Perched halfway up Shortland Street, among the commercial residents of the suit ridden rise, is the beautifully designed glass and white concrete exterior of Pilkingtons. Taking home at no. 41, an address they seem proud of, the team here definitely cater to the working professional clientele that take custom during lunch breaks and after work drinks. It's smart, with a stunning interior, and an incredible menu and wine list to match.
I almost couldn't fault this place, the service is chivalrous, courteous, and above all else, impeccably well mannered every step along the way. The interior spanning beneath the dangling golden hand blown bulbs, almost Ortolana-esque, was crafted by the hands at Cheshire architects. Light browns, soft textures, balanced out by floral and herbal patterns along the cushions and couches that surround you. Delicately set light brown tables present the well-constructed menu, and a carefully chosen, NZ dominated, wine list. A large floor to ceiling glass door spins you out onto the sprawling terrace, settling above the cream tiles amongst the fire and shrubbery, it's probably one of the better locations in the precinct for an after work vino.
You can choose among small, medium, or large-sized plates, and from the sides to complement a menu that can flexibly cover tapas style sharing, or a more traditional large meal each approach. There's always something for the vegetarians too, being vegan-friendly, but predominantly the menu centres around staple meats and styles. It's very European, touching on different stylistic fusion influences where they pick and choose.
I went for the wild boar ragout with thyme gnocchi, broad beans, swiss browns, and rocket pesto. The balance in texture between the punchy gnocchi and the meltingly soft chunks of boar allowed for the pesto and broad beans to compliment the flavour. I found myself lapping up the remaining sauce with what was left of my bread, chips, and gnocchi. Jay went for the vege option on the large menu, the puy lentils, served as a fricassee (minus the meat) with hazelnut and chestnut, allowing for crumbed crumbled cauliflower to add a crunchy texture compared to the soft portobello mushroom. Presentation was paramount. Recommendation goes to the lost opportunity of oysters, the Thai Raw Vegetable Salad, and the Kingfish Ceviche. I will definitely be returning with a fellow meat eater to explore the Lamb Rump and Beef Eye Fillet.
Big shout out to the chefs, treating the process as an art form, they clearly take pride in their work and love what they do. It's evident by the mastery in their delicate craft, flavour sensations, textures, colours, aromas, all contributed to the overall experience. One the best meals I have had in some time. Complemented by a staggeringly well crafted wine list, we went for a chardy, but eyed up their merlot malbecs and other varietals. Or, if you’re in the mood, have a crack at one of their crafted cocktails. This place would be on the top of my list for a long boozy (yet pricey) lunch on a day off.
Pouring Stella Artois off the tap, the only fault I could think of was the sun beaming in left us in a stifling heat, the design however is so worth the warmth as Cheshire did a great job yet again. Put this one at the top of your list. Don’t expect a big feed, expect an art form served to the highest standard.
No. 41 Shortland Street, you can’t miss them.