Saint Patricks Square
(09) 368 4129
Monday - Saturday
6pm - late
Thursday & Friday lunch
12 - 3pm
I’ve always known vaguely where the Grove was, but I didn’t know how to get to it. Maybe because the entrance is tucked away in one of Auckland’s loveliest and often overlooked green spaces, St Patrick’s Square, as a result, I thought this celebrated fine dining restaurant has something of an unreachable air about it. I’ve since learned this is far from the truth.
It is a strangely long and narrow space, but the minute you step through the doors and walk up the steps you’ll feel welcomed. The wooden chairs and beautiful art on the walls both serve to give the space a more approachable feel than the menu and the white table cloths might suggest. The waitstaff have just the right air about them; friendly yet professional, attentive without being obtrusive – this is no doubt a reflection on the years of restaurant experience behind owners Michael and Annette Dearth.
Head chef Ben Bayly creates immaculate, seasonally-inspired dishes. Dishes like a warm terrine of hare, pheasant and rabbit with egmont carrots and truffle emulsion, or wagyu tartare and cheek with heirloom beetroot, pickled onion and confit yolk. It’s the kind of food I found myself eating in tiny mouthfuls, just so I could make it last longer. Yes, this may be very rich fine dining fare, but the atmosphere isn’t in the least bit stuffy. It’s a restaurant I’d feel just as comfortable heading to for an impromptu working lunch as I would a dinner on a special occasion.