Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Chef Jules visits Bracu Restaurant

Hello Friends,
I had an invite to a very special 85th birthday party luncheon the other day, held at Bracu restaurant. The restaurant, a Kauri Villa, renovated in 2005, by Ivan and Branka Simunovich, is located in 43 Main Road Bombay, rural south Auckland. With over 40.000 olive trees on the estate it is the largest privately owned olive grove in New Zealand, and makes for a very pleasant vista whilst dinning. The name "Bracu" is derived from the Adriatic Island of Brac, and is the third largest, (48km long, 14km wide) in the Croatian group of Islands, and is where the owners originate.
Our large group were seated on the veranda and given a 2 course set menu. To start we were given  freshly baked bread, accompanied by their own extra virgin olive oil and was enjoyed by all. The oil was so good I ended up buying 2 bottles to take home, so I guess it was a good marketing strategy. To follow we had a choice of;
Pan Fried Scallops with tomato passata, basil oil and black olive crumbs, or
Grilled Scotch Fillet Steak cafe de Paris butter, watercress salad and hand cut chips, or
Crisp Roast Duck Breast with baby beetroot, orange and watercress salad and apple dressing, or
Grilled Fillet of Snapper with roast garlic, chorizo, white bean, steamed clams, pea cassoulet and olive tapenade.

I chose the Snapper dish, which read very well, the ingredients, individually, are favourites of mine and together work very well and was cooked to perfection.
I also sampled the duck which tasted very good but was let down by not being crispy enough. The main courses were served with Bracu garden salad, Banyuls dressing and Sumac, rosemary fried potatoes. Overall the meals were great, the setting fabulous and the service very attentive without being obtrusive.
The wines, which I had tried before, didn't disappoint. 2008 Cable Bay Merlot Malbec Rose from Waiheke Island and 2008 Atarangi Pinot Noir, "Crimson" from Martinborough. Prices are $55 and $68 respectively.
We all finished with a special birthday cake for this very special occasion. Chocolate cake layered with berry mousse served with gelato and fresh berries, which was very nice.
The 2 course luncheon menu is $65 and the 3 course is $75. The olive oils I purchased were natural extra virgin olive oil and lemon infused extra virgin olive oil, both 250ml and $13.75, $15.40 respectively. Both oils are extremely well priced considering the quality. Looking at the dinner menu, you will find entrees around $20 and mains averaging $36 with side dishes i.e. potatoes, vegetables $7.50 each.
Chef Jules rating for Bracu Restaurant is 8/10, and special thanks to Jenny, Peter and the birthday girl, Mini for a great day.
Ciao for now

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