The Denizen Review

Those that have visited the leafy suburb recently may have noticed the laneway tucked behind the Remuera shops, off Clonbern Road, being developed. It’s one we’ve been keeping an eye on, eager to see what exciting new openings may ensue. And last week our eagerness paid off with the discovery of Laneway – a sophisticated extension of The Local, perfectly suited to a few social drinks over some great food.

Remuera’s welcomed a stylish new evening hotspot.
Offering the kind of cosy and intimate atmosphere we yearn for over the cooler months – as well as a large outdoor table perfect for summer socialising that’s eventually to come – this newcomer is the motivation one needs to gently shake off the shackles of hibernation. And, with the bonus of being able to order anything from The Local’s celebrated menu – from their scrumptious selection of small bites to their market fish served atop a delicious potato and swede gratin enhanced by a mushroom fricassee and beurre blanc or the delectable rabbit ravioli with pesto, rocket, truffle oil, parmesan and jus, this stylish destination is bound to be popular.

With the cocktail list freshly updated just last week, you really don’t need any more excuses to acquaint yourself with this new kid on the lane.

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NZ Herald Review

The menu was swiftly delivered to our table once we secured a booth up the back. We read through the alluring list of breakfast and lunch options available all day. It was a combo of Kiwi favourites - think eggs benedict ($18), steak and fries ($24) and a low-carb brekkie option ($19) but with a European flair. There were plenty of well-signposted gluten-free and vegetarian options, too.

The look was rustic; wooden and warm, with charming blue and white decor. There were a couple of tables out the front for trying to capture spring sun. Nearly every seat was full when we visited. We snagged a booth up the back but obviously this eatery on bustling Remuera Rd is a favourite.

The food arrived at our table quick-smart, which we appreciated as we didn’t have time to linger too long. The crispy polenta squid with roasted lemon, pickled cucumber and green salad ($18) delivered just as the menu promised. We also thought it would be rude not to pick a traditional French sandwich and the croque monsieur ($14) on beautiful buttered crusty bread. With just the right amount of ham and a glossy bechamel coating, turned out to be the star of the brunch for me.

The coffee was milky and warm, just as I’d ordered in my trim latte that morning. My dining companion picked a gorgeous purple, thick berry smoothie and sang its fruity praise.

The service was good upon entry but as more and more patrons flooded in towards lunch hour the smiling staff were far more stretched. Understandable, but it made the end of our meal feel a bit rushed.

Overall we’re still thinking about that croque monsieur and coffee. Book yourself a table and settle in.

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NZ Herald Newspaper

Brave Return, well worth it.

I swore I’d never write about Remuera again after the pasting I took the last time. Clearly, being better-off than others makes you a lot more sensitive to even the tiniest bit of leg-pulling, so I made a clear and conscious decision never to mention the blasted suburb again, lest the crews of middle-class mums start driving their needlessly oversized SUV’s past my modest lower-class home in a threatening manner.

I even decided not to bother visiting the place again, in case someone recognised me and had me tarred and feathered for not being rich enough.

So you can imagine the moral dilemma I faced when a very good friend of mine suggested that we leave the safe and pleasant surrounds of our normal Saturday afternoon hangout for the delights of Remmers. Compounding my trepidation was that we were going to a place I had always considered a restaurant rather than a bar but, upon arrival, I discovered that it was as much like a bar as any I have visited.

Long and narrow, it’s never going to be the sort of place you go for dancing, but it’s a cosy, intimate space, with nice private booths and cool lamps that I recently heard described as steampunk, something that suits perfectly.

The subtle difference that sets the Local apart is the level of service. With a friendly, smiling host – Buki, who sounds like a Melbourne Italian but is actually Albanian – and a well-drilled staff, the level of service was superior to most places I’ve been recently.

The drinks were good too, with a cracking wine list and a nice selection of spirits. It’s not a craft beer mecca by any means, but on a warm afternoon a cold Peroni or Kronenbourg from the tap was all that was required.

The food here is excellent, as you’d expect from a bistro-styled eatery, with some lovely, unusual dishes on the menu and none of them likely to cause financial heart failure, even for non-Remuera residents. It also does a nice line in occasional event nights, having played host to opera singers and Hungarian gypsy violinists in recent months.

This used to be Pyrenees, the great French café, but Buki and his team have taken it on and made it their own, with a surprisingly brilliant blend of food, drink and service. If it’s not your local already, maybe it’s time it was. 

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Sunday Star Times Review

The Remuera Local, formally Pyrenees Remuera, is a spot of Europe tucked away on busy, business-clogged Remuera Rd. We call in for a late lunch on Sunday and even before we walk through the door we are being welcomed by staff in a friendly, non pressuring way.
The café is cosy, with a few tables at the front and some booths down the back. We choose a booth and are delivered a menu and glasses of water instantly. With pretty surroundings - a mixture of brick and rustic white timber walls, crystal-style lamps and elegant furniture - we could linger here a while.

The all-day menu consists of a mixture of classic Kiwi and European-style dishes. We order coffees while we browse. They come out quickly (though the café is not very busy) and are extremely well brewed, my flat white is hot and creamy and Ryan’s shot black is suitably bitter.

The menu offers delights such as fish and chips, French toast, steamed mussels and a beef burger, and a second page is dedicated to pizza options. I choose the omelette with chorizo, mozzarella, sundried tomato, chutney and sourdough, and Ryan orders the chicken pasta with cherry tomatoes, parmesan, basil and tomato pasta sauce.

Again, these orders arrive promptly. My omelette is massive, taking up nearly the entire plate. It is plump and juicy, with pockets of nicely spiced chorizo, which contrasts well with the sundried tomato. The onion chutney is a good match with the omelette and stands out on its own when eaten with the two thin slices of sourdough. Because of its size I am defeated by this dish, regretfully leaving about a quarter behind.

Ryan’s chicken pasta is delicious – I nab a bite. It is full of flavour with juicy chunks of chicken mixed in with the spaghetti, and while the tomato sauce is delicious with a rich taste and good use of herbs, there is a lot of it and by the time Ryan has finished the pasta there is still a pool of thick sauce in the bowl.

On our way out we peek at the French treats in the cabinet. There is a mixture of pastries and mini cakes. We take the last berry Danish and share it on the way home. It is fabulous with zingy-red berries mingling with custard and fresh pastry.

We’ll need another taste of Europe soon.

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