Josh Emmett- one of NZ’s premier celebrity chefs, not for Masterchef no, but for his restaurant Rata. World famous in Queenstown, and New Zealand, Josh created something special- and he’s done the same thing with Ostro. Repeatedly quoted as one of Aucklands’ higher end establishments this elevated seafarers delight is definitely dressed to impress.
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The lunch service is a little casual, dinner much more bustling and formal. Boat shoes and casual shirts were scattered around, the occasional well tailored suit. The black-pillared interior spans itself out in front of you as you enter from the elevator into the 2nd floor of the Seafarers building. Vast glass windows teeter floor to roof providing a stunning view over the harbour, facing the view the bar sits behind you, kitchen on your right. All the while humble yellow-topped tables are scattered all around you. There’s a touch of kiwiana, with the chairs and tables, supported by the menu. Their branding is spot on. Mentioned previously for their award winnings at the Best Awards now only last year, Ostro and Seafarers in general won plenty for their little menu designs and logos, the extra touch of genius thought gone into everything they do.
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The service is almost impeccable; our waitress was humble, witty, friendly, and most importantly extremely attentive. Always topping up our glasses, always serving and clearing at the perfect moments. It spoke of good training, and made the experience. The menus place in front of you are tailored to the day, big blue and white sheets quote a mostly seafood degustation. Oysters were a must. Any kind of fish dish is a must. This is seemingly Ostro’s specialty. My trevally was succulent, fresh out of the ocean, complimented perfectly with toasted almonds, confit grapes, dill and sauce Romesco. It sounds complicated to some but the food is very typically Josh Emmett. Nothing too complicated, enough to push you out of your comfort zone, but not too difficult to understand that you’re sitting there blank eyed at a menu of unknown dishes. We also went for the duck ravioli, perfectly hand made ravioli pasta stuffed with roast duck rested amongst parsnip puree, pickled pear and crackling. Attention to detail is obvious. Josh must push this on all his staff because, although servings are small, each bite is delicately tailored to please. There is nothing to fault from our experience.
The air of the influential that wafts through the walls of Ostro is amazing too. The views, the décor, the food, the price (ouch), all spin you through a day of feeling oh-so-extravagant. This is funny, seeing as their most popular dish seemed to be their beef brisket burger. Of course they put a kiwi Josh Emmett Ostro spin on it. The wine list is superb, make sure you go for a bottle or two, the menu is vast, make sure you attempt their lamb shoulder made for two- pair that with some delicious vino and you’re set for the dining experience of the year.
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