Clooney Restaurant – A True Dining Experience

After a visit from Chef Thomas Hishon to Mountford Estate during my stay in New Zealand, I decided that a visit to Clooney Restaurant in Auckland was not to be missed. Considered one of the best restaurants in Auckland, Clooney has been a Restaurant Finalist in the Cuisine Restaurant of the Year Awards and the Metro Restaurant of the Year Awards for 5 years running.

Clooney is a partnership between restaurateur Tony Stewart and Chef Des Harris, one of New Zealand’s most prolific chefs. Chef Thomas Hishon, who had cooked for us at Mountford Estate, joined Clooney as Sous Chef  1-1/2 years ago, after training in the UK and Canada and today at the age of 25 oversees a staff of 12.

The atmosphere at Clooney is simplistically elegant. The dining room is broken into sections by black-fringe and hand blown glass baubles that hang from the ceiling.  The dark fringe around curved booths and dark round tables makes each make each table seem like it is in its own space.

We selected the Chef’s Tasting Menu with wine pairings and savored each course, bite by bite.

Granita Aperol Blood Orange Espuma

Salmon, Orange, Saffron, Fennel Pollen

Paired with Marc Bredif Vouvrey 2012

Congee, Hot Smoked Snapper and Broth

Paired with Domaines Schlumberger “Les Princes Abbes” Alsace 2009 

Burrnoisette (the most incredible brown butter spread)

Ostrich, Black Currant, Duck Liver, Gingerbread

Paired with Antinori Peppoli” Chianti Classico 2009

Lamb Rump, Sweet Mash, Edamane, Pine Nuts, Black Garlic, Dates

Paired with Cloudy Bay Pinot Noir

Beef, Shitake, Garlic, Miso, Marrow

Paired with Man O’ War “Ironclad” Cabernet, Franc, Merlot 2009

Pre-Dessert: Buttermilk Panna Cotta, Cape Gooseberries, Passion Fruit Granita, Freeze- Dried Lychee

Feijoa, Rosemary, Brown Butter, Ginger

Paired With Villa Maria Late Harvest Riesling 2011

Every element on each plate was in harmony. This was truly an extraordinary dining experience.  Clooney may be one of the best restaurants in Auckland but it is also one of the best restaurants I have dined at.  If you are heading to Auckland, don’t miss dining at Clooney!