Price: Around $30 per main
Location: Shed 5, City Works Depot, 90 Wellesley St, Auckland
Odettes is smack bang in the middle of the city, surrounded by stiff competition from other lauded eateries. However Odettes easily edges them out, and takes the cake as the best balance of casual and fine dining in the city. The menu is focused, yet offers variety through they day. I would heartily recommend breakfast there, as well as lunch and dinner.
The décor is understate and clean, the waiters smart casual taking the edge off. On a warmer day, sitting outside is the perfect place to enjoy your meal.
The dishes mainly takes their inspiration from Europe, so you'll find a mix of pasta, pork belly, crepes and chorizo. What makes Odettes truly stand out is how fresh and vibrant everything tastes. I ordered the heirloom tomato and buffalo milk burrata salad on a risk, knowing that the potential excellence of the dish rested on the tomatoes. I was not disappointed. The tomatoes had a tart sweetness to them, and a crisp bite. Unfortunately many restaurants serve under ripe tomatoes, but here the kitchen had served up the dish with confidence in the ingredients.
Other stand out dishes included the wood fire camembert, which is a portion big enough for two. The humongous camembert was rich and gooey. The roast peaches providing a hint of saccharine respite from the luscious fat.
The eye catching black angus eye rib was cooked to perfection, with the streaks of fat melting to provide a more textured mouthful. The rouille managed to keep the dish light and refreshing, which meant I wanted more and more.
Perhaps the only downside to Odettes is the irregular portion sizes. The crepes for instance, are enough that one person may struggle to finish them. Yet some of the salads are teensy, such as the stone fruit salad. A bit more consistency please!
Odettes has become my any time of day European food choice. It manages to create precise wonders, while still being approachable and unpretentious.
If you are in the city looking for something a little bit special, get over to Odettes pronto.