The Sugar Club, Auckland

The Sugar Club is frequently touted as a tourist must-visit in Auckland. Perched at the top of the Sky Tower landmark, it's perhaps the prettiest restaurant in all of Auckland. But, I'd say that The Sugar Club is one of those once-and-done places. And if you're scared of heights, don't even bother visiting this skyscraper spot.

Save for its spectacular, expansive view of the Auckland plains, and low-lit romantic setting, the food at The Sugar Club was pedestrian and entirely forgettable. The saving grace: price points were wallet-friendly:  2-course dinner cost (NZ$70), and while the wines weren't the cheapest I'd seen in NZ, it was surprisingly reasonable for an upscale place like this. 

The amuse bouche of raw kingfish cubes was given a refreshing lift with fresh mint, radish, green apples, and a lively citrus puree.

The sweetness of the Grilled Nelson Scallops was contrasted against tamarind chilli caramel, sweetcorn puree, peppery freekeh, and earthy shitake.

The Mushrooms, was a medley of creamy mushroom parfait, crunchy woods ear, sesamed enoki, and sauteed shitake, flavoured with black garlic, crumbs, and ketchup. An elegant dish all round.

The panko-crusted Day Boat Fish & Whitebait, with liquorice-tomato sauce and coconut flakes, was disappointingly lackluster. The crust wasn't crisp enough, and the fish was a smidge overcooked. That said, the savoury-sweet flavours melded well.

The Hawkes Bay Lamb Loin, sided by babaganoush, cashew butter, tapenade, poached cucumber, and seasoned with caraway salt was very much blah. Nothing wrong with it per se, but nothing very right about it either.

Our drinks 2014 Roccolo del Lago Bardolino Chiaretto Rose from Veneto (NZ$13), 2014 Man O War Valhalla Chardonnay from Waiheke Island (NZ$18) were the best thing about dinner. And the bread. 

We needed to adjust to NZ-time, so we got a couple of Lattes (NZ$5 each) to stay awake. These were unbalanced, too heavy on the milk and too light on the cocoa.

The Sugar Club
Skytower 72 Victoria St West
Auckland 1010
New Zealand
Tel: +64 9 363 6365
Open Wednesdays to Sundays from 12noon to 2.30pm for lunch;
dinner daily from 5.30pm to 9.30pm for dinner

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