Reviews for Sidart
one month ago
Following up from the amazing night from Cassia, dining at Sidart immediately comes to mind. Sidart has long-standing been one of Auckland's best restaurants. Like the name suggests, every dish is no less than art on a plate with no toleration for low standards.
It's a strange location for a high end restaurant and passing through the slightly dinghy arcade to go up the stairs, it is a completely different atmosphere walking through Sidart's doors. It was much smaller than I expected and everything was elegantly set up in black and golden tones. The tone was set by the view of the city lights which was actually quite breath-taking as the lights glowed through the window.
We went for their Tuesday Test Kitchen which is $80 for an eight-course culinary experiment - the only restaurant in Auckland that offers this concept. At first I didn't know whether it would be too experimental for my liking with all the delicate foams and bisques that are often looked down upon these days for being pretentious and unnecessary. I personally liked it as part of the sensory experience.
The foodie highlight was the pork belly which was ohhh so tender and melted in my mouth. Each of the little elements on the plate served its purpose and added either a different texture or played the sweet and savoury tug of war. The two desserts were so fulfilling and while it was so intricate, every mouthful was delicious.
The waiter was very humble and thoughtful, explaining each of the dishes without sounding like they were reciting off a book. Even when we asked to halt and take a break from the 8 courses, they graciously let the kitchen know so we could take a breather. The cheeky part of the Tuesday Test Kitchen is that the menu is given to you in an envelope. Whether or not you would like to know the contents is entirely up to you. If you were dining with other foodies, you can have a little competition to see who can guess the most ingredients on the plate!
A low point was actually the setting with the tables being very close together and a bit claustrophobic and warm. The toilets were also a short walk away from the restaurant which is good to take a breather and shot of cool air but can detract from the mood. The 8 course degustation took over 3 hours - quite long for a mid week night out and made me leave patting my stomach and saying "no more"!
I'd love to go back for a special occasion or event. The food was immaculate and it was a real fine dining experience to be remembered for any foodie!
by Jo Yearsley
one month ago
Outstanding in every respect. Just been for a third visit which was the Friday Crayfish champagne lunch with a dear friend. Excellent value for money, outstanding food and wine. Service just a little too brisk but really only a small thing in the scheme of things.
2 months ago
Tuesday Test Kitchen for 5 year anniversary = 1 star for every year. Char was my bestest flavour, it's uncommon to find this flavour in a deliberate setting. Neighbouring table went for a smoko between courses, and I think this would diminish experience. So many delicate foams and bisques would be lost on a tar-stained palate. Strange location for a resaurant, but this is to its benefit. The service was friendly and attentive, with none of the snootiness typically found at high end eateries. Would eat again fo sho.
by Uka S
3 months ago
Sideart is definitely one of those restaurants with no toleration for low standards, the dishes were absolutely beautiful. It was the definition of fine dining in my books. My friend and us had went there last Friday to celebrate his marriage and the 9 course menu was delicious, as we were slowly eating and enjoying the time it was perfect with a wine pair that one of the waiter's had recommended us. The view of the city was breath-taking as the dawn changed into night with the city lights glowing through the window, the restaurant itself was a small compared to other fine dining restaurants but this just made environment between the outside and the staff even more enjoyable.
Art on a plate was what the groom had told us before we had entered and indeed it was, all of the 9 course dishes was beautifully plated on and chicken was moist, the lamb was mouth-watering and of course the dessert was cold and sweet well suited for a sweet tooth like myself. Everything was just perfect we will be back for sure.
5 months ago
I have been here a couple of times both for the Tuesday Test Kitchen and both times were amazing. The first time I went was for my birthday and I was in love with the view! They put me right next to the window and I was able to look out to the city on a beautiful clear night. I added the wine pairing and the sommelier was so knowledgeable and friendly and went through every wine with me and even went back on a few with me when I forgot which one was with what dish so I could buy it for myself later. It all paired beautifully to each dish served. The menu was so full of flavour and each dish was an art in itself. It was truly an experience not to be missed! We will definitely be going back again!
by Jennifer Manalo
7 months ago
Every Friday, Sidart have a 5 course set menu for $50 (a bargain for fine dining!) which is based on their full 9 course dinner menu. Warning: if you lack patience or have a big appetite,this style of food may not be for you! The 5 courses took us 2 hours to finish and portion size is small. This is definitely quality over quantity.
The restaurant itself is quite small, and the atmosphere can get a bit loud. They do have a really nice view of the city though!
Ok the food! Our starter was yellowfin tuna tartare, followed by pan fried tarakihi fillet with celeriac mash.
The third dish was chicken breast with leek and carrot and fourth dish was smoked lamb rump with kale and parsnip. The dessert was watermelon sorbet, lychee and licorice. Each dish was cooked perfectly and every plate was a piece of art.
I definitely recommend trying their lunch menu or even their 8 course tasting menu every Tuesdays for $80. I was definitely savouring every mouthful and I left wanting more of each dish, especially the dessert! (which was surprising because I'm not a big fan of licorice but it really worked). That's the beauty of this style of eating. You get to try each dish so you don't get food envy!
7 months ago
Was invited to this restaurant by a friend and we chose to go for the Tuesday test kitchen. I refrained from look at the menu so that each dish was experienced without prejudice. The food was absolutely amazing, each dish was presented beautifully, and the waiter on the night (who's name escapes me) was friendly and very welcoming.
The only let down, well it's not that much of a let down, is that if the space can be a little big bigger, it would have been more comfortable. The couple next to us were really loud that I couldn't hear my friend talk. Then again, can't blame Sidart for someone else's behaviour in public.
Well done Sidart!
by Damaris Swinburn
9 months ago
A group of 3 of us (2 of us in our 60's!) had the best dining experience we have ever had at Sidart. The service was impeccable, the food absolutely delectable - so beautifully thought through and served and the wine matching amazing. Congratulations and thank you to a team of true professionals. We thought the value for money was excellent. Thank you!
by Lisa Edgar
9 months ago
Best fine dining experience - ever! Sid is a genius and truly creates a masterpiece on every dish he serves. Almost too good to eat! We went for the 9 course degustation and it was well worth it. However, for those on a budget, I recommend Tuesday Test kitchen and/or Friday lunches, you won't get a better experience than this!
On 29th April. We took friends to Sidart for test kitchen Tuesday and boy! It blew me away. 8 courses for 80ppl, we ended up getting 9 (chef's treat)
Every course was IMMACULATE with explosions of flavours and textures that left us completely speechless. My favourite was the fig leaf, feijoa dessert, the feijoa sorbet was literally like eating straight from the skin of the fruit but with the smoothness that went down beautifully (and very quickly!) But in typical Sidart fashion, it was paired with a white chocolate meringue crunch, thinly sliced figs.
The owner/head chef - Sidharth is the nicest guy. He just won Metro mags chef of the year and Sidart was the winner of fine dining restaurant of the year - I'm not surprised.
by Julie Schooler
Jan 18, 2014
I thought the current trend was crowded tables and tapas and that degustation was soooo last year BUT not at Sidart. Quiet small room, attentive service, lovely views, specatular tasting menu. It all adds up to an amazing and memorable night out.
So decide on whether you are having the 5 or 10 course and whether you are having matching wines and then sit back, relax and enjoy yourself. The only warning I would give to people is to start early-ish if you choose a 10 course as with the three complementary amuse bouches, along with the bread and then the final unexpected beetroot macaroon, it was midnight before we knew it.
Highlights were the duck with gingerbread sauce and the chocolate log with peach sorbet. Most interesting plate goes to the blue cheese ice-cream. I still can't decide whether I liked it or not. Low lights were the overuse of green foam on a couple of things and the grapefruit zest with the pork. However, these did not detract from a wonderful evening.
Highly highly recommended and we will be back in a few months to try an entirely different menu.
by Chai Ang
Dec 10, 2013
This high end restaurant offers just that. Top quality food and service. I'm a big fan of the degustation menu, as it is always a pleasant surprise and a treat for the taste buds. The restaurant is small, but the dark environment makes it feel intimate and very special. Definitely romantic date material and would recommend if you feel like splurging on your significant other. The degustation meal does take awhile to get through, as between each course it can be a wait, although the food is definitely worth it!
The service is great, the waiting staff are polite, professional and very friendly. Their descriptions of the meals are also very appreciated and makes the food understandable (and even more delicious I reckon), as I do get frustrated sometimes looking at a meal and being unable to figure out what it is. Overall, the great food, romantic environment and perfect view of the sky tower makes this restaurant one of the best I've been to.
by Bernadine Phillips
Nov 12, 2013
First time at Sidart. I was surprised to find the restaurant was so small. Best birthday dining experience ever! Gorgeous view of the sky tower. 8 courses, wine matching. Everything was so mouth watering. Our waiter was so knowledgeable and friendly. Cannot wait to go back again.
by Lance-a-lot Rance
Nov 11, 2013
If i could offer 10 stars for this restaurant i would, without doubt the best restaurant in Auckland, been here for both Lunch and Dinner and have had the most wonderful dining experience, service is impeccable and the food is out of this world
by David Boshier
Sep 22, 2013
Just simply magic and I am not sure why we have waited so long before dining at this fantastic place.
However we have a good excuses to head back, after having the 5 course tasting menu I can't wait to head back for the 10 course detestation.
The detail and favour in each dish is matched by only a select few restaurants in Auckland. From the fish to venison they surprise and delight.
Have the matching wines and make a night of it.
Jul 25, 2013
Sidart is a fine dining restaurant located in Ponsonby, near the three lamps intersection. It serves modern fine dining cuisine. Ten courses is $140, wine pairing is $80. I went for a friend’s birthday, so I can’t say how indicative the following menu is of a normal meal, but I wanted to give an indication of the sort of pricing at the restaurant. I have been to sidart a few times and I have enjoyed the food there, but I had not been for a while and was interested in trying it again.
Normally I would review each menu item in order. I will do this as I can, but I did not take full notes on the meal at the time, so some of my memory is hazy, especially because of the number of items in each dish and there was a lack of a written menu to refer to.
The Amuse Bouche
- Trevally Sashimi
A single bite of trevally accompanied by a mayonnaise. A delicious little morsel to start with. I will discuss sashimi more in my review of Cocoro and I don’t think a comparison to more traditional Japanese expectations of sashimi is reasonable, however the same basic principles apply. The fish needs to be fresh, well cut, and the sauce needs to match well. The fish is perhaps the biggest component and it was excellent, I am partial to trevally anyway. Oilly fish make excellent sashimi. One of the advantages of using a wild fish found in New Zealand waters is that the quality of fish is likely to have more developed flavour and be of superior quality. I personally would generally rather have a very nice fresh fish, than one slightly older, but more “luxurious”. It would be unfair to discuss the cutting of the fish in classical style, as that would be to judge it by the wrong criteria I think, but the cut was adequate for the type of fish and presentation. The sauce was a kind of mayonnaise. I liked it, but one of the interesting things about it was that it foreshadowed some of the upcoming flavours. Mayonnaise was used in at least one of the other courses later, but more interestingly, that particular flavour of the sauce to me carried across into many of the flavour profiles that would come, the particular savouriness of that first bite set the road ahead. All the amuse boushe were wine matched with a prosecco.
- Cured Beef, Mussel Crumb and Creme Fraiche
The second amuse bouche was a mini surf and turf. The combination of cured beef and mussels was interesting. There was quite a bit of Creme Fraiche. The mixture of dairy, shellfish and beef is an interesting match, even if the rather lightly flavoured beef was a little lost amongst the stronger flavours.
- Salad with ash crumb and some other stuff.
This was a cute little salad presented in actual pots. I really enjoyed this amuse boushe. The greens were very fresh and the dish contained their aroma and more volatile flavours. When you put your nose in the pot, you could smell the greens and traces of ash. My only complaint is I found it a little sweet, for me, but overall the complexity of flavour and presentation, made this a very enjoyable dish, one of the most enjoyable bites of the evening.
Tomato and Strawberry Consomme with Compressed watermelon, goat cheese, strawberry and spinach
Technically the first of our ten courses. Displaying a number of techniques from the modernist repertoire of cooking. The consomme was a gelatin clarification of tomato and strawberry juice. For those unfamiliar this creates a clear, but pure flavoured liquid, which would form the “soup”. The watermelon here is compressed (under vacuum) which intensifies its flavour.
This was a challenging course. There were two very strong elements of the palate competing here. The dish was both sweet and savoury. The sweetness coming from the strawberry and melon in particular. The savoury and umami elements came from the tomato and goats cheese. You might say that this mix of palate was a consistent theme throughout many of the dishes.
The second substantial dish was smoked and deep fried crab with a chilli peanut sauce. We were informed by the waiter that this was a dish influenced by the chef’s recent travels to Singapore. The dish was served in glass sealed jars to keep in the smoke. This is a pretty trendy modern technique that I have seen at many restaurants recently. I suppose it adds some novelty and aroma. The sauce was slightly sweet and it was not very spicy, just a hint of chilli. A pleasurable dish to eat.
Seared Tuna with Cauliflower Puree and Squid Ink Mayonnaise
I think this was Yellowfin (although it might have been bigeye) seared on one side with cauliflower puree, squid ink mayonnaise, and dehydrated cauliflower. While I will discuss Tuna more, when I publish my Cocoro review, where I had bluefin, it was interesting to note the differences between the fish. Outwardly the two fish look quite similar, both being tuna this is perhaps unsurprising. Yellowfin tuna has a lower fat content and is slightly less dark of colour. As a result it isn’t quite as velvety, smooth and luxurious as blue fin. However this isn’t to criticise the fish, it has its own characteristics that are also enjoyable. In particular the tuna had a more grassy taste. The dish was served with a squid ink mayonnaise. This looked beautiful, as the black contrasted the white of the puree and cauliflower nicely. However I do have a complaint and this is linked to a more general issue I have almost always found at Sidart. That is the overuse of mayonnaise. At this stage of the meal we had two fish, both served with mayonnaise, the trevally sashimi and now the Tuna. I appreciate that the first was an amuse boushe, but I find my palate remembers the mayonnaise and carries it through. My complaint is that I start to feel mayonnaise disrupts some of the subtlety of the dishes, as we get a build up of that associated flavour and then it dominates the palate. To me the combination of this with say the creme fraiche of the cured beef and even the sweet foam of the salad, was beginning to wear on my palate. This is less a single technical issue with the dish and more a complaint about the flow of the dishes. In and of itself the mayonnaise is delicious and well made. However I find it a flavour that tends to dominate and it can be overdone in context.
Charred Scallop, Kingfish, corn and walnut foam.
This was a lovely dish, the scallop in particular was delicious. I liked the charred crust on the outside of the scallop and the mix with the sweetness of the corn. The smokiness combined with corn, brings memories of southern barbeque. The microgreens on this were particularly tasty, they gave a sharp tones of mustard to the dish (I’m guessing a brasilica of some kind). The fish was cooked much the same way as the previous course, both seared on one side. I think it would have been nicer for a little more contrast especially since both fish are somewhat similar. Despite this, excellent course.
I don’t remember everything in this dish. It was soy (I hope, might have been miso don’t remember) glazed quail with carrot and some other things. I’m guessing the breast at least was sous vide, it was very juicy. Another really good dish, the quail was succulent, very nicely glazed, and just well cooked. Quail is a personal favourite of mine, so a real treat.
Duck breast and deep fried leg confit
Again I don’t remember all the components for this dish. The leg was delicious and the breast was perfectly seared so that the skin was stunningly cooked. However it had the same problem that I run into with duck. The duck breast I was cooked sous vide initially. It was very juicy and consistent in its colouring. The duck breast was on the tough end. Many of our party of 13, did not finish the breast, because of this. I have found on several occasions that cooking duck breast sous vide has yielded tough duck breast. I think the problem is with the duck breast rather than the cooking technique, although this could be wrong, since the last conventionally cooked duck breast I did, seared and then finished in the oven, seemed to be more tender, however this may have been because of other factors.
As a follow up to this issue, I contacted Sidart to see what they thought about the duck. Sid (hence the name Sid – art) the head chef came back to me and suggested that it could have been a particular duck. He mentioned that he has used gameford lodge ducks for years and never had a problem. These are the same sorts of ducks I use (and generally commercially available). It is a subject I may explore further in future, but to date I have yet to come to a firm conclusion.
Venison and Chioggia Beetroot
The final main course was Venison. I particularly liked this course as it was paired with a delicious French red. A nice pairing of the lean game, with the sweetness of the beets, chioggia are one of my favourites. I’ll note however that these beets were good, but not truly excellent, but I may be spoiled on this front as the ones from my garden are particularly good, perhaps a little unfair to compare with. What I particularly liked was the relative simplicity of the dish in terms of flavours. It felt focused and this gave room for a real appreciation of the complexity of the meat and wine, rather than the busier flavours of the previous courses.
This is the chef’s signature dish. Roquefort ice cream, pears, red wine jelly and biscuit crumb. It is intensely flavoured the roquefort yields an uncompromising take no prisoners dish. Even those that like blue cheese might find the very savoury roquefort with the sweetness of ice cream to be much, about half of the 13 people at our table did not enjoy this dish. Personally I like the dish. I have had it in different guises on three other occasions, so I knew what I was getting myself in for. I have served dishes that combine sweetness with cheese. It is often a difficult ask for anyone. Frankly, some people like the strong earthy complexity of cheese with sweetness, but other do not. It is an acquired taste, but I enjoy the oddity of it. Some dishes need to push boundaries and this one still does. There is a further aspect of the dish, that I think is particularly nice as well. That is the relatively narrow and concise flavour profile. I will explore this aspect in more detail later, but to me dishes such as this feel focused and tight.
Italian Meringue, Basil Sorbet, Fresh Berries
This was a delicious fresh dessert. I have always been a fan of herb and spice sorbet/ice creams. The pairing with the beautifully cooked Italian meringue and the tartness of the berries was delicious. Fresh, light and slightly acidic. A very pleasurable course.
Chocolate Mousse, Curry Marshmallow, Cherries
Another excellent course. The curry marshmallow may seem odd, but it makes a great deal of sense to me. Chocolate and spice go hand in hand together for me. Texturally the relationship between mousse and marshmallow is a nice play. Cherries also seem complementary both to spices and to chocolate, helping to form a bridge between flavours.
After the final substantial course was a final Amuse Boushe, Macarons, beautifully made, light, not overly sweet, with a delicious shell.
Thoughts About the Food and Issues of Representation
One of the other reasons that I was slow in publishing this is that I wanted to really think about the food. In many ways Sidart is pushing some of the most challenging food in Auckland. I held off because I am struggling to discuss this without falling into the tropes of Asian food discussion, so I will do my best to discuss that issue first.
Asian food (whatever that might be) is often said to be about the balance of palates, that is sweet, sour, salty, bitter and savoury. Putting to one side the questions of what Asian food might actually be as a category (I will come back to that), I want to unpack this multiple palate thing. The implication seems to be that western food doesn’t have this same characteristic. Well first of all I think that is not true. Tomato ragu balances sweetness from the slowly reduced tomatoes and milk with the sourness from wine and again tomatoes with the savouriness (umami) again of tomatoes with the saltiness, well from salt. While i can’t think of any especially bitter notes, there is still a balance of flavours a good ragu is pretty paramount. The same can be said for many, many dishes in pretty much any European style, sauces in particular often mix palates considerably, especially stock based ones. The point is that I do not see the balancing of different palates within a single dish as uniquely Asian. I agree that Asian food takes a different palate that phenomenologically appears different than say European food to my culturally determined tastes. I see this more as people unused to particular palate structures and flavours finding it difficult to balance those flavours, just as someone from another culture might find it hard to make a nicely balanced veal stock sauce.
The second issue for me is Asian food, is that even a category? Asian food, as in food from the Asian continent is amazingly disparate and while some styles share similarities, they are also remarkably different, even within countries. To think of Asian food as a single style, is to represent something as a homogenous, clearly delineated whole, that is not. Anyway do have a point and I’m getting there.
I wanted to talk about how Sidart was this new Asian food, balancing flavours and palates in ways we are unused to. However when I reflected a little on this, I realised how deeply I was misrepresenting the foods from the Asian continent. I did however lead me to this though. From a rather colonial, European perspective, describing the food at Sidart as “new Asian” in that context, might provide us with some metaphorical understanding of how the palate at Sidart seems disparate from our current perspective and that is what I was getting at. The food is challenging often bringing many flavours to bare, balancing them against each other and this is frankly difficult, both to develop and at times, to eat. The dishes are complex and broad of flavour. For this reason I have a great deal of respect for the food. Unlike say Kazuya, where the flavours were very consonant, even when challenging in and of themselves, Sidart mixes and plays with our expectations. Not as Asian or European, but as food of its own dialectic. Of course there are the plays upon our already established meaning of senses, but for me to represent them of a particular culture, is to put my own assumptions too much into the food.
All this can be simply put. I like Sidart. It is challenging, delicious food, that makes you think. I will however add a few caveats. As a personal preference I prefer more consonant dishes, they feel more focused and allow my palate to appreciate the subtleties more easily. I am not saying there is no place for the wonderfully complex dishes that come from Sidart, but I do long for in such a complex and diverse menu for more courses that feel narrower and more focused. Courses like the Roquefort cheesecake or the crab. Not too many, but a few more, I enjoy the challenge, but sometimes my palate was overwhelmed, so I felt I couldn’t appreciate the technique, I was lost swimming in a churning sea of foam, ash and emulsified sauces. I needed just a few more rocks to cling too. Also there were quite a few sweeter notes. I would personally love to see a bit more bitterness, although this is a general problem I have with a lot of restaurants in New Zealand.
Another thing I appreciated, was the quality of ingredient. I have come to expect this, but eating at a few other fine dining restaurants recently has reminded me, that even when paying top dollar, you do not always get the best. I found pretty much all the produce excellent (although the chioggia beets I grow myself are better). I mentioned my issue with the duck, but this is probably the only issue I had, excellent produce, vibrant greens and vegetables.
Good wine, generally nice matches with the food. The French red was the standout for me. I can see some of the courses would be more difficult to match, given their complexity.
Good service as well. I appreciate how hard our table of 13 was to serve, so full credit to the staff. Perhaps two waiters explaining each dish would have been nice, I often did not get to hear about everything on the dish.
As I said, I like Sidart. Technically I think it is an excellent restaurant, challenging, original, with superb presentation. I recommend it to those who have not been. Auckland’s food scene is certainly richer for it
Jun 29, 2013
On my first Sidart experience, within 6 months of opening, I thought that the food was trying too hard to be impressive. Clearly things have evolved significantly since then because our dining experience this weekend was fabulous and memorable and I was very impressed by how confident yet restrained the food was, oh and it tasted great!! We had the 10 course tasting menu, highlights for me were the beetroot with raspberry sorbet and parmesan custard, the seared dusted kingfish, the duck and pork courses, and the mandarin and caramel desserts. The other courses were not that far behind, along with the excellent yet relaxed service made for an excellent evening. I would go back, and probably will soon
by Jen Thomas
Jun 02, 2013
Wow where do you start. This small restaurant tucked away in Ponsonby looks so unassuming. But once inside it is completely opposite. We dared to have the 10 courses. Every course was a taste sensation. They are masterpieces n a plate. The colours, the flavours, the aromas were truly magic on a plate. The staff were informative, helpful without been in your face. Sidart deserves to be one of the best in Auckland. The favourite dish was the beef with duck liver parfait and the explosion of flavours in the raspberry and pineapple dessert - devine. We will definitely return. Thank you Sidart for going that extra mile and those macaroons that we left with were delicious today.
Apr 28, 2013
Great, great, one of the best experiences in Auckland, small and intimate. Will definitely come back to enjoy the dishes I didn't try.
Apr 26, 2013
You run after chicks, but you sometimes don't get them. It's okay, it happens. Moreover, the wise say that if you wait and plot smartly, the chicks may voluntarily venture into your coop. But I knew that neither the chicks nor the ostrich nor the deer nor the wasabi caviar nor the fired almonds nor the artichoke ice-cream of Sidart restaurant would come anywhere near me unless I staked out my space there. A dozen failed attempts at reservation last December,and after a couple this year (the determined know that New Year resolutions remain the same) ,by a minor miracle I found myself sitting in Sidart's compactly elegant dining room that is coloured by dark brown, biege and off-white, and whose post-meridian windows looked out over a bed of home roofs,distant foliage, long fly-overs and storied buildings in the yonder. First gear slid in, by virtue of a wonderfully smooth and delicious Nevis Bluff oak aged Pinot Gris 2010. The bread was solidly French in its textured but pliant character, and partnered with a luxurious quenelle of oyster cream.
Senor Sid personally delivered the first course- an admirably democratic departure from the seclusionist tradition of his colleagues elsewhere. An exquisitely escalating piano played softly through the piped music when this was presented -and the food mirrored this pattern with its enchanting mango creme, purple celeriac ribbon,spiced peanuts and what-not all conspiring on a coddled but worthy heir to these treatments- Kingfish tartare. This dish also reflects how the associates here can sometimes elbow out the main player. Its successor promptly reversed this concern- again there were half a dozen accoutrements on the plate but the roasted cylinder of soft polenta rode through all of these like a smoothly whirring sedan. I gazed around at the dining room filled to capacity, with each and every diner having the same 5 course menu -the only meal on offer for Friday lunch here.It is priced at $50 all inclusive for its five courses- which struck me as the very definition of spanking good value. The pre-main was a base of creme fraiche mounted with a frolic of textures - the Asian staple of rice is engineered into the international snack of Crispies; Carrots are grabbed, shaved into resplendent scarves and persuaded into purees, and if you crave aromatic crunch too, this is kindly supplied by crumbles of brown butter.
On the table was a water glass that curved sideways, like the refracted version of reality that Sidart aspires for. Like his nouvelle cuisine brethren the globe over, Sahrawath passes the traditional French cookery model through his magic machine and out comes an altered algorithm of restaurant food. Instead of au naturelle shapes, we get ribbons,sculpted slabs, crackers-'n'-cremes and flavours delivered in five-in-one blends. He thinks nothing of depositing chorizo, wasabi foam and sly bits of sesame laddoo on the same plate and asking them to be friends. What came next that afternoon was the softest breast of chicken that I've ever eaten - if everyone started cooking this bird as tenderly as Sidart does, it would soon go the way of the Moa. This visually ravishing dish was elegantly accessorized with bold emulsions of water-cress and squid ink.
Service was excellent and paid attention to detail; my hostess Amanda sported a perfect mix of cool professionalism and youthful charm.As an able finisher, cardamom cream brought sudden sharply redolent memories of temple offerings in India, and the rest of the dessert plate was also sanctified by a delightful pear sorbet, a confident hit of choco mousse all of which you could complement with petite cubes of butter bread. I didn't expect too much from this compact meal, but afterwards it had to undeniably admitted that this is high-wire cooking, charged with a most pleasant electricity.I dare to hope that the Test Kitchen and Ten-course extravaganzas will eclipse the formidable caliber of this lunch. No stranger to much lengthier repasts, I can say that this meal was only five courses long, and additionally limited by the merciful edicts expected from lunch as opposed to full-on dinners, and yet Chef Sahrawath & Team composed what is the first outstanding restaurant meal of my NZ life.
by Elaine Jennings
Jan 24, 2013
Wow - this place is amazing i dont know how they havent won cuisine restaurant of the year having eaten at a few of the past winners - this place is better! Love the atmosphere - staff were really polite, friendly and helpfull but not overly so just right. Every dish was delicious i still dream about the chocolate desert I had. I would highly reccommend Sidart to anyone who likes fine dining. Prefect treat makes me wish i lived in Auckland!
by Stephanie TF
Nov 05, 2012
Actually dined way back in December 31 2010 but if it is still anything like it was then... wow! Very memorable, five-course 'degustation'. Decor-wise a bit 'cold'/clinical/wintery for me, and presence of other diners was a bit too 'obvious', it made me feel quite self-conscious - maybe there needed to be more music to fill up the space... but the quality of food, the matching wines, the service... takes it up into the stratosphere for me, and maybe these minor quibbles have been resolved by now.
by Bhushan Arolkar
Jul 24, 2012
Last week we dined at Sidart, hosted our Australian colleague, boy it was super. The service, food presentation, flavors and wine matching was top-class - if there was a Michelin star award in NZ, Sidart will qualify. Keep up the standard and we will return. Thanks
by James Schoning
May 31, 2012
Birthday dinner was a varied experience at Sidart. Saturday night, and the place was generously packed - perhaps 2 tables free. There was a centre table of 4 in the middle of the restaurant, which proved to be the bane of the rest of the diners for the entire evening. A bunch of young arrogant over-achieving medical registrars, one of which insisted on spending the entire evening baying at the top of his lungs pronouncing on all matter of patient problems - the final straw was when he guffawed "and I said I'm SURE that you didn't get that gonorrhoea infection on your finger from a scratch!!" haw haw haw.. indeed sir, and that's when we decided to leave - fortunately after the last course of the 10-course tasting menu.
It was a mixed bag - The amuse bouche augured well for the evening, a mouth and texture treat of salmon and avocado - both of which I personally despise - but Sidart had concocted something superb from this over-used pairing. The monkfish was acceptable, and the next course of trevally was, unfortunately very dry. The quail was the highlight of the courses - complex but well balanced - and this brings me to the problem with Sidart: Balance and editing. For example, the next dish of ostrich w/ coffee, haloumi and licorice - the schmear of which tipped the balance of the dish into the - well - distasteful. Perhaps it's my unrefined palate, but SOMEONE needs to let Sid know that there is a preponderance of ingredients on the plate, all of which may not necessarily need to be there. Editing. That's not to say that we won't be back there soon. The creativity and flair on display in Sidart's food is worthy of a another visit - just not with loud mouths around.
May 16, 2012
Went for the Tuesday Test Kitchen with a group of friends. Didn't quite know what to expect but was extremely happy with the quality of food and service. The 8-course degustation menu was truly artistic! The flavour combinations were out of the world. The service was fantastic too. We had a vegetarian at the table, however they seamlessly catered to that. Overall the evening was perfect! Will surely go back.
by Wayne Condon
Apr 03, 2012
OK - let's start from the beginning. The walk in through the Three Lamps Arcade at the bottom end of Ponsonby Rd is ordinary and , to be honest , the ambiance of the restaurant is lacking. Service, from the start , though , was friendly and knowledgeable and that made up for the fairly sterile environment. What was even better was the food. This is creative, thoughtful, brilliantly executed cuisine at its best. There is a molecular element involved but the flavour and textural elements just work ! This is Auckland's "must go" restaurant at the moment. Don't miss it.
Jan 24, 2012
Went to Sidart for the first time for a Tuesday Test Kitchen meal (8 courses for $80) last night. I was worried it would be too experimental for my liking but was plesantly surprised by the flavour combinations. Not a single bubble or foam, unlike the meal we had at The Grove when Sid was head chef there.
Before the meal, we were served crusty bread and whipped butter flavoured with leek ash, which was delicious, if mildly alarming.
The rest of the meal was likewise unusual, but tastefully so. Some components had an intense, concentrated flavour, for instance the compressed watermelon and spinach puree, while we had trouble discerning the others, such as the wasabi in the wasabi marshmallows, or samphire which appeared to have been battered and fried.
Although everything was well prepared and presented, this is not a meal I would have every day. Quite apart from the fact that 3 hours is a long time for a weeknight meal, there was a bit too much of a sweet component to the main courses overall, with the watermelon and marshmallows, other fruit, carrot and beetroot, and even a black sesame macaron (filled with goat's curd), before the two dessert courses at the end. Thank goodness they do not serve cocktails!
I'm not normally a fan of modernist cuisine, but overall this was a novel and well cooked meal at a reasonable price. Would return on occasion.
Sep 18, 2011
Wow. Superb. Dining at Sidart yesterday was one of the BEST meal experiences of my life. We had the ten-course tasting menu with PERFECT wine matching.
It was my birthday dinner, and what a perfect way to spend an evening with my husband, celebrating ME! LOL I can't say enough about it. Every course perfect, one of my favourites was the John Dory dish... and the dessert with licorice and raspberries was sex on a plate. Seriously good.
I am so glad we had the wine matching as well, because the pre-dessert of blue cheese ice cream and other deliciousness was SUPERB with the wine, though I can't help but wonder if it may have been slightly overwhelming without it.
What a special treat it was to have the chefs come out from time to time actually serve our dishes to us with accompanying explanations of their craft. Very humble and gracious they were too. It was my pleasure to compliment them at the end of our meal, and the accessibility to the kitchen made this easy to do.
Service was impeccable, the food and wine knowledge awe-inspiring, and very unobtrusive. Although the room was small and somewhat sparse, it served to enhance the feeling of intimacy, and I didn't feel intrusive of others at all, nor intruded upon myself.
You MUST put this place on your bucket list.
If you haven't been yet, please go. You will not regret it.
Sep 02, 2011
I had dinner here last night and it was just perfect. The food couldn't have been any better, being Vegan the chef made me a special dish and the staff were just fantastic!
Now my favourite restaurant in Auckland!!
Aug 15, 2011
A group of three of us had the 5 course "Friday Special" lunch degustation menu. The combination of unusual flavour and texture pairings really worked; the highlight for me was the beautifully cooked lamb with cauliflower puree and porcini mushrooms - it just melted in my mouth. Service was attentive without being over the top, but I felt the restaurant lacked a little bit of atmosphere through both the relatively cold colour scheme and the fact it was mostly empty of patrons. I think this special lunch menu is very good value for money compared with other fine dining restaurants offering similar degustation menues, but with portions being on the very small side, you are left wanting a bit more. I'll be back to try the dinner a la carte menu.
by Secret Squirrel
Jul 31, 2011
My number one choice in the whole of Auckland
This restaurant gets everything right. Love the electric blue banquets and cozy ambiance.
Service impeccable with knowledgable staff who sing about the merits and composition of each glass of wine or plate or food that they present to you
The chef is a culinary master who's palette can not be rivaled. This is serious food, extreme hard work and hours of thought and preparation have gone into each dish. I am not an emotional person and at the culmination of my meal this food literally brought tears to my eyes!!!
Wonderful, amazing, sensory experience.
Jul 20, 2011
went for the degustation lunch and a really nice environment with good food and great staff - can't believe no one else grabbed the space years ago
by Alex Landon-lane
Jun 11, 2011
Sidart is a stand-out restaurant if you are a real foodie. Most dishes play on the sweet/salty combination and are quite delightful. You will find absolutely innovative tastes and combinations on every plate. I'm game to try anything and have mainly been impressed by the food but sometimes geniuses get it wrong....the Roquefort cheesecake is a bit of a mistake, with the truffle oil being just a step too far. I will definitely be back for more. Sidart is, in my opinion, possibly the most exciting restaurant in Auckland with fantastic, enthusiastic and knowledgeable staff. Well done
by Jess Gray
May 14, 2011
Amazing, amazing food! Definitely get the 4 course al a carte menu-you'll want to try alot!
Highly recommend the cured salmon and the duck-both delicious.
Service is fantastic, warm and not over done.
Apartment-esque room with a great view creates an intimate setting.
Keen for a second visit!
by Chris Jack
Oct 15, 2010
Yes all the reviews are spot on, this is an outstanding restaurant to say the least. Only The French Cafe can rival it's culinary kaleidoscope of flavours and delightful surprises as a dining experience. The food was so good I almost forgot about my wine - which is unusual. While the entrees at French Cafe might be slightly larger in portion, they are just as brilliant.
I would recommend the degustation for this reason, whereas at The French Cafe or Merediths it's often too much.
Service was nothing short of impeccable and professional.
Sep 29, 2010
This place is absolutely AMAZING!! It is a privileged to dine here. Had Tasting Menu, best 5hrs I had ever spent. The food was beautiful and taste sensational! And service is the best in town!! Room is small but it adds to the special feel of the place and what a view.
You truly feel privileged to dine here!!
Recommend to one and all.
by Mark Irving
Sep 25, 2010
Absolutely Superb! We cannot rate Sidart highly enough. We have had 2 visits, and both have been thoroughly impressed by the exquisite food and fantastic service. There is not a restaurant in Ponsonby that comes close to it, and gives the other top restaurants in Auckland a good run for their money.
by Kathy Greg
Aug 11, 2010
Wonderful flavors and service
One of my favorite places
Aug 01, 2010
Can't rave enough about this exceptional little restaurant. From the plush turquoise seating to the works of art delivered on a plate, Sidart provided one the best Akld dining experiences I've had in a very long time. The atmosphere is intimate & luxurious, quality of food & combination of tastes outstanding, and care & attention to "service" phenomenal. I will definitely be returning to experience the tasting menu. An enriching and memorable dining experience.
by Larissa Denton
Jun 21, 2010
The food was glorious, the staff professional and friendly and the atmosphere was warm and comfortable. Double thumbs up from both Hubby and myself!!! Ohhhhh, to go back.....
May 29, 2010
I now understand the name.
My meal was absolutely exquisite. I expected good presentation but it was more than that,the food was just beautiful!! it was indeed art and bursting with flavour.
I highly recommend sidart to dine out on a high class evening.
by C L
Mar 25, 2010
Sublime, sublime, sublime. Fantastic food and service. Places like Ant... in Parnell pales in insignificance when compared to the unbelievably divine dining experience here.
All 5 of my friends said that this was the best place they've been to. We all had the degustation menu and totally vouch for this place. Definitely will go back.
by Mark Gregory
Jan 21, 2010
Sidart is really for those that love eating out and are prepared to go on a culinary journey. Food like any other craft at it's best becomes an art form, and that's certainly the aim here.
Sidart is a new restaurant in Ponsonby recently, opened by a brilliant and former head chef of the "The Grove".
The quality and creativity of the cooking together with attentive and genuine service is clearly first class. I can't begin to explain the food only to say we really enjoyed everything and totally loved one or two courses in particular the venison.
The owners have kept prices realistic and within reach for many for both food and wine. Like any small intimate and new restaurant it will need followers who appreciate it.
As always my wife and I ask ourselves one question: Would we go back? Sidart is an exceedingly good restaurant already, as it evolves, learns more about it's customers it will develop into one of News Zealand's best, very quickly.
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