Gerome is a Greek inspired restaurant on Parnell Road. I first went there three years ago after seeing some impressive images in my social media feed. However, it was the entire experience I had that night that has kept me coming back. I say Gerome is ‘Greek inspired’ because it is not a traditional ethnic Greek restaurant. The team behind Gerome are very open about that. They have taken the fundamentals of Greek cooking and fashioned them with a contemporary edge.
While the residents of Parnell are slowly easing into their day, the crew at Gerome are firing up the traditional charcoal barbecue in the kitchen, preparing the smoky flavours and receiving the fresh ingredients delivered daily. Greek cuisine celebrates local seasonal produce and that comes through in their menu. Everything is made from scratch, beautifully plated and bursting with colour. Most of their ingredients are sourced locally, but there are a few Greek fundamentals that are simply irreplaceable. They undoubtedly produce the best Olive Oil, so their Kalamata Extra Virgin Olive Oil, along with Greek Oregano, Kefalograviera cheese, Tarama Roe and a few others are sourced from its origin.
In true Greek fashion, the menu is designed to be shared. While this style of eating is relatively new to kiwis, it’s the only way the Greek know how, and I love it. The portion sizes are decent so don’t let the title ‘small dish’ fool you. I went last week with a girlfriend and we ordered four sides and a main and we most reluctantly had to leave some on our plates.
Kefalograviera: One of the most popular Greek cheeses, it is nutty and salty in flavour and fried to give a crispy shell with a chewy inside. Served with peppered figs and honey it’s a nice balance of salty and sweet. If you are a cheese lover like me, then this is your dish.
Roasted Cauliflower: Thick steaks of cauli drizzled with a sour cream vinaigrette and swirls of pomegranate reduction topped with capers and fresh pomegranate. I had this the first time I visited Gerome and have ordered it ever since. The cauli is cooked perfectly, crunchy on the inside and softly fried on the outside. For a somewhat bland vegetable, the carefully selected flavours to dress it up, are superb.
Barbecued Chicken: A crispy, chargrilled thigh of smokey chicken, skin on, on a serving of a spanakorizo of seasonal greens and kefalotyri. Spanakorizo is a creamy, green rice dish similar to a risotto, but in my opinion better!
Crete Greek Salad: The best Greek salad I’ve had was in a little Greek restaurant in Singapore (of all places). It was simple and fresh with a full slab of feta, the national cheese of Greece, sitting on top. I hadn’t seen this done in New Zealand so was thrilled to see Gerome had taken a similar approach to their dish. The feta is ready to be broken over the fresh chunks of crisp cucumber, capers, olives, cherry tomatoes, pickled radish and red onion.
Galaktoboureko: A traditional Greek dessert made with semolina custard baked in filo. Gerome jazz it up with a scoop of raspberry sorbet and drizzled with a saffron syrup.
Their concept of modern Greek isn’t limited to their dishes. The owners have integrated it across their interiors and created a glamourous and intimate Hollywood styled space. Dark ocean blue velvet booths fill the room, with brass fixtures and a bar that’s positioned as a center piece to the restaurant, an alternative seating option for a more relaxed dinner. The space is flooded with natural light that beams through the high stud windows, making it a lovely lunch time spot too. Upstairs seats an additional 100 people with a second bar and an outdoor terrace, a great space for a group dinner or event.
Hours: Monday to Sunday, 11:30am till late
Address: 269 Parnell Road, Parnell