The Cellar, Sofitel Auckland

I started a new job as editor of a trade publication this week, and I'm also gearing up for my WSET Level 3 exams this weekend, which means the blog will have to take a backseat until my life settles down a little.

The Cellar
However, I wanted to quickly post about a new venue that I had the pleasure of being introduced to last week. The Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour has recently launched an exclusive, intimate French-inspired venue - The Cellar; and I was one of a lucky few introduced to this wonderful, rustic new space over an exquisite lunch prepared by Chef Sebastian Hindrichs from Germany, who’s recently taken the helm as Executive Chef following seven years heading up the kitchen at the renowned French Cafe Restaurant.

The Cellar features a hand-picked ‘library’ of French and New Zealand wines, alongside the hotel’s signature charcuterie boards and cheese platters.

I thoroughly enjoyed my three-course lunch, starting with the Ora King Salmon with ginger, cucumber, radish, avocado and caviar, which was exquisitely prepared and melt-in-your-mouth delicious, bursting with fresh, mouthwatering flavours with every bite. This was paired with the Brancott Letter Series 'B' Chardonnay, a lovely, elegant wine with plenty of acidity and subtle peach and apricot flavours with a hint of smokiness that went wonderfully with my fish.

For my main course, I had the Hawkes Bay Lamb with smoked potato, melted leeks, shallots and black truffle. This was another wonderful creation. The lamb was tender and juicy, oozing rich, savoury flavour with every mouthful, and quite possibly the best lamb dish I've ever had! This was paired with the Dourthe No 1 Cabernet Sauvignon, a rich, complex and structured Bordeaux with plenty of black fruit and oak characteristic that stood up well to the play of textures and strong flavours on my dish.

For dessert, I chose the Creme Caramel with poached rhubarb, ginger, crumble and frozen yoghurt, the perfect end to a faultless lunch. The frozen yoghurt was delightful and refreshing, the creme caramel was smooth, creamy and rich, and the rhubarbs added a lovely fruitiness and acidity to the dish. Another winner as far as I'm concerned!

Unfortunately, The Cellar is currently available for bespoke events only such as wine tasting and private dinner events. However, the wonderful dishes that sent the foodie in me to gastronomic heaven is available at the hotel's signature restaurant, Lava Dining, for those of you who'd like to have a taste of Chef's Sebastian's genius in the kitchen.

Wouter de Graaf, General Manager of The Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour and yours truly
Executive Chef Sebastian Hindrichs
As part of The Cellar’s select wine offering, guests will also have the opportunity to embark on wine journeys with the Sofitel wine flights. Each flight is composed of a tasting of five wines accompanied by the Sofitel bread ritual and artisan olive oil. For lovers of champagne, an exclusive champagne flight is also available with Softel’s sommelier, ready to take guests on a journey through the origins, history and varieties of champagne.

For more details, contact the team on +64 (9) 354 7455 or visit


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