The rise in neighbourhood bistros is one of the best recent culinary trends. The upsides: – easy parking, great service (serving locals mean relying on repeat business), un-fussy atmosphere and a more edited menu. The only downside is that these have gotten so popular as word is getting out far beyond the neighbourhood.
Twisted Tomato is a case in point. Located next to a dairy and a takeaway on a quiet intersection on Point Chevalier Road, this gem of an eatery serves understated, fresh food with beautifully robust flavours. The evolving menu is simple; four/five entrees, four/five mains and three desserts. You’d think this would make the decision easy. Hardly, the combinations are intriguing and I wanted to try them all. The prices are also very reasonable ~$18 for a generous entrée, <$30 for the glorious mains and $13.90 for their desserts.
The owners have distinguished calibre; Tamara Wright and Thomas Walden trained in some of the great fine-dining restaurants in Auckland, and have developed a clever touch with flavours. The staff are friendly and attentive, and with the edited menu, the service was very prompt. Exactly what you want from a neighbourhood bistro.
We started with the kawahai croquettes ($7), which came served on a bed of pea pesto. I don’t know how the almost creamy and croquettes could be so crispy on the outside without falling apart in the deep-fryer.
(*Note that the menu has changed since we had this meal) For an entrée, I chose a fantastic twist on the classical insalata caprese. The Twisted Tomato version was a burrata served with a pesto dressing on a tomato compote. The superbly fresh flavours practically leapt off the plate; this is a dish I would be happy to eat every night.
My partner, BL, chose the pork, rabbit and venison terrine which came with pickles, pistachios and thick slices of brioche. I found the taste too heavy for my palate, but he loved it.
The duck breast was expertly prepared; I don’t know they made this gamey meat taste somewhat delicate. This sat on a bed of incredibly smooth kumara puree and bok choy.
BL chose the robust flavours of the perfectly cooked scotch fillet, which came with a rich jus.
I was too full for dessert, but we shared a mango parfait served with lychee and toasted coconut shavings. I was unsure of the parfait, not quite a mousse, not quite an ice-cream, I couldn’t get used to the texture.
When we were there, we saw children, people in casual clothing, which helps to build the image of Twisted Tomato as a favoured local eatery. However, I would suggest booking as this small place fills up quickly. I’m looking forward to coming back, and have recommended this place to everyone I know.
149 Point Chevalier Road, Auckland
Ph: 09 – 845 2235
Opening hours: Tues – Sun 6pm onwards