Paris Butter has been nestled on the Jervois strip for a little over four years now. Having lived in Herne Bay for the past six, I was surprised I hadn’t heard of it before. It deserves to be heard. It first opened as a traditional French bistro, serving 150 tables a night. Slowly evolving its food and style, it is today, a sophisticated fine-dining French-inspired restaurant with an intimate 50 table service.
The French influence is current and authentic, taken from Le Petit Leon, its sister restaurant located in a relaxed summer garden setting in the south of France. Owner and chef Nick Honeyman spends the European summer season there, bringing back fresh inspiration to create the new summer menu for Paris Butter.
Paris Butter weaves French cooking techniques with unique New Zealand produce. The menu isn’t changed seasonally; instead, dishes are added to the menu as new creations are born. On Saturday nights, the whole team comes together, kitchen and floor, and with creative freedom, they produce a selection of new dishes or cocktails otherwise known as projects. If the dish or idea is good enough it will make it onto the menu for their Test Kitchen Tuesday – a $110 set menu which lists the potential new additions. Diners are encouraged to share their feedback, which is then used to refine the dishes before moving from potential to permanent on the menu.
Truffle Butter and Sourdough: as a truffle addict, I don’t say this lightly, this is the best truffle butter I have had. Incredibly moreish, it’s a dangerous starter, you don’t want to fill up on the bread, but it is that good it’s hard not to!
Oysters: fresh from Mahurangi Bay, drizzled with a spring onion oil and pickled shallots.
Potato Veloute: whipped, light potato soup with tsuyu foam (a soy sauce infused with kombu and mirin) to give it a slightly Japanese flavour, served in delicate little eggshells.
Macarons: a true testament to their innovative culinary skills. A Milo macaron with chicken liver parfait and sherry jelly. An unexpectedly gorgeous flavour combination.
Salmon Tart: Salmon tartare, kiwi onion dip, and smoked salmon roe. Served next to a seaweed croquette with white garlic.
Mille Feuille Mushrooms: braised shitakes, picked shitakes, confit oyster mushrooms with chawanmushi, black garlic, and parsley. Fried Jerusalem artichoke paper is a nod to the traditional puff pastry served on a traditional mille-feuille. Parmesan velouté is poured tableside. A rich earthy dish for mushroom lovers.
Wild Shot Venison Tartare: served with roasted beetroot, beetroot granita, beetroot jelly, and dressed in a massaman curry oil to add a slight spicey under note.
Kingfish Tartare: sour cream ice cream, pickled butternut, almonds, and cucumber, drizzled with a parsley and spring onion oil and covered with a fine butternut vail.
Quail: a delicate Quail leg is dusted with mushroom powder, with a ballentine made from the breast rolled in serrano ham served with smooth smoked mash, beetroot puree, pickled beetroot, black garlic, and kawakawa oil.
Fish: fresh poached snapper that fell away with the touch of a fork, served with a celeriac gratin, roasted carrots, pickled mussels, pickled daikon, a soy beurre blanc sauce, and white garlic.
Duck Breast: dry-aged for five days, bringing out a deeper rich flavour in the meat and a crispy light texture to the skin. It’s served with smoked potato, spring onion oil, charred onions, and a burnt onion puree.
Carrot Cake: found its way onto the menu when Nick’s wife made it for the kitchen staff one day, who, after one bite, agreed that it needed to be added to the menu exactly as is, complimenting it with a side of cream cheese ice cream and a light ginger custard.
Mandarin and Butternut Cheesecake: a bright and fragrant dish for the senses with a cream cheese foam, mandarin and butternut granita, ginger nut crumb, cream cheese ice cream topped with a sheet of meringue and dusted with freeze-dried pumpkin.
The Dairy Selection: Inspired by their local dairy, the team has created a selection of delicate kiwi treats featuring the bounty bar, miso whiskey bottles, and my favourite, a treat made to replicate the bottom of the trumpet – where all the best bits fall!
Snickers Bar: a chocolate delice, peanut butter parfait layered through the centre, covered in a mirror glaze. Served with peanut butter ice cream, peanut butter short bread and sherry gel.
Leaving nothing to waste, their cocktails use the same seasonal ingredients as used in their dishes.
Beetroot Margarita: With an abundance of beetroot on the menu, the team has put the traditional margarita to shame with their bright and bold version, that compliments the delicate dishes. An earthy and punchy nightcap for the ladies.
Old Fashion: bringing their interpretive approach to cuisine through their cocktails, their bourbon is infused with truffle over two months!
Paris Butter offers the elegant, European experience. With travel out the window for now, step through two doors on Jervois Rd and you’re pretty close to the south of France
Hours: Paris Butter is open for dinner Tuesday – Saturday, 5:30pm – late.
Address: 166 Jervois Road, Herne Bay