Ampersand is a hidden oasis. Tucked inside Ōrākei Bay Village the spacious restaurant is light-filled and has a relaxed atmosphere – perfect for when you’re dining with kids (as we often are!). As soon as we were seated colouring in and crayons immediately appeared for them, while my husband and I were taken through the wine list.
We are here to sample their new spring menu. Naturally, the kids just wanted burgers and fries which they got (and I can confirm tasted great!) We however, started with the house made bread and burnt butter, and then moved onto the delicious angel hair spaghetti with king prawns which was doused in a buttery chilli and lemon sauce. The highlight of the day though had to be the duck pie. And turns out, I’m not the only one who thinks so highly of it.
“My personal favourite has got to be the duck pie, it’s delicate, we balance the flavours with some pickles, and it punches above its weight in flavour,” says executive chef and co-owner Mikey Newlands.
Of the new menu he says guests are ‘definitely loving the sashimi with shiso and soy’. “It’s a lovely light yet balanced dish perfect for the warm weather.”
As we finished off our wine, the kids gobbled down an ice cream, we had a moment to sit and relax. We left full and extremely satisfied, and vowed to return. Until then, we’re lucky to have the below recipe from Mikey for freshly shucked oysters with spicy yuzu dressing which can be made at home. Enjoy!
Freshly shucked oysters with Spicy Yuzu Dressing
Ironically, oysters are better in the colder months, but nothing beats ice cold oysters and champagne by the water on a hot day. Yuzu Kosho is a fermented blend of yuzu zest, chill and salt and is available in small jars at Japanese supermarkets, a green hot sauce is a good alternative.
- Oysters, as many as you like
- 2 tsp Yuzu kosho
- 2 tsp lime (or lemon) juice
- 3 tbsp grapeseed oil (or other neutral oil that you prefer)
- 1 tsp light soy sauce
- 1 shallot, finely chopped
- 1 tsp chives, finely sliced
- Mix the yuzu kosho, lime juice, oil and soy together with a whisk. Taste, it should be a balance of sour, spicy and salty. Adjust as you like, maybe a pinch of sugar if you limes a particularly sour.
- Shuck your oysters, if you can, crush some ice and place on a platter, placing the oysters on top. Failing that, keep your oysters ice cold and shuck as your guests require.
- Add the shallots and chives to your dressing and serve on the side so guest can help themselves.
Note: if you can’t, or just can’t be bothered shucking your own oysters – just get them pre shucked from a supplier you trust.