It isn't all that often that you leave a restaurant and begin plotting your next return. Who you might bring, what dishes you might order and how soon you can schedule in a return.
This was the case following our debut visit to Feriza's Kitchen, a glittering new Turkish eatery in Auckland's otherwise-devoid Wynyard Quarter.
Picture this – a plush, turquoise interior fit out, rose gold and copper-toned finishings and a brass bar adorned with authentic and ornamental finds, fresh out of Istanbul. This enchanting and reimagined space is what we can only imagine it feels like to step feet first into Ingres' Grand Odalisque – indulgent, regal and downright delicious
From the intricate and decorative floor tiles to the lights that hang overhead, Feriza's has quite simply nailed the finer details, harnessing both the glitz of Istanbul's neo-nightlife and the authenticity of a traditional Turkish dining experience, you'll be delighted at every turn.
We arrived for lunch on a typically bustling Friday afternoon. With a sizeable party in tow (there were around six of us) we were impressed at how attentive and well-informed our waitstaff were, considering the restaurant has only been open for a mere three weeks. We start with a generous mezze platter and a well-received side of extra halloumi, no mouthful (or kalamata olive, for that matter) was spared.
While Feriza's is certainly the place to graze en masse, the smaller, intimate tables peppered around the restaurant would make the perfect date night locale. The gozleme (potato and cheese deliciousness), calamari salad and fattoush could easily be shared among any number of people, with heartier options like Feriza’s Mezze – labneh, beetroot hummus, taramasalata, baba ganoush, pickles, bean salad, olives, feta, Turkish pide and flat bread – are designed to satisfy the wandering grazers. During our visit, we opt to add both the slow-cooked lamb, roasted chicken and halloumi to our mezze – a well-vetted decision that comes highly recommended by staff.
To finish the afternoon on a sweet note, we devour the kadaifi, a traditional Turkish sweet cooked with cheese, soaked in lemon honey syrup and served with pistachio nuts and vanilla ice cream. A sweet, sticky and nutty triumph that was every bit as delicious as we expected to be. If you're open to sweet suggestions come dessert, don't expect to steer clear of the baklava – a delicacy Feriza's do particularly well.
For something a little different yet equally as indulgent, our waiter suggests the loukoumades – deep-fried doughnut balls soaked in honey syrup, served with chocolate sauce, walnuts and pistachio ice cream and topped with a tuft of gorgeously light, pistachio-coloured candy floss.
Our friendly and charismatic waiter later insists the dinner menu is "mind-blowing" and has us contemplating a return visit sometime in the near future. Feriza's simple dining ethos, deliciously flavoursome Turkish classics and wow-factor desserts, make this plush and plentiful destination a must-visit to dine like royalty – if only for an afternoon.
7/12 Jellicoe Street,
Monday – Sunday: 9am until late.