49 Main Rd, Bombay. Ph (09) 236-1030, bracu.co.nz.
Brunch Saturday & Sunday, lunch Wednesday-Sunday, dinner Wednesday-Saturday. $$$
Runner-up, best rural restaurant
Bracu has always been one of the most beautiful places in Auckland to eat, nestled as it is under a big sky and among the olive trees of Simunovich Estate. And these days, thanks to chef Mikey Newlands and an exacting restaurant manager, the food, wine and service all match the views. Newlands is one of the new breed of young chefs: innovative and willing to put in hours of prep to make his food stand out. Even the simple things are done well — like home-baked bread using a recipe Newlands perfected in Europe, and generously served with a bottle of local olive oil you can pour yourself. The menu is studded with unusual ingredients — macadamia cheese, black garlic, buttermilk dressing — but the invention is always driven by the pursuit of taste. If you have time, do the degustation: it’s great value at $85 for almost 10 courses.
A favourite dish: Roasted market fish with peas, paua and peppered pork.
Fixed-price meals / Degustation / Good for vegetarians / Free-range chicken and/or pork / Good seating outside / Private room / Takes large groups / Bar