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“GOOD, BUT NOT A SURE BET”
Review of Gerome Restaurant

Gerome Restaurant
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Ranked #4 of 1,977 Restaurants in Auckland Central
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $6 - $46
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Restaurant details
Neighbourhood: Parnell
Description: Our philosophy is that food is reflective of many elements - a way of thinking, a view into someone's culture and the nostalgia of one's upbringing. The food at 'gerome' is indicative of this - approachable yet contemporary. Join us on a unique culinary journey...
Reviewed 9 March 2024

There is a new kid on the block, or, to be precise, a new groovy adult. Gerome - a modern Greek restaurant - has risen to the upper echelons of the city's cool-casual phalanx quite swiftly, and its exciting exotic menu enticed me to think this might be a lustier bet than the fine-dining disappointments. 

By night, a tree outside the restaurant festooned with white fairy-lights marks out the joint along the long linear stretch of Parnell Road. The place is double height and the interior structure does not lose this seating opportunity with an upper duplex floor jutting above the ground floor's centrally located bar and coffee station. The interior design is better downstairs with accents of blue velvet, gray and light tones creating a reasonably upmarket ambience while a large orange-brown circular booth straddles the foyer. Like many other Parnell buildings, Gerome, deceptively, may not look very commodious from the outside but its multiple seating zones over two levels disclose admirable real estate. The kitchen rises to the voluminous challenge by steadily banging out well-composed plates. 

The menu with a good deal of Greek wordage shows the rest of Auckland how to buff up your appetizer section - no less than a dozen appetizers beckon, with decent vegetarian selections although the vegetarians will feel mostly left out in the main courses. A 3 course meal here costs approx $ 80 per person, with starters in 20s and mains around $40.

There is a full drinks menu complete with fetching cocktails like Santorini Summer, Yamas Karpouzi (watermelon gin, pineapple), mango chili margarita and rosewater daiquiri. Skip the 'Athena' - its anise seduction is a downer. Service is competent but completely shorn of personality, charm or managerial hospitality. 

A rather unique dish is Kefalograviera, peppered figs, northland honey which sports admirable richness of flavour when done right. Laid out and cut like a pizza slice, this roasted slab of sheep and goat's milk cheese had a halloumi-like steakiness, the creamy roast cut by the richness of candied flicks of fig, and a delicious dark sauce.

Harissa rubbed chicken skewers with potato skordalia presents chunks of chicken soft and lushly flavored with the robust spice-'n'-chilli blend that is harissa, with two hearty skewers amounting to quite a toothsome mouthful. What lay underneath was potato skordalia - mashed potato that was next level buttery smooth and could well have been Joel Robuchon progeny (2.5 pounds butter to 1 pound potato).

Barbecued eggplant was smoky, tender and complex in flavour - this hit all the notes that very few other vegetables, if any, can generate and thus admirably fulfilled the ambition of the dish. Almond gremolata and raisins accessorized it in a smart contrast of taste and texture. Sifnos corn keftedes were deep fried plump cutlets of mashed corn, technically competent, if a little quiet in flavour. Attractively presented Kataifi Prawns, and "Dolmades" - vine leaves wrapped around spiced rice with labne and feta - both missed the flavour mark.

Chargrilled Squid was emblematic of how Gerome can soar when it plans and executes a restaurant-level dish spot-on. No little rings here, the cheffing knife was deployed to lush precise effect in carving out a generous fold of squid meat, presented like a rectangular fold of omelette. The high quality seafood was tender and the grilling accentuated its delicate flavour.  

Staff, to be sure, do a solid job of ferrying the dishes and getting your drinks but if you expect anything outrageously fancy like service personality or charm, you won't find it here. A patron had mentioned in her review of being put off by a gaggle of staff happily chatting near her, and I could confirm similar convivial confab at the end of the first evening - the social sparkle directed well away from you, lest you get disturbed.

In the mains, Roasted Cauliflower was visually striking, the florets blanketed in swirls-'n'-swathes of a sour cream vinaigrette, pearled by pomegranate and capers. Alas the flavoring of the roasted cauliflower was weak, and the sauce did not have enough punch to carry the dish through. A large fillet of snapper, though cooked well, tasted mediocre, paired wanly with bulgur. This plate featured a silken smooth pumpkin skordalia (mashed pumpkin) whose buttery finery was splayed out in a magnificent yellow scarf that dominated half the plate and flung the hapless snapper completely out of the water.

The chicken main had succulent meat, its smoky flavour spot-on from the barbecue, but with niggardly portions. The pairing was not only uninspired but also restricted to a single preparation - a little green sea of 'spanakorizo', similar to risotto but with rice grains that were distinctly undercooked (not even al dente). It took four main courses before I finally found one that satisfied (none wowed, in contrast to some of the appetizers). Squid ink spanakorizo (similar to risotto) was competently cooked, densely flavored with the salt-forward flavour of squid ink, with prawn, squid and octopus all smartly roasted to get a bit more flavour.

First two desserts soared ! Lokoumades - Greek doughnuts veiled in a light caramel drape - were soft and fresh, potently bathing in a Nutella sauce and perfectly accessorized with superb coffee ice cream whose espresso notes cast a long lasso with cream and sugar. "Portokalobaba" - orange cake soaked in syrup with a spoonful of vanilla cream drowned me in a wonderland of dulcet pleasure, like a big sweet kiss that you remember forever. An emulsion of northland honey, light in texture, but enveloping in sweetness, had been deployed to gloriously moisten the empyrean cake.

Galaktoboureko (semolina custard phyllo cake) was gently scented, a concoction a little more robust than a panacotta, paired with black doris plum ice cream - a perfectly pleasant dessert that did not match the heights of its predecessors. The law of diminishing returns wanly slid in with rolled baklava crowned with citrus accents of a gooseberry compote - nice but more bakery than booming bistro. 

Underwhelming main courses and pleasant but perfectly average service shorn of any charm or personality cut short Gerome's excellent potential, even as some superb appetizers and desserts disclosed initial promise. This is still a solid addition to the restaurant scene of Parnell Road  - one of the most vibrant dining districts in all of New Zealand. 3 Stars/5 (Good) Upnworld

Date of visit: August 2023
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
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    • Food
Thank EarnesTaster
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviews (563)
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21 - 25 of 563 reviews

Reviewed 9 March 2024

We really enjoyed our visit to your establishment!!! Service, attitude, food, drinks was all really very good!!! Will definitely recommend this to anybody!!!

Date of visit: March 2024
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Review collected in partnership with www.restauranthub.co.nz
Thank anita_toma1969
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 9 March 2024 via mobile

The food did not live up to my expectations. Their service was great, and visually, the food looked appealing. We ordered the fried shrimp small plate and it was quite dry. The sauce (or whatever it was) did not complement the shrimp in any way. We also got the chargrilled squid at the servers recommendation... I only took one bite. Yuck! The lamb shoulder big plate was the highlight of the meal. I would still prefer more bold flavors, but this one was acceptable in my opinion. My brothers ribeye steak was undercooked and had zero seasoning . Overall, I felt that the food was missing flavor and fell short of presentation. Also, I do not really see or taste their supposed greek influence....

Date of visit: March 2024
1  Thank dlshepherd40
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 8 March 2024

Had dinner last night for my birthday, was recommended by a friend. Loved it!! Great seating options, including booths, the food was delicious and varied, service excellent. Can’t wait to go again!

Date of visit: March 2024
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Review collected in partnership with www.restauranthub.co.nz
Thank TracyStaf
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
Reviewed 7 March 2024

Haven’t been for a while but nice to return. As always the food is delicious, the lamb shoulder is sublime. Service was excellent and staff very friendly, especially our lovely waitress on her first night on the job.
Atmosphere stylish and comfortable, particularly upstairs.
We will, of course, return again.

Date of visit: March 2024
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Review collected in partnership with www.restauranthub.co.nz
Thank robal2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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