Brava Baduzzi- Auckland

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This little Italian gem, Baduzzi, in the Wynyard quarter in Auckland, is the creation of Michael Dearth and Benjamin Bayly of The Grove. I still haven’t made it to The Grove, and it’s been on my Auckland restaurant list for yonks, so I must get crackin’ and go there one day. Anyway back to Baduzzi.

The decor is uber cool and chic with a warm ambience. They have light brown, leather buttoned round booth tables, mixed in with standard tables and chairs with stunning lights. We were offered a table outside in the cold, under a covered canopy with heater. I don’t think so! So they moved us out the back, right beside the open kitchen. We were happy with this location and view. They seemed to have about 10-12 chefs on board, who were enjoying themselves and not phased by us goggling at them at all.

Their glass wine display cupboard at the back was amazing, as was the wine stored above the main bar. The selection of wines was great as was the service, which was very friendly, efficient and not imposing. We chose an Italian gutsy red and our friend had a token Peroni beer.

Our waitress knew her stuff and gave us great recommendations. We skipped the piccolo and the polpette (why did we do that?! Mamma mia) and went straight for the primi (pasta) and secondi (mains). I chose the schnapper with octopus, mussels and artichokes. It was absolutely delicious and was served in a stunning wee pan. The others had suckling pig with broccolini and the buttered maltagliati with duck and porcini ragu. They also have a good selection of steak sold by weight. I didn’t have food envy in the end, and silence reigned with a few oohs and ahs and then some sharing that took place. Lots of nods all round. Presentation was outstanding.

Baduzzi’s signature dish is their polpette, handmade meatballs, which I’m now going back to try. A selection of fiordland crayfish, wild deer or pork and fennel meatballs just sounds amazing. As is the selection of handmade pasta with beetroot tagliatelle, clam linguine, gnocchi or black squid ink risotto. They cater for the meat lovers and the vegetarians.

We just couldn’t resist dessert and decided to treat ourselves. Being me and always asking questions and wanting something different (me really?), I ordered an affogato off the menu. Response from the waitress was ‘of course’- naturalemente, no problemo. It arrived on a wee board with a shot of kahlua (of my choice), espresso and a scoop of delicious gelato. The others chose the cannoli which was served with some a wee violet, ricotta, citrus confit and melted chocolate chips. The portions were good sizes too.

They live up to their byline- Italian inspired food and wine. You don’t see your standard carbonara or bolognese on the menu, as it’s definitely just that one notch up from all that. Brava Baduzzi! Arriverderci.

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