Parnell isn’t exactly off the beaten track, but it has felt that way when considering options for a place to drink or grab a bite to eat. While fresh new joints seem to pop up every other day in places like Britomart and Ponsonby, Parnell’s gastronomic landscape has been stagnant for a while now and – in all honesty – a touch on the dull side. However over the last couple of weeks things have changed with the introduction of 46 & York.
Situated in a smart-looking brick building opposite Fraser Park this bar and bistro is single-handedly jazzing up Parnell’s gastropub scene. The bar space is compact but airy thanks to a series of large mirrors and loads of natural light flooding through the windows and skylight. The elegant interiors, by interior designer Virginia Fisher, are in timeless neutrals punctuated with luxe features that make it look and feel like a swish bar straight out of the Hampton’s. There’s some outdoor seating for those nice warm evenings and a second inside room and a wee covered outdoor area off that too.
On recommendation from the bartender we commenced the evening with cocktails, a Parnell Club – gin, lavender syrup, lemon juice, mint, egg white with a spiced mint garnish, ($17) and a Fraser Park – Sloe gin, Campari, Maraschino and pink grapefruit ($17). Both were stunning in an understated, refined way and served in a classic style saucer glass for maximum old school class.
The food here is a share-plate style, and the succinct menu is split into four sections: paddock, ocean, garden and sweet & cheese. We went for the sticky oxtail and Agria croquettes with parsley and garlic ($13.50), the smoky pulled pork tostada with pineapple salsa and coriander ($14), the kokoda (aka ceviche) with market fish, coconut, baby cos and sweet potato ($16) and the chilled prawns with house dip, lemon and Tabasco ($22). The two standouts were the kokoda, which was lovely and delicate, and the flavorsome pulled pork, perfectly contrasted with its crispy corn base and pineapple garnish. The croquettes also deserve a notable mention.
After such an enjoyable dinner it felt well worth it to dabble into the ‘sweet & cheese’ segment of the menu. We selected some donut bombs – which turned out to be six little donut balls, three of which were cinnamon sugar with a berry filing and the other three had a lemon curd filling and seemed to be rolled in splendid mix of icing sugar and sherbet. Yes, they definitely are as good as they sound.
46 & York have nailed quite a unique offer – an elegant, attractive space, classic good – actually great – service, and delicious well-presented drinks and fare. Tempting as it would have been, this joint is not trying to be industrial hipster, grungy chic or Scandinavian minimalist cool. It’s going for a refined, classic old school elegance which we reckon they have absolutely nailed. And it’s a perfect fit with Parnell, upmarket and classy without being snooty and inaccessible. Hoorah! Park-side cocktails anyone?