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    Wednesday, August 27, 2008

    Eden Cloakroom to Jimmy Wongs Two Great Auckland Restaurants

    On the last Wednesday of every month, I go with a group of girls for lunch.
    Our aim is to get around as many restaurants as possible.
    The criteria is good food and an opportunity to have a glass of wine
    be it licensed or BYO we don’t mind.
    We have come to a happy compromise with the choice of wine.
    Pinot Gris... that covers the Sav girls and also the Chard girls... everybody's happy.

    This Wednesday was a goodie. On my suggestion we went to Eden Cloakroom in Mt Eden Village. Look here for menus and information

    A couple of weeks ago we went to watch our son Dan who was guest artist with the lovely Adam, Wednesday's the regular entertainer.
    There was a good contingent of Juice TV staff, they love to watch their colleagues entertain and a fun night was on the cards.

    Just a coupe of quotes from Adam and Dan.

    "I have been playing Wednesday nights at the Eden Cloak Room in Mt Eden for the past 36 weeks, or nine months as they say when referring to the standard length of a pregnancy.
    During the past nine months I have seen a unique culture emerge at the Eden Cloak Room.
    On nights that I have been playing, it has been a pleasure to see the whole bar unite and collectively get involved with the live music.
    Better still, it's great to see the friendships that have formed through regular attendance.
    The vibe of the Eden Cloak Room has been well established and is backed up by the positive staff who are my mates and will soon be yours.
    It's a cozy den in the Winter and has a flourishing courtyard in the Summer.
    With great entertainment and food all year round, it's the complete package. Did I mention you can hang your cloak in there?"

    Adam Stevenson
    Singer, Songwriter and Guitarist

    "It's an absolute joy to experience great times and share Live Music with the amazing folk of the Eden Cloak Room - even when I'm playing!
    It's like turning up at someone's house for a sing-a-long with a much bigger fridge.
    And Chips in a Pint. And a Band. Well... two guitars and a microphone. Now that's rock 'n Roll!"

    Dan Wrightson
    Singer, Songwriter and Guitarist

    Dale and I didn’t know what to expect and were pleasantly surprised with the venue.
    What a great little pub. Little being the operative word here.
    Cosy, well decorated. They have one booth that seats probably up to 6-8 .
    A few other tables inside and good seating outside.
    Should be great in the summer, gets all the afternoon sun.

    Love the booth concept.
    In the eighties when lunching was a real art, and almost a career,
    the restaurant with the booths always did really well.
    In fact just as an aside there was a restaurant in Auckland called Napoleon, that had booths... you couldn’t see who was next to you. Lots of interesting liaisons happening there.
    Oh another thing the staff would bring a phone to the table (pre cell phones) so that you could ring friends and invite them to join you.
    This, of course, was when no self respecting person left the table until at least 4.30 and sometimes some of us got through to Dinner.
    The ultimate Lunch experience was what we called the "Trifecta".
    Lunch, Dinner and Breakfast.
    The breakfast would have to be in another restaurant of course.
    I never achieved that. We tried our best though. It was just too hard.
    What happened to those mad people?
    Actually, they got smarter and then unfortunately, older and poorer!

    So back to Eden Cloakroom I had the nicest Osso Bucho I had had in a long time. Tender and delicious. Dale loved his Fish and Chips and the Churros, with hot Chocolate Ganache to dip them in, was an excellent end to the meal, PLUS the music was great as well.
    So I felt good recommending this to the girls.
    I was right once again...we had wonderful food.
    The staff are friendly, attentive and knowledgable.

    Two of us ate Venison Pie with Creamed Spinach
    The venison stew was tasty with addition of little mushrooms, lovely dark gravy
    Pastry top, and a nice surprise, mashed potato immediately under the crust, just perfect to soak up the juices.

    The other two had Sausages and Mash. I had a taste.
    Nice meaty sausages accompanied with sweet and sour red cabbage. Yum.

    Then we had the Churros If you haven't ever eaten these little cinnamon and sugar dusted fritters...Go to the Cloakroom just for that.
    Served with the warm ganache, you dip them in, and if you dare, you take a sip of the Ganache. Dreamy!
    Annette had the Prune & grande cherry pudding served with crema di lemoncello which was citrus flavoured steamed pudding, with marinated prunes and also was wondeful.

    I forgot to mention that we shared a little Beef Sliders starter,
    just because we wanted to taste it.
    Baby Hamburgers...delicious.
    Kiwi touch...beetroot!

    So somewhat overfull, I arrived home to the news that we were invited to join friends for dinner. I floundered, then, what am I doing, of course we will go.
    (Reminds me of the time I momentarily turned down a glass of Dom Perignon,
    but that’s another story)
    By 7.30 there was room in my tummy again. Thank God.
    So off to Jimmy Wongs.
    Relatively new restaurant in Auckland City Lorne Street.

    West East is the description.
    Nice decor, very busy, very welcoming, friendly, and the staff, remembered my friend Laurian from her visit there the previous week.

    Interesting menu, easy for sharing.
    4 Sakes to choose from. The wine list was not big on the Sauv Blanc in fact only one...but as we were driving, and bottles of wine were out of the question, it didn’t matter this time.
    A couple of sakes won’t take you over the limit so that was the choice of the night.

    Actually it was served in little glass shot glasses, very cute.
    So onto the food.
    The ultimate (in my mind) aperitif - Edamame,
    Healthy, salty and enough work sucking those little soy beans out of their pods, to keep you busy, whilst awaiting your first course.

    We had Scallops steamed with Lime and Pickled Ginger.
    Its the beginning of the scallop season and they were quite tiny and
    almost didn’t need the ginger.
    They were very sweet and really needed very little embellishment.
    But delightful.

    Crab dumplings were next. I love dumplings and this were like pot-stickers. Very good

    Then Crispy Duck Spring Rolls with Baby Cos to wrap them in. Very good.

    Prawn Cakes, these were deep fried balls, and I think the coating rather overwhelmed the flavour of the prawns but they were tasty.

    Coconut Fried Prawns. Great - Should have ordered more of them
    Stir Fried Beef with lemon grass
    and a bowl of Jasmine Rice for the table. very good.
    All in all we liked the place very much. Could be on the cards for the girls next month.

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