For some time now, I’ve been championing the concept of Thirsty Thursday – or Thirstday, to save on syllables – and have been met with some resistance from my workmates. There is, however, a committed core crew, and this week, instead of our usual Shortland St haunt, we decide to head further afield (all in the name of blog research, of course).
At the risk of cramming too many animal references into one sentence, The Glass Goose is the newest horse in the Federal St stable (or bird in the aviary, if you will). Nestled upstairs, in the shade of the Sky Tower, the rooftop bar is “modeled off the idea of a glass house” and nails the indoor-outdoor flow concept. We perch up outside in the bar area, next to the DJ, rather than inside, where the vibe is decidedly more “restauranty”. Although it’s the middle of July, efficient outdoor heaters mean we’re toasty.
The wine list is long and, save for a few stray Australian reds, an exclusively New Zealand affair. We are more than content with our tried-and-true selections: Man O’ War Valhalla Chardonnay, Millton Chenin Blanc, and a Tiger for the non-wine drinker among us. There’s nothing out-of-the ordinary to be found – the choices are relatively mainstream – but all bases are covered. There is also a comprehensive cocktail list spanning two pages and featuring such gems as The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party, The Jaffa, and every Bachelor fan’s favourite, the espresso martini (yes, that’s two Bachelor references in the space of two posts).
Then, the food. The grazing menu is designed for sharing (a concept hard to avoid this day in age) and is sorted by size: small bites (single-lamb-cutlet-small), medium and large sharing plates, a couple of “boards”, and a selection of sides. There’s even a raw section, for those averse to food heated above 48 degrees Celsius.
Evidently less discriminating than some on the food-temperature front, we find it hard to go past a side dish of duck fat potato skins with garlic and rosemary. While suitably golden, I would have preferred them a little crispier (à la the equivalent offering next door at Depot). For the sake of chip-based completeness, we also sample the more exotic option of eggplant fries: long strips of aubergine, crusted in fennel-seedy mix, and served with pistachio-yoghurt dip (I, all class, manage to dribble this down my front). From the bites selection, we select the pulled pork slider and a portion of crumbed pork belly served with crunchy pancetta. These are decidedly one-person portions, not suitable for sharing, and for that I’m selfishly glad – the pork belly is my highlight of the evening. Another side dish – roasted Brussels sprouts with bacon and honey – competently fulfils the evening’s vegetable quota.
The dessert menu is waved under our noses, but we admirably, or some might say ashamedly, abstain. Even the tempting devil of a salted caramel whoopie pie does not sway us tonight. Next time, no doubt, we will succumb.
The staff are at first a little distracted, a little slow, but this can charitably be forgiven on the basis that they’re enjoying an unusually quiet Thursday night. According to my companions, who’ve been here before, the place is already proving very popular of a Friday evening. At any rate, the service warms up as soon as it becomes clear we’re needy and in want of food and attention.
Whether you’re riding out the inevitable wait for a table at one of the neighbouring “no reservations” eateries, in the mood for a casual drink, or seeking a commendable meal in its own right, The Glass Goose is a welcome and well-designed addition to the Federal St menagerie (sorry – couldn’t resist. Someone stop me).
78 Federal St, Auckland CBD
$105.50 for four wines, two bites, one medium sharing plate and two sides
Open 7 days, 11:30am – late