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By Heather• 14 Nov 2017
The Tinakori Bistro has had new life breathed into it after a recent takeover by Asher Boote and the team behind the popular The Ramen Shop in Newtown, Hillside Kitchen & Cellar in Tinakori Road, and Cult Wine in Murphy Street.
Tinakori Bistro is found at… 328 Tinakori Road, Thorndon Village.
You can expect… a French-inspired bistro where you can drop by for a wine and charcuterie platter, or three-course meal.
Head Chef John Baxter brings experience from the likes of Floriditas, Bresolin, Five Boroughs and Capitol, and Asher experience in European kitchens; their combined skillset resulting in delicious French-inspired New Zealand cuisine.
Asher is passionate about Tinakori Bistro being a hub for the community, injecting colour and depth in much the same way local gal Katherine Mansfield did previously (no pressure then!). Where possible, everything is sourced from within 150km of the restaurant, unless it’s a treat or speciality ingredient brought in from France. Only free-range meat and eggs are used.
We ingested… everything from house-baked sourdough served with butter aged to develop cheesy characteristics (most excellent), to the best crème brûlée I think I've ever had.
The highlights of the asparagus dish were the smoked black olives. Then there was the Angus Pure sirloin served with dripping fries and topped with delicious oozing café de Paris butter. Something entirely new to me was the perfect little choux gnocchi. All really authentic, interesting, and created with a light hand.
Talking to Asher afterwards about his brûlée, he is adamant (adamant!) they should be shallow and wide so you get crispy caramel with each and every spoonful of custard. Which I might add was also the best silky custard I can ever remember eating.
The drinks… showcase NZ and French wines, with one of each varietal by the glass or half bottle. And as expected from the Cult Wines team, there's an interesting selection of ‘bin ends’, from Champagne right through to big reds.
I really enjoyed the Westbrook barrique fermented chardonnay, which was soft with well-balanced flavours.
You will also find a handful of NZ craft beers, a classic kiwi lager, a local Steel Press maple pine cider, a few classic cocktails, and mostly local non-alcs.
The service… was welcoming and friendly, and I rather liked the classic white aprons for a bistro.
What tickled me most… was the clever artwork by Shelley Masters. Simple scenes of people walking, but easily identified as urgent (To Work), warm and relaxed (Lunchtime) and laissez-faire (Saturday). Clever.
What I’m eyeing up for next time… are the bone marrow toasts with herb, caper and shallot salad, along with the moules Marseilles greenlip mussels cooked with pernod, fennel, chilli and garlic.
The chip fiend managed to verbalise, between mouthfuls of dripping fries, that these potatoey delights took him right back to good times in France as a kid. Mission accomplished Tinakori Bistro.