We came here because we had read good things about this seafood restaurant, including in Metro magazine's 50 Under $50. The previous restaurant O'Sarracino was a favourite of ours, and it took that kind of encouragement before we could bring ourselves to try the new place.
The menu had plenty of seafood, as you would expect, but also steak, ribs, and vegetarian on request. It offered a couple of dishes from some very different cuisines (Malay sambal stingray, for instance), which made us hesitate, the way we are generally filled with scepticism when we see a menu with a split personality (though we approve of the Vietnamese and fish and chips place in Wellington).
|Seafood on display by the front counter.|
The setting was trying to be casual, with handwritten blackboard signs, brown paper over the tablecloths and felt tip pens on some tables, but there were still ornate light fittings and other incongruous bits in this former funeral parlour.
|Interior of the restaurant.|
The service was warm and helpful. We knew Laila Harre was involved in the previous restaurant, because she helped bring in a living wage to O'Sarracino, but we didn't expect her to be taking our order at the table. She let us know that there was a persimmon mocktail not listed in the menu, and that a main dish would probably be enough to feed two because it comes with a selection of sides.
|Fresh persimmon mocktail, and pot of felt tip pens behind the salt and pepper shakers.|
What we ate included:
- Warm Italian flatbread with garlic, herb, olive oil and rocket ($10) - this was hot and crisp, fragrant with plenty of garlic.
|Freshly baked Italian garlic flatbread.|
- Scallops with mixed leaf salad and lemon herb dressing ($14) - fresh and flavourful, beautifully seared.
|Scallops with lemon herb dressing.|
- Charcoal grilled flounder with potatoes and greens ($30) - who knew such a plain and simple dish could be so tasty? The fish was cooked with skill, the potatoes crisp; the seasonal greens were unexpectedly made up of choi sum, Shanghai bokchoy, green beans and bean sprouts.
|Grilled flounder, skilfully cooked.|
Overall, we can highly recommend the simple yet flavourful cooking we sampled. Chef Brendon Peterson clearly knows what he's doing, and we look forward to trying some more from the menu.
IKA Seafood Bar and Grill
3 Mount Eden Road, Mount Eden, Auckland
(09) 309 3740