[Pictures: David Straight]
Clooney is in a nondescript warehouse on an otherwise deserted block. You enter up a concrete flight of stairs that leads you to a dark, glamorous space. You go through the restaurant, all concrete walls, black beaded curtains and tan leather. It is still the most glamorous restaurant in town.
In its very early days, Clooney didn’t quite know what it wanted to be. A few chefs on, Des Harris has given the restaurant a voice: thoughtful cooking with touches of luxury – the odd molecular flourish (“cider gel”, “licorice nib”), truffle oil and foie gras. It’s often meaty. Recently, we liked the pan-roasted deep-sea scallops, caramelised and sticky ($27), and the confit of yellow-tail kingfish ($26). We also liked the roasted pork belly ($44).
Occasionally it doesn’t quite work – sometimes, the sum of a dish’s parts wind up less than its whole: we were no great fan of the chocolate pudding, cooked with a test-tube of liquid chocolate inside, for instance. The shoestring fries ($6.50), however – served with truffle oil and parmesan – are wondrous. Dessert? We can’t go past the simply titled “meyer lemon” ($19), which is like a deconstructed lemon meringue pie and sublime. When it does this sort of thing – clever, but not trying too hard – we like it here very much indeed. SFG
HOURS Dinner, Monday to Sunday from 5.30pm.
CONTACT DETAILS 33 Sale Street, Freemans Bay, ph 358-1702. www.clooney.co.nz
IMPORTANT DETAILS One of our favourite things about this place is that on Sundays, they do BYO. Take your best bottle.