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Madam Woo - review (1)

Sep 23, 2015 Restaurants

Photo by Ken Downie.

486 Lake Rd, Takapuna.
Hours: 7 days, noon till late.
Dinner bill: Entrees $9-$16, mains $29-$32, desserts $7-$12.

By Simon Wilson. Photo by Ken Downie.

First published in the September 2015 issue of Metro.

Old enough to remember Cobb & Co? Garlic bread! Wine with your meal! Actually, in parts of New Zealand where it’s still 1973, Cobb & Co lives on. Not Takapuna, of course, where they now have the 2015 equivalent. It’s called Madam Woo.

I wish I was joking. Josh Emett, the restaurateur behind Madam Woo, is one of the most internationally acclaimed chefs this country has ever produced, and I wish that when I went into any one of his restaurants it was obvious why he’s so highly regarded. At Madam Woo, sadly, it’s a mystery.

The place is a travesty. It reeks of an attitude that says, “We won’t try hard because they won’t care.”

I’m not saying it should be fine dining. What I miss — what I hunger for — is an informal, buzzing-with-excitement, expertly run, culinarily wonderful, big ol’ joint. A brasserie with a beating heart, oozing style, a place where it’s just so great to be there. The kind of place, in fact, that Madam Woo claims to be.
But it isn’t. Where to start? It’s a barn, and right now, in winter, it’s really cold, because they…continue reading.


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