Power hospo-couple Josh and Helen Emett have opened a vibrant European brasserie in the historic Chancery Chambers on O’Connell Street Auckland, New Zealand!
Gilt is a causally chic all-day eatery channelling timeless, contemporary European dining in one of the city's most storied neighbourhoods.
It is the third restaurant owned and operated by the Emetts, along with Onslow on Princes Street and Waiheke Island’s The Oyster Inn. The new establishment is a testament to the strength and expertise the pair have cultivated within their teams, which has allowed them to grow their thriving hospitality business.
Combining decades of global culinary experience and a love for cosmopolitan life, Gilt is an ode to contemporary brasserie dining famous in the world's most vibrant, energetic cities from New York to Paris.
The 130-seat restaurant, situated at the corner of Chancery and O’Connell Streets, has undergone a glorious and extensive renovation to make way for a layered setting designed to take patrons from day to night, weekday to weekend.
“Gilt is a place where you come for a long lunch and stay until dinner, as much as a place where you can grab a hand crafted deli sandwich to takeaway, or simply unwind with a martini at the bar. It’s metropolitan dining that speaks to the hustle and bustle of inner city life, where our menu is designed to evolve as day turns to night,“ says Josh Emett. The day we dined we observed a mixed clientele, with busy corporates, ladies-who-lunch and ‘big players’ adding to the buzzy cosmopolitan atmosphere.
Pairing an extensive collection of old-world wines and curated cocktails with an expertly considered all-day menu, Gilt pays homage to the classics alongside continental European flavours. Wine comes by the glass, bottle or (pleasingly) in a carafe for when one glass isn’t enough and a bottle is too much.
A refined rendition of duck frites sits alongside the tongue in cheek toastie - a pairing of beef cheek and ox tongue that heralds a playful take on a nostalgic favourite. Classics like oyster mornay, steak au poivre, and a section devoted to potatoes - think pomme rosti, lyonnaise and dauphinoise - are elevated, familiar comforts and desserts such as crema catalana and the pistachio and cherry bombe alaska offer another nostalgic hit.
We’d also recommend trying the Tomato schnitzel with tomato butter sauce and basil which was a delightful revelation, as were the Parmesan beignets with pimento. Head chef Glen File was on the tools in the kitchen on the day we dined, and the dishes were exemplary, as was the service – utterly impeccable, somehow both unobtrusive while still warm and friendly.
The opening of Gilt signals a new chapter for one of Auckland’s most iconic inner-city districts, with Helen adding, “This is a bustling neighbourhood full of charm - it’s eclectic, historic, charismatic - we want Gilt to embody that feeling, giving patrons a place they can walk into any time of the day and it feels familiar yet lively.”
The Dish team can confirm that mission has well and truly been accomplished.
Gilt can be found at no. 2 Chancery Chambers and is open six days a week from midday to late.