishes, but everything else either did not have flavour or was disappointing. We came here with a voucher for the degustation menu, I even felt ripped off paying half price, that is how bad this pace was. My husband emailed them after the meal, we have not had a response yet.
My husband and I found James on the Internet. We were wanting a causal dinner on the way to a function. Wow we were so pleased to find this. The staff were very friendly and helpful and the food was awesome. The way the menu works was explained very well and suggestions were made that we spot on. We will certainly be back and recommend this to friends and family.
James offers a range of deliciously eclectic dishes that hark from a fusion of different contemporary European cuisine. I myself had the Lamb shoulder with a Kawakawa parsnip puree. It was lovingly prepared and thoroughly enjoyable.
And for desert the Apple tart served with syrup and ice cream left me hankering for seconds although upon completion of my meal i was full and left totally satisfied, unable to fit another spoonful. 10 points James thanks you very much for the fabulous evening.
Loved it! great food, good people and an absolutely charming atmosphere. James is an excellent place to go for a romantic evening out. It was a night to be remembered. MY fiancée and i will with out a doubt be back for more.
I had the absolute delight of dinning in the majestic surrounds at James this Friday just past. The whole family loved the experience. The winner on the night for me was with out a doubt the seared tuna dish, cooked to perfection, ambrosial and melt in the mouth. unequivocally an excellent place to take the family for a night out.
This was the third time Ive dined at James and i have to say its one my fav places to go to. Dinner was amazing and then the girls and i hung out at the bar. That’s one of the cool things about this place its really friendly, intimate and stylish and they have a fantastic classy bar area
James is my favourite go-to for a beautiful relaxed atmosphere and delicious food.
I have visited a few times and have always been well impressed by the service.
The wine list also deserves a mention! As well as a bar man whom knows cocktails.
On my last visit, I noticed a few new items on the menu and have the blue corn duck taco a go. Wow!
Went to James last night and had a wonderful experience. The decor is stunning, service was attentive (especially for my vegetarian partner) and the FOOD! The menu has wonderful options and the plates to share were the perfect amount. The lamb and pork belly dishes are amazing.
I dined at James last night with my family, the service was exquisite, it looks like they have new staff in who are really helpful and well mannered.
I had the beef cheek which was succulent and delicious, possibly the tastiest thing I’ve eaten all year.
I also tied the pork belly which was beautiful.
You can tell these guys really love their food.
Thanks James for the wonderful evening out. I’m definitely recommending to my friends.
This really is a very disappointing restaurant. The decor is very modern and chic but food and staff attitude was very poor. We also were overcharged on our bill and it was only after we left that we realized
We came here with a large group and were greeted by a somewhat boisterous waiter who was extremely eager to explain to us his life story or something. I was okay with that. I think.
Then he gave us all a menu which I didn’t really get, so we just spurted out some random things we liked the sound of and 20 minutes later, we figured out that it was pretty much like a tapas style setup. Okay awesome.
Pork belly was good and the chorizo was great. Heck, everything is good when you’re drunk on $15 a glass wine. Woo.
So, upon sobering up, I realized that I had eaten some kind of duck paté and calamari sandwich, which were amazing. Contrary to the figure keeping females at my table, I ordered the creme brulee and THIS was the highlight of the evening. I wished I had skipped all the mains and just ordered this.
All in all, the food was great, the wine was great, the decor is pretty “ooh look rich and hipstery”, but the dessert was to die for.
tl;dr: Go to James, skip the mains, get dessert.
This place will become a destination for food lover.The setting is amazing. The owner is so cool and loves to chat. The mushrooms are just so amazing and I love mushrooms. Awesome place for casual or formal night out. Friendly staff. I will put this in my top 5 list. Thanks James it was a pleasure.
I went to James for dinner last week and had a truly splendid time.
My partner and I found the atmosphere magic, it wasn’t too busy and the servive was faultless. We had a waiter named Chris who was educational, charming and slightly cheeky. The food was superb and the menu was frankly refreshing. Well done James! Auckland really needs more places like this.
Myself and my fiance ate in James on Friday night and found the entire experience off putting. We found one of our waiters very strange, trying a mix of personalities between faux connoisseur and aloof metro foody. His attention was uncomfortable and intrusive. He was more salesman then waiter and was quite pushy with his suggestions of dishes to order. Also despite clarifying order quantities for each of our plates, an extra medium plate arrived which we returned. After which the friendliness of the service changed.
The food was decidedly average in spite of the menu looked very interesting. The restaurant’s dining concept is excellent however the cold, over-designed dining room betrayed its manifesto.
After a couple of mix-ups with the bill and with what was actually ordered vs. Received we left with a very unpleasant experience of James.
In my opinion this restaurant is best reserved for those who are more interested in the “cool” factor to which food and service are secondary. I am loath to leave such an honest account of our experience as there really aren’t any positives here. Sorry James
The mood and setting of this place is amazing and would be great for a romantic candlelit dinner with a special someone – however the food and service from staff is not so impressive. We went here on a Tuesday night with a group of about 8 people. We ordered drinks and chatted around the bar for a while and when we asked to be seated at a table it took them quite a while to set up for us even though they were not that busy. The waiter was quite stand offish and not very friendly at all – in fact at times he was quite rude – he walked away in the middle of taking our orders! The food was very average and although the shared platters are meant to be for 2 people (as stated by the waiter) the chicken skewers dish only had one skewer!
The restaurant looks absolutely amazing but they really need to make some improvements on service and food. Probably wouldn’t go back or recommend it to any of my friends.
we live just 5 minutes walk from this one month old restaurant and tried it for the first time tonight. Very impressive. The restaurant is graced by fabulous crystal chandeliers and swathes of red silk set off by soaring concrete walls and floors. Quite dramatic. The fledgling restaurant would definitely benefit from a neon sign out front to advertise their presence. The staff are still getting to grips with a new menu, new computers and new kitchen but the idea and execution are pretty good. “James” is a Spanish inspired tapas bar/restaurant. The food would not be too out of place in Barcelona but has a NZ flair. The croquettes (croquetas) are made from smoked kahawai instead of salt cod and are excellent. Sardines and basteya are all worth trying. Paella for groups of 4 looks tempting for another visit.On the downside, the main dining area is VERY loud and echoey because of all that concrete. Perhaps a wooden floor or some kind of acoustic material on the ceiling would help. All in all, we thoroughly enjoyed it and we’ll be back!!
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