Now this is good eating. La Cigale started as an antique importer and then began an outrageously successful weekend farmers’ market before starting to serve dinner four nights a week out the back of its warehouse on the market tables. It’s brilliant food and very well priced – it’s $28 a head, which gets you a choice of mains, usually rotisserie chicken and a slow-cooked beef or lamb dish; tagines are served on Friday night – and a massive stack of roast potatoes with a side of greens.
It all comes in big white bowls in the middle of the table, which makes it great for groups: it’s a bit like going to dinner at someone’s house, only you don’t have to do the dishes. If there’s a downside, it’s that the service tends to clueless – but this matters little with food like this. The chicken is superbly cooked, free-range, crispy skinned with perfect stuffing; recently, we also ordered lamb neck, which had been cooked for hours in a rich gravy and was simply delightful.
Throw in the fact that you can buy very reasonably priced wine from their shop – there are some very good French wines at around the $20 mark; corkage is a mere $10 – and it’s nothing short of keenly priced. The fact that this food is some of the best bistro-style cooking in Auckland right now makes it that much better. Just be sure to book. SFG
HOURS Dinner, Wednesday to Friday from 6pm.
ADDRESS 69 St Georges Bay Rd, Parnell, ph 366-9361. www.lacigale.co.nz
IMPORTANT DETAILS Book well ahead of time – you’ll need to nominate your choice of main.