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[Pictures: David Straight]

One of the really good things about Auckland is that you can drive for half an hour out into the countryside, sit in a decent restaurant and drink some decent wine. Now, we have a new favourite place to do this.

The Tasting Shed opened late last year in a beautifully converted 1940s shed. It’s owned by the very charming Jo and Ganesh Raj, who used to work in television, and it shows – it’s woodsy and rustic, with a modern twist. There are exposed steel beams inside, stacks of crates serving as a wall behind the bar and a big verandah outside running to a luxurious lawn where you can sit on a blanket or a beanbag and drink rosé in the sun. (Which brings us to our only real criticism: the wine list is a good one, but when we last visited, there was only one rosé available – fortunately it was a good one.)

The food is straightforward and simple, ingredient driven – small plates, all entrée-sized, designed to be shared. There are clams with chorizo and red onion ($15), lamb and pork meatballs ($15) – which are divine – perfect roast potatoes ($12) and an excellent roasted beetroot salad ($12). It’s the kind of food that goes well with wine and sun and lounging on a lawn. We like it a lot. SFG

HOURS Wednesday and Thursday, 4pm to 10pm. Friday to Sunday, midday to 11pm.

ADDRESS 609 State Highway 16, Kumeu, ph 412-6454.

SUSTAINABILITY Free-range, naturally. Good to see clams on the menu, though we’re not so sure about the squid.


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