BBQ fish

One of the city’s top chefs has just opened a delicious new eatery in Mount Eden — meet Parro

With a wealth of experience, including a stint at one of the world’s best restaurants and time spent in the kitchens of some of the city’s most-loved eateries (including Amano, Lillian, and Depot) Gleber Chaparro is one of the city’s top culinary talents, and his new spot, Parro, is set to bring something exceptional to Auckland’s dining scene.

Croqueta

A Mediterranean-inspired eatery on Dominion Road in the space that once housed Omni, Parro is Chaparro’s first solo venture, and according to the chef, a concept that has been brewing in the back of his mind for some time, “The idea of ​​Parro, like me, has evolved over the years — in the kitchens I’ve worked in, and the places I’ve visited,” he tells me, “but I can say that on my last trip to Europe, spending time in Spain, Portugal, Italy, and France, the clarity of what this restaurant would be finally came to me.” The mark of a true chef, Chaparro’s passion is worn on his sleeve — evident in how he describes the idea behind Parro’s offering, “Mediterranean flavours, which are of an immeasurable variety, have always enchanted me,” he muses, “Parro has a Mediterranean influence; fire, embers, smoke, and a little poetry.”


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And from what we’ve seen, poetry quite aptly describes what is happening in the kitchen at Parro. Given Chaparro’s incredible, diverse experience, the Brazilian chef who got his start as an Engineer in Brazil before eventually pursuing his passion for cooking as a career, marries incredible skill with an innate creativity to craft dishes that draw from various cuisines to offer something unique. “I’ve always liked the idea that ​​less is more,” Chaparro tells me, “[At Parro] I will use many modern techniques that I’ve learned over the years, as well as French, Spanish, and Italian bases, and a lot of smoke.” he continues, “I like to use acidity to bring balance to dishes, as well as fermentation, and like any good Brazilian, lots of barbecuing!”

Tortellini
Left: Chef, Gleber Chaparro. Right: Lamb shoulder

As such, on the concise menu, you’ll find the likes of BBQ Fish with pil pil, gambas, chicken jus, and charred carrots; Chargrilled Steak with salsa de pimiento rojo, calçot, and beetroots; Arroz Bomba with grilled prawn, mussels escabeche, capers sofrito, and saffron aioli (Parro’s elevated taken on a Spanish paella), and a chicken brodo and pangritata tortellini. There are also a number of exceptional sides and starters to accompany larger dishes, with Chaparro telling us that the Cured Raw Fish with white gazpacho, grapefruit orange dressing, and mandarin is a standout, and the handmade BBQ Flatbreads are a must-order.

Cured raw fish
Right: Arroz bomba

When it came time to curate a drinks list that perfectly compliments the exceptional fare on offer, Chaparro looked to Dan Gillet from Everyday Wines for support, “I set out to create a small but diverse list of delicious drinks and wines from all around the world, inspired by my travels and time spent working in some of the world’s best restaurants,” says Chaparro, “Dan is a master in the world of wine — I couldn’t imagine anyone better to help me with our drinks list.” Gillet is of course incredibly adept at curating a perfect drinks offering, no matter the venue, and when it came to Parro he looked both near and far, ”For the wine list, I have taken on wines and styles we all know and love and supplemented that with wines from small, unique producers from around the globe that work with Gleber’s food and style of cooking.” Gillet tells us, “The result is a concise, thoughtful, and universally delicious wine list with something for everyone.” You’ll also find your favourite cocktails on the menu alongside tap beer and a selection of bottled beer and cider.

Left: Charred beef carpaccio
Chargrilled steak

When I ask Chaparro what kind of vibe he’s aiming to create at Parro given that he has worked at both formal and more casual, bistro-style eateries, he assures me it will be casual, “I’ve worked in fine dining restaurants, but this won’t be the Parro vibe — the atmosphere will be casual; a place where you want to go for a chat with friends, a date, or a spot to take the family out for dinner.” Setting out to create a space that was “minimalist but well thought-out”, Chaparro employed the expertise of Aisha Ajaani to bring Parro’s interiors to life. The result is a pared-back, light, and casual eatery with a clear Mediterranean influence. With polished concrete floors, simple wooden tables, and bench seating lining the entirety of the right-hand wall, the open kitchen becomes the focal point — inviting diners to witness the clever chef at work.

Right: Tiramisu
Pear and red wine

Parro is more than just a restaurant; it’s a tantalising fusion of cultures, flavours, and experiences. From its laid-back interiors to its inventive fare to its exquisite drinks list, this new eatery promises a truly enchanting and unmissable dining experience.

Opening hours:
Tuesday to Saturday, 5pm until late

parro.co.nz

Parro

359 Dominion Road
Mount Eden
Auckland

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