Thursday 15 July 2010

At Home Restaurant

The Concept.

Instead of going out for a BYO with friends, get everyone to pitch in with a small koha or donation and host a dinner party at home.  BYO recession style.
The Inspiration

Once upon a time, two consummate foodies and good friends of ours, T & B went out for a cheap and cheerful BYO with friends.  They went to a Japanese eatery in downtown Auckland and found that the food was alright but not great and they mused that for the same price everyone spent out that night, they could have cooked up a mean feed for all at home.  And so the idea for the 'At Home Restaurant' was born.


The Setting

When we arrived, T and B were still slaving away in the kitchen, rolling out pastry, kneading baps and we settled down to a vino or two, watched the chefs hard at work and chewed the fat amongst ourselves.

Picture this: it was a freezing Auckland winters' night outside, but inside, in the cozy little dining room, with dozens of colourful tea lights providing mood lighting, good friends with good wine enjoyed great conversation and beautiful food.

The Menu

T & B went all out and sent cool little invites that were all fab and professional looking with the following mouth watering descriptions of the courses:

T's Famous Spiced Pumpkin Soup accompanied by B's Brilliant Baps.

"The Moonit Crook" Farmhouse-style Shepard's Pie with potato thatching, honey-tossed roast vegetables on the side.

"Milly's Filly" A blast from B's past, the incomparable Parisian Vanilla Slice.

Your choice of hot chocolate, coffee or tea.

Complimentary (and complementary) house red and white provided.

If you are not drooling yet wait till you see the photos... 

T's pumpkin soup was thick and hearty and totally delicious.  You could feel each spoonful warming you from the toes up.  B made beautiful crusty baps which we enjoyed steaming hot from the oven.

T decided to make farm house style steak pies instead of a Shepard's pie and it was phenomenal.  Big chunks of melt-in-your-mouth steak in a thick gravy loaded with spices.  The secret ingredient was star anise, not a spice you would normally associate with steak pie, but it was that can't-quite-put-your-finger-on-it flavour and added a subtle warmth and complexity.

The incredibly chic: Milly's Filly.  Most of you will know this as mille feuille, but when B was little, he couldn't quite get the pronunciation right and the nick name stuck.  Cute!  B made the custard himself with organic eggs from the chook they have in the backyard.

Now, anyone who knows me, knows that custard slices are my Achilles heel.  Mille feuille in particular was responsible for me putting on an extra 10 kg as an exchange student in France.  I have a serious lack of self control when it comes to custard slices.  So in my vast experience in the art of consuming custard encased in pastry, I think I can safely say this was one of the best mille feuilles I've had in ages.  Bravo B!

The boys mucking around in the kitchen and vintage kitchenware in B's flat.

By the end of the night, we had gone through a number of bottles of wine, canvassed all conversation topics under the moon from baking to nudity, Twihards to hospices and had an absolute cracker of an evening.

The only gripe I had was that T & B have made an extremely hard act to follow for the next At Home Restaurant hosts!


  1. That sounds like an awesome dinner & evening! Makes me want to try to have more people over more often.

  2. Fantastic menu, yummy. And I am deeply jealous of that jug and beater, very cool!

  3. Kita: I love the idea too! Kinda lets you live your your masterchef fantasies :)

    Plum Kitchen: Omg how cool is it right? Love all that old school kitchenware and tins. Would love to go on a road trip to antique stores up and down the country trying to find vintage kitchen stuff and china. Would be so much fun.

  4. I have been looking for an eggbeater like this for many, many grandmother had one! Good luck!!



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