First Look: Paris Butter
There are few cuisines that satisfy cravings for overindulgence like the buttery, creamy, woozy foundations of French food. Honeyman would know, he left his position as head chef at Auckland’s Sofitel last year to take over the kitchens of a small provincial restaurant in the Dordogne, which he’s now a partner in. He says the experience changed his cooking philosophy.
“I think bistronomy is a cool word to sum it up. Lots of chefs – myself included – have grown up cooking gastronomy, but restaurants can’t afford 10 chefs in the kitchen these days. So we’ve learned to do the same food but simpler, using wholesome ingredients and not overworking them.”
The good news is a trip to France is no longer necessary to experience Honeyman’s new style, just a ride on the Outer Link to his new Herne Bay restaurant Paris Butter, where the menu screams classic French bistro. Bite-sized Croque Monsieurs (Vogel based, obvs), vegetable tart tatins, confit pork and chicken, iron-blasted creme brûlées and of course, steak with Cafe de Paris butter – there are no demi-mesurs.
All that remains of Paris Butters’ iconic predecessor Vinnies is a brass V embedded in the entrance’s tiles. Other than that, the place has been given a total makeover by Olga Skorik of Ermitage Design. Skylights have been added, the height of the dining room optically extended with a neutral colour palate and statement, distressed mirror wall. An eye-catching floor-to-ceiling wine store directs attention to Paris Butter’s robust half-French, half-Kiwi wine list.
The support of business partner Jeff Costello and the 5-year working relationship Honeyman has with his appointed head chef William Lauder facilitates a lifestyle most of us fantasise about. Honeyman plans to use his restaurant in France as an escape from Auckland winter, and vice versa. He knows what he wants, does Honeyman, and he’s great at sharing it with diners.
166 Jervois Rd
Words by Alice Harbourne, photos by Ken Downie.