August 30, 2014
My last dinner in Auckland was at the tranquil Cocoro: a lovely, langorous meal that was utterly Japanese in its restrained simplicity.
It began with these two oysters: one a Bluff oyster, too delicious to serve with anything more than a bit of salt and lemon. The other a Kaipara topped with a subtle yuzu foam.
Next came a little box that opened to reveal a series of small treats: the tuna at the top, velvety curls of raw shrimp, a sharkskin grater with fresh wasabi and a bit of pickled ginger. At the bottom, both white and dark soy sauce.
Next there was a tiny dish of chawanmushi filled with scallop and crab, and topped with salmon roe:
Kingfish and fiddlehead fern tempura came plunked into a broth rich with seaweed and spinach. The real treat here – for me at least – was the buckwheat and spinach at the bottom. The entire world in a bowl- ocean, forest, field and stream.
Beautifully grilled beef, very rare, surrounded by shiitakes, truffle, Jerusalem artichoke puree and just a tiny hint of bitter greens.
Dessert was simple and completely refreshing: granita of umeboshi and shiso, with bits of berries and a strong hint of yuzu. A perfect ending for a lovely meal.
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