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Forest

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$$ Chef: Plabita Florence
177 Symonds St, Eden Terrace
  • Closed
  • Mon
    Closed
  • Tue
    Closed
  • Wed
    6pm-10pm
  • Thu
    6pm-10pm
  • Fri
    6pm-10pm
  • Sat
    6pm-10pm
  • Sun
    Closed
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A fully plant-based restaurant from chef Plabita Florence.

There aren’t a lot of places in Auckland for vegetarians to wander in and order freely, safely reassured that anything they’ll get delivered to their table will be free of meat – so it’ll be a novelty, then, that they can do that here, at Forest. Forest is a small, intimate dining experience by head chef and owner Plabita Florence, who works primarily with local ingredients whenever she can, often sourced from as nearby as from the market gardens down the road. 

As such, the three-course menu is set and dictated by the season. What we eat on one occasion will likely not be what you eat on your occasion, which is why you’ll need to be okay with being surprised – all menus are handwritten and expressed simply, the items listed mostly by ingredients only. You’ll find a heavy use of pickling and fermenting – on one of our visits, we were served a pickled new potato, with a lovely creamy mushroom base – and plenty of playful experimentation. We know it’s much of a cliched thing to say when it comes to eating vegetarian food, but you really won’t miss the meat: for example, a main of roasted cauliflower, all crispy and charred and laying in a persimmon mole, was utterly satisfying.

It’s obvious that Florence delights in unusual flavour combinations and giving things a go, also shown in special events like her ice-cream pop-ups and Kelmarna Gardens’ feasts, and it means being treated to a unique, and memorable, dining experience you’re unlikely to get anywhere else. We also hear that Florence will soon be opening a new space on Dominion Rd, expanding the room she has to play with both literally and figuratively; it seems likely diners will soon be able to choose from more than just a three-course set menu. We’re guessing (and hoping) there will be more snacks.

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