Last night's dinner: épicer

. March 13, 2019
Photography by Emily Bell .
Last night's dinner: épicer

Ponsonby welcomes a vibrant new restaurant into its fold in the form of épicer: an eatery that's taking traditional Indian cuisine and turning it on its head. 

When I think of Indian cuisine, I think of it being delivered to my door in a plastic box, to be consumed with a bottle of pinot gris. I think of a mixed starter, of fresh, soft naan and bright curry. It’s what's commonly known as traditional Indian cuisine, so I was excited to be invited to épicer, Ponsonby Road’s latest and freshest addition to its eclectic food scene. épicer serves Indian cuisine like you’ve never experienced before, introduced by Michelin-star chef Manjunath Mural and Aditya Sudan.

It’s fair to say, épicer is a palace when it comes to the interior design. With high ceilings holding chandeliers, this split-level dining screams indulgence. We’re shown to a table positioned next to the kitchen window, inviting us to view our food as it's being prepared. In épicer it’s clear that there’s a certain journey to be taken, and the first stop is the street-inspired cocktail list. But where to start? Luckily our waiter, Shivam, speaks fluent cocktail and we’re recommended Shringaar, "a drink inspired by the beauty of women," made with dry rose and gulkand with gin, adorned with chia seeds. My other half orders Think out of the Box, a drink presented in a wooden crate and containing a combination of Indian goose berry with golden rum, pepper and honey water. If there’s one thing épicer don't do by halves, it’s presentation: each cocktail is a visual masterpiece, each with individual personalities.

The entrée menu offers a variety of dishes from Laksa Chicken Kebab to Broccoli Seekh, catering for both meat eaters and vegetarians. It’s important not to expect a traditional chicken kebab; instead we’re served a delicate dish consisting of marinated chicken breast laid atop yoghurt. Here, less is definitely more and there's no scrimping on flavour. But the excitement is not knowing what to expect. Next up is Miramar Pork Vindaloo: crispy bite-sized pieces of pork are drizzled in goan vindaloo sauce, plated alongside delicate piles of quinoa. The meat manages to be both juicy and crispy, an element that ticks all of our boxes.

But it’s really the main course that feature showstoppers. We opt for the Flambé Slow-Cooked Lamb Chop Kashmiri, drizzled in Old Monk rum. Aditya arrives equipped with a blow torch and sets the whole plate alight, which is definitely an Instagram moment. The lamb is so juicy and tender you'll be fighting over the pieces. Following is the Lobster Mangalorean Gassi, which is a visual spectacle. The meat is drizzled with gassi sauce and complemented with three plump tomatoes. It’s a dish that you won’t commonly find on a traditional Indian menu and it’s clear that Mural is attempting to break boundaries.

Even though the restaurant has only been open for a few weeks, it’s clear that word has got out. Soon, the tables are full of guests and food is flying out of the kitchen. If you're planning on taking the trip to épicer, it's important to go with an open mind and enjoy the mouthwatering dining experience. 

110 Ponsonby Road
Auckland 1011

Opening hours: 
Sunday to Thursday: 12.00pm - 11.00pm and Friday to Saturday: 12.00pm - 11.45pm