Auckland’s been crying out for some Greek goodness on the food scene – and while Gerome restaurant may not be strictly traditional, the menu is a wonderful modern interpretation that speaks to some of the best of Hellenic flavours.
Housed in what used to be the much-awarded Iguacu restaurant, restaurateur Ramiz Malik has lofty ambitions to make his latest eatery, Gerome, an icon in itself. And no detail has been spared in the pursuit.
While the quality fittings, tableware and user-friendly spaces all contribute to a luxuriously casual vibe, none of it would matter much if the food wasn’t up to par. Thankfully that’s another detail Ramiz has not overlooked, managing to secure chef James Kenny, whose prestigious career has included stints in Paris and London. His menu is designed to be shared, a nod to the Greek philosophy of a meal being as much about connecting with others as it is about satisfying hunger.
We start with the lakerda of market fish, avocado sorbet, chilli coriander and bergamot – while it may not necessarily have had us mentally in the Greek Isles, it was certainly still transporting with its beautifully unusual flavours and textures.
Next up, warm buttermilk pita breads to dunk into a smooth-as-silk, moreishly salty taramasalata and a lovely sweetish twist on tzatziki – made with carrot, rather than cucumber. The seared saganaki cheese was described to us as having the squeaky texture of halloumi with the flavours of parmesan – spot on – and it was beautifully paired with peppered figs and Northland honey.
Of the larger dishes, we opted for the shoulder of lamb with tahini yoghurt, pine nuts, compressed watermelon and mustard leaf – tender, succulent, flavoursome with the watermelon adding a subtle sweetness and juiciness. The burnt eggplant with tahini, pine nuts, lemon, white raisins and cauliflower was seasoned to perfection with a well-established balance of flavours. This was more than enough for two people and if anything we wished we had more people in our party so we could keep going with other dishes.
On a subsequent visit, we can also now attest to the tastiness of the “chicken à la grécque” with butternut puree and wild mushrooms but also need to return as we coveted the spit-roasted pig, quince, Throubes olives and apple as it wafted past us to another table. This would be the perfect place to come with a crowd to get your feast on. But Ramiz has also made sure there are intimate spaces for a drink around the bar, with undoubtedly a nibble or two.
If you can’t get a seat at one of the plush velvet-lined booths downstairs, the mezzanine level is a cosy space and a prime spot to gaze out the expansive window at the entrance. There’s a courtyard too, with green views, and a private room if you want to get the family in for a special celebration.
With all the boxes ticked, you’d expect a hefty bill at the end but prices are accessible, with larger dishes sitting around the $30 mark. What you get at Gerome is a definite feeling of opulence but somehow accessibly so. We suspect icon status is on the cards for this welcome modern Greek establishment.
269 Parnell Rd,
Monday – Sunday – 11.30am – 10.30pm
Housed in what used to be the much-awarded Iguacu restaurant, restaurateur Ramiz Malik has lofty ambitions to make his latest eatery, Gerome, an icon in itself.