In many ways, this time of the year, with its colder weather and shorter days, offers little to look forward to but a reminder that winter is coming. Proving there’s always a silver lining, however, Soul Bar and Bistro has come to our rescue with a new winter menu showcasing the best of winter’s produce and getting us excited for the season ahead. While it retains the classics such as the infamous mac and cheese and salt and pepper squid, the Viaduct Harbour restaurant is branching outside its comfort zone and offering a number of fresh and exciting dishes as well. Here are our picks from Soul’s new winter menu that demand booking a table right now.
Salty River Pumpkins
The carb cravings inevitably intensify during winter and this new dish is truly a plate homely flavours and so much soul. The pumpkins are sourced from Salty River Farm in Tauhoa and they’re some of the sweetest pumpkins we have ever tasted. The vibrant, orange, extra-large chunks are oven-baked to form a slight crisp on the exterior and are served on a bed of tart cultured cream. A sprinkle of sweet, spicy and tangy chilli jam is drizzled all over the plate to elevate and enliven the caramelised flavours of the crispy pumpkins. The final touch of fresh herbs compliments the cultured cream and offers a unique aroma and fragrance.
Arguably one of our favourite parts of the cold season is the return of Brussels sprouts. And while some might have had negative connotations around these veggies as kids, it was usually more about how the sprouts were cooked as opposed to the sprouts themselves. Well, Soul Bar does the Brussels sprouts complete justice by dousing the morsels in butter that has been infused in crispy bacon and garlic. The game-changing ingredient is the addition of honey as it renders the flavours more complex, highlights the subtle sweetness of the Brussels sprouts and provides the perfect contrast to the saltiness of the bacon.
Taking delicacy and culinary luxury to new heights, this exquisite dish ties in a number of piscine flavours without any fuss or fanfare but with a good dose of hearty indulgence. Seeing perfectly roasted Hapuku combined with a soft, melt-in-your-mouth crayfish raviolo, the heavenly pairing is served with crisp beach spinach, lending a moment of leafy freshness before returning to an opulent, truffle jus finish.
Spawned in the summertime, the John Dory fish has reached its optimal growth and is now ready to be served. Soul’s take on the fish brings out its lean yet bouncy qualities. Cooked to highlight the crispy skin and full-bodied texture of the fillet, it’s served bathed in a sauce that derives from the juices of a buttered, roast chicken. Alongside the John Dory is a medley of brassicas to lend the seafood even more freshness while adding a sense of heartiness to the dish. For some extra zest, the dish is finished off with a lively, herb gremolata making it a dish that perfectly balances warming elements for winter with fresh ingredients to keep it relatively light.
Soul Bar & Bistro
Corner of Lower Hobson Street & Customs Street West
(09) 356 7249