Hospitality maestros Sid and Chand Sahrawat are opening the doors to a modern pan-Asian eatery tomorrow — the first in a series of new venues forming the couple’s reimagining of Sid at the French Café. Anise will occupy the space’s main dining area, bringing an artful, inventive take on Asian-inspired fare to what will soon become a mini dining precinct. Here, you’ll find a reception and bar area, two dining rooms, a private dining space, and a private wine cellar, all of which envelop a central courtyard reminiscent of an old French quarter; complete with a roaring fireplace, fragrant herb gardens, and plenty of space for al fresco dining.
When it comes to Anise’s fit-out, the inspiration here is undeniably Japanese — evident in the use of subtle textures, clean, minimal lines and the eatery’s serene ambience. The restaurant boasts three separate but connected spaces including a reception and bar area and two seperate dining areas — one of which opens out onto the generous internal courtyard. Diners will find simple, mahogany-finished tables atop plush carpet, with minimal, thoughtful decor throughout — punctuated with bold artwork.
The debut menu, imagined by Sid and head chef Tommy Hope, is designed for sharing. It pulls from a diverse range of cultures; from Japanese and Thai to Malaysian, Korean, Cambodian and Chinese, to offer a fresh take entirely. The resulting dishes are a true exploration of flavours; from Thai green curry beef short rib pies, and black pepper crab croustade with dashi and egg yolk sauce (an ode to Singapore’s ubiquitous chilli crab dish), to spicy buttermilk masala fried chicken sliders with ghost chilli mayo and pickle; masterstock pork belly caramelised with green apple; ginger and savoy cabbage (a perennial favourite in the Sahrawat household); tiger prawns with fermented pepper, yellow curry and XO; and sticky braised beef galbi (Korean short rib) with kimchi, carrot and puffed rice. A series of inventive desserts also feature.
When it comes to the all-important drinks offering, you’ll find an artfully crafted cocktail menu with a focus on fresh, tropical, and Asian ingredients — designed to complement the diverse culinary offering, alongside a unique wine selection that serves to highlight exquisite drops from the likes of Japan, Syria, Lebanon, and China.
Fans of Sid at The French Café will be pleased to learn they can still get their fix, although the Sahrawats have dropped the ‘Sid’ — reverting to the restaurant’s original name — and moved the premium offering (now once again dubbed The French Café) to a dining room on the opposite side of the courtyard.
Sid and Chand Sahrawat are stalwarts of the Auckland dining scene, and for good reason. Anise only further demonstrates their impressive ability (and willingness) to constantly evolve — and with its inventive, experimental menu, exceptional setting, and the names on the door, this new opening is perfectly primed to become yet another iconic eatery under their stewardship. Bookings are open now.
Tuesday — Saturday, 5.30pm-late
210 Symonds St