Review: Fiddlesticks Restaurant & Bar
The evening is off to one of the best starts ever. We exchange a mental fist bump as we’re seated at a cosy fireside table, while outside sleety rain falls from a concrete-coloured sky (Mother Nature is clearly ignoring the ‘it’s spring’ memo), and become immediate best friends with our charming host Esther over our drinks order. The third sign (these things always come in threes) is that it’s a full house – on a Monday. The slick bar area, artfully lined with horizontal vintages, is filled with an animated after-work crowd, while the dining rooms, an on-trend mix with a Scandinavian bent of wood panelling, funky lampshades, living plant wall and sturdy wood and wrought iron tables, are a 50/50 split of Tripadvisor-savvy visitors and in-the-know locals.
Esther talks us through the menu as we sip chilled flutes of bubbles and savour the anticipation of what’s to come. Having smelled the seductive aroma of Today’s Bread selection, we’re unable to resist. Esther’s insider intel advises a half serve (for which we’re grateful, having ordered the ever changing Bespoke Shared Feast for Two) as we work our way through a heavenly herby focaccia, perfectly crusted sour dough and ciabatta, and a chewy, nutty wheat bread paired with an impossibly light whipped butter and balsamic with olive oil float. We tag team another perennial fave that we are equally powerless to ignore; the venue’s legendary F.F.C. (Fiddlesticks Fried Chicken), a perfect union of crunchy exterior and succulent chicken atop a feisty green tomato chutney and served with a hot sauce-loaded dropper to add a thrilling piquant element.
We know we’re in for something special when Esther brings out a cross section tree slice as a trivet for our two-person 700g flank steak feast alongside two, thoughtfully-heated earthen plates – it’s these little touches that often elevate an exceptional dining experience into an unforgettable one. Having been sous vide before hitting the grill, the medium rare steak is like butter. The meaty hit has just the right amount of charring to deliver a knockout smoky note, while the addition of tangy tamarillo chutney completes the perfect package. We enjoy it between sips of Esther’s bang-on matching of a Kevin Judd Greywacke Marlborough Pinot Noir, with its wooded spice ably holding its own against the primo beef, which is served alongside a palate pleasing round up of duck fat cabbage laced with rosemary, the earthy sweetness of honey-glazed carrots, and a ridiculously addictive truffle mash. It also comes with two sides; we opt for the vegetables (Brussels sprout fried with almonds) and the decadent golden crunch of some next-level duck fat roast rosemary potatoes.
Fiddlestick’s classics effortlessly seduce when it comes to our dessert selection; the Salted Caramel Delice is widely considered one of the city’s finest in the salted caramel stakes and for good reason – its passionfruit sorbet’s acid profile provides the perfect counter to the salty sweet symphony that fires up our taste buds. It’s joined by a (literally) cracking white chocolate brulee and the honeyed notes of an appropriately-titled Pegasus Bay ‘Finale’ Nobel Semillon as we purposefully draw out the moment.
Fiddlesticks Restaurant & Bar
48 Worcester Boulevard
03 365 0533