Restaurant review: Pasture

by Simon Wilson / 18 October, 2016

 

After eating at Pasture, I decided that with most food, eating is nostalgia. You recognise flavours and textures and that triggers a sensory value judgment. I also remembered that a great many restaurants cheat by adding sugar.

Pasture treats eating as adventure, and it doesn’t seem to have any sugar. So the combinations and flavours are often not what you know. No nostalgia. It’s brave and very exciting and I loved eating there.

It serves degustation, which is not the fashion in this town, but it’s not dego served by starched-up waitstaff in a room of hushed reverence. Pasture staff wear aprons and jeans and flash their tattoos just like their compadres in every bistro on Ponsonby Rd.

The room is square and high-ceilinged, a modernist pagoda with lots of glass and blond wood and sliding doors on big runners. It’s quiet, because it seats only 25, but it’s informal, too. You may not be shocked to learn they have Bon Iver on the playlist.

The kitchen is along one wall behind a counter, so you can sit up and watch them work, and it tends to be the cooks who give you the food. Nice touch.

Pasture is a labour of love for Ed and Laura Verner. He’s worked for Michael Meredith and Sid Sahrawat, and they previously ran Stafford Rd Wine Bar, all of which was clearly a warm-up for this.

Ed cooks on an open fire and an induction hob, and makes everything including the bread and the gorgeous pickles stored in jars on the shelves. They forage locally and choose foods that few others bother with: the only meat the night I went was pork neck; another dish featured onion flowers from the Domain.

Beetroot is “cooked in last year’s plums”; slices of wood-fired celeriac are served with buffalo mozzarella and are terrifically good; marmalade orange wedges are flavoured with hay.

There are fish skins, a nod to Meredith, who first introduced them, and the bread — a crusty, light and moist rye sourdough — is so good you’ll want to buy a loaf. Which you can, if they have any left over.

There was a dish that didn’t work for me: that pork neck. He’d had it on the fire for only six hours and it needed another six.

The wine list is impeccably chosen but I suggest you ignore it. Their own matches with the food are so good they make most other restaurants look as if they just do it by numbers.

Broccoli comes with an extremely unusual gewürztraminer; that celeriac with Bellbird Spring Sous Voile, which tastes like dry sherry; and sake and whisky see you through the desserts. They also offer juices, which match the food in ways quite different from the wines and are also a revelation.

Pasture closed suddenly (and temporarily) on account of a family crisis before I could make a second visit. That, and the pork, account for my rating of four spoons, not five. But I can’t wait to go back.

253 Parnell Rd, Parnell.

pastureakl.com
Hours: Wed-Sun, 6pm.
Dinner bill: Set menu $130; with wine matches $180; with juice matches $165.

MostReadArticlesCollectionWidget - Most Read - Used in articles
AdvertModule - Advert - M-Rec / Halfpage

Latest

The rise of the social enterprise
83384 2017-11-21 00:00:00Z Business

The rise of the social enterprise

by Sally Blundell

A new breed of business, the social enterprise, is more intent on benefiting the community and protecting the environment than on maximising profit.

Read more
Best for who? The pressure on school leavers to choose university
83358 2017-11-20 15:22:07Z Education

Best for who? The pressure on school leavers to ch…

by Nicole Barratt

Thousands of school leavers will make big decisions this month, but a pressure brewing for years has skewed the decision-making process for some.

Read more
Dominatrix: The Renee Chignell story
83339 2017-11-20 12:58:50Z Crime

Dominatrix: The Renee Chignell story

by Donna Chisholm

Former teen dominatrix Renée Chignell was once NZ's most infamous woman. She talked to Metro in 2009 about one of the country's most notorious murders

Read more
Drugs in small town NZ: 'It's easier to get meth than cannabis'
83326 2017-11-20 11:23:30Z Crime

Drugs in small town NZ: 'It's easier to get meth t…

by Tim Brown

Meth is no longer a big city problem. Otago's sleepy Clutha District is awash with the drug - but there aren't enough addiction services to help.

Read more
Rebecca Gibney’s thriller Wanted is heading for our hills
83324 2017-11-20 11:19:10Z Books

Rebecca Gibney’s thriller Wanted is heading for ou…

by Russell Baillie

The second season of Wanted comes to NZ as the creators find out whether the show has won the International Emmy Award for best drama series.

Read more
Shortlist of three options for Auckland America's Cup bases
83317 2017-11-20 07:27:31Z Economy

Shortlist of three options for Auckland America's …

by Mei Heron

Team NZ's preference for a $190m wharf extension to host the America's Cup in Auckland is winning little favour with either the council or government.

Read more
Crooked: Is the back-pain industry doing more harm than good?
83311 2017-11-20 06:41:01Z Health

Crooked: Is the back-pain industry doing more harm…

by Jules Older

If shots and surgery and addictive pills don’t relieve back pain, what does? Jules Older talks to the author of a spine medicine exposé.

Read more
Win the Listener's 100 Best Books of 2017
83307 2017-11-19 16:57:02Z Win

Win the Listener's 100 Best Books of 2017

by The Listener

Each year, the Listener offers one lucky subscriber the chance to win all 100 of our Best Books.

Read more