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Fun Fine Dining Without The Fuss: Sid At The French Café Launches New Menus And New Dining Options

The iconic Sid at the French Café in Symonds Street is heading into winter with new menu offerings and options for bringing more fun to fine dining.

As well as launching a new winter tasting menu, the celebrated Auckland restaurant is introducing a flexible à la carte menu and snack offerings, giving guests more relaxed options.

The restaurant is also taking walk-ins for those wanting to pop in spontaneously for an after-work cocktail or glass of wine with snacks. Guests can enjoy these impromptu treats in the heated undercover area in the Mediterranean-inspired courtyard or around a brazier fire, also in the beautiful courtyard and garden area.

For those seeking dining options, the new winter menu, curated by owner and executive chef Sid Sahrawat and head chef Tommy Hope, is now available.

Split between snacks, entrees ($35), mains ($45), and desserts ($25), it delivers Sahrawat’s signature innovative flavour combinations with glimpses of inspiration from many cuisines.

Sahrawat says he wanted a spontaneous, fun menu that wasn’t limited to one style of cuisine.

“For me, it’s always about pushing the boundaries with flavour combinations to keep it exciting on the palate,” he says.

Sahrawat is also pleased to make the restaurant a destination for people to stop in on their way home or before heading out elsewhere for the evening.

“As the restaurant evolves, we want the dining experience to be fun and less stuffy,” he says.

“We are still a relaxed fine dining destination offering first class service, but the staff want our guests to have fun with the experience, too – this is reflected both in the menu and the ambience of the restaurant.

“Opening up the restaurant to people to just pop in is something we’ve talked about doing for a long time. The courtyard is our urban oasis and has never looked better with the herb garden, chimney fireplace, brazier fire pit, heaters and fairy lights.

“We can’t wait to make this a more relaxed, fun and accessible destination.”

Those planning to stick around a bit longer to enjoy the new à la carte menu can look forward to sampling the following:

  • Snacks: Include a Truffle and gruyere beignet with truffle emulsion; Hot smoked Aoraki salmon croustade, XO, rouille, sesame; and a Parmesan churro with whipped feta, smoked maple and puffed pork crackling.
  • Entrees: Include Ruakaka kingfish with mandarin, feijoa, fermented jalapeño and Scampi, Jerusalem artichoke, chicken skin, hazelnut, lavender.
  • Mains: Include a deliciously tender Wagyu beef short rib, with Szechuan, kasundi, kimchi, carrot, wasabi; Market fish with green chili, charred cucumber, verbena, turnip; and Venison, romesco, black pudding, medjool date, smoked cashews.
  • Desserts: Include a local and international cheese board, as well as an array of sweet treats, such as the Coconut, lychee, licorice, pavlova, puffed rice; the Mandarin, black pepper hokey pokey, soured cream, manuka honey; and the nostalgic Dark chocolate, pretzel and malted barley soft serve.

Of course, Sid at the French Café has kept a few of the classics the restaurant is already known for, such as the five-course tasting menu (which includes snacks) for $190pp and a Saturday four-course set lunch, including a glass of champagne, for $120pp.

The Gaggenau Tuesday Test Kitchen also continues to prove popular with those looking for a unique dining experience.

Operating on the first Tuesday of every month, it offers a six-course dining experience combining the best dishes from all three of Sahrawat’s restaurants - Sid at The French Café, Cassia and KOL - for $190pp, including a welcome glass of champagne or cocktail. Dates remaining are July 4, August 1, September 5, October 3 and November 7.

Meanwhile, bar manager Robert Chacon (formerly of Cassia and the Pendry in San Diego) has developed the cocktail list to include a mixture of reimagined classics and Chacon’s own creations designed to complement the new menu.

An evolving and exciting wine list has also been created by sommelier Alex Schepetkin to match the menu and features some special cellared and limited-edition wines. Wine and cocktail pairings are available for all menu options.

The full food and drinks menus can be found at the restaurant’s website. Sid at The French Café is open Tuesday to Saturday from 5pm until late, and Saturdays for lunch from 12pm to 2.30pm. Reservations for dinner are recommended. Walk-ins for cocktails and snacks are welcome. Most dietaries are catered to with advance notice. For full information see www.sidatthefrenchcafe.co.nz

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