Recipe of the day

Roast loin of lamb stuffed with hipi iti and spinachRoast loin of lamb stuffed with hipi iti and spinachNow that cheese made from sheep's milk is available (through Kapiti cheeses), this stuffing with sheep's milk cheese has a natural affinity for lamb.

Bracu (Bombay, Auckland)

49 Main Rd, Bombay, ph: 09-236 1030

by Kerry Tyack | Cuisine issue #155 | Saturday, 17 November, 2012
RATING:
Having so many good restaurants within easy reach of the central city means that driving to Bombay and back for a meal (a journey of 100km return) is, understandably, not a decision undertaken lightly. However, our recent experience suggests that there are real rewards to be gained in doing so.

Despite its seemingly remote location, Bracu is easy to find. The thoughtfully renovated white villa sits resplendent amid the veritable forest of olive trees that forms the prodigious Simunovich Olive Estate, just a few minutes east of the motorway turn-off. There’s oodles of parking – a blessing on a busy weekend when the hordes arrive for the highly regarded brunch.

The dining room is formal but comfortable: the cream and fawn decor rather lavish in a style-book kind of way, the tables well spaced and the music appropriately mellow.

The waiters were very eager to please and were proactive and efficient. The French sommelier, Oliver Rayner, was particularly knowledgeable and able to confidently recommend wines to match our dishes. Each dish was comprehensively described as it came to the table and it was clear that considerable effort has been put into ensuring the staff know the menu and wine list inside out.

Special mention of the wine list is warranted. It is not a long list but it’s very high quality with an emphasis on local wines suited to the style of cuisine. It was also particularly pleasing to see top-end wines by the glass.



The menu reads very well. It is compact, with just five entrees and five mains, but it flows well, with thoughtful combinations. All the dishes are artfully presented, displaying chef Michael Newlands’ excellent craftsmanship.

My consomme with scampi, bacon and potato gnocchi was a stunner: beautifully balanced and seasoned,
and a superb combination of delicate tastes and textures. The rich and creamy confit duck ravioli was equally good, while the pork and pistachio terrine with apple reduction was
light and elegant.

The main dishes were equally successful, though I did feel that my Wagyu rump would have eaten better had it not been sliced so thinly. However, the accompanying combination of asparagus, mustard and black garlic was wonderful. The lamb with cauliflower, lentil and date was perfectly cooked and satisfying, while anyone believing that chicken has no place on a restaurant menu should try Newlands’ rendition with lemon, sorrel and roasted almond butter. Sublime!

From an enticing dessert menu we enjoyed lemon souffle with olive oil ice-cream and a berry souffle with mint ice-cream – the latter was a highlight of our meal.

Bracu is a wonderful destination restaurant (and a premium function venue) that celebrates its position at the heart of an olive grove. The dining room itself can feel quite formal, but a seat on the balcony offers lovely views over the olives. The menu is very well considered and delivered by a talented chef, there is an outstanding rare wine library and service is quietly efficient. Bracu is well worth the drive and refreshingly far from the cacophony
of the city.

Bracu
49 Main Rd, Bombay,
ph: 09-236 1030, bracu.co.nz
Brunch Sat-Sun 10am-12pm,
lunch Wed-Fri, dinner Wed-Sun
Mains $39

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