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Cibo, Parnell, Auckland – Lunch review

Unassuming factory building, a former chocolate factory, hides Cibo (which is an Italian word for food) restaurant which lies within, a tree outside obscuring the name sign so we completely missed it!  Once found, the urban cool restaurant provides a pleasant, crisp dining room with private courtyard for al fresco dining.

Tuna with Risotto

Tuna with Risotto

Attentive, friendly yet professional staff inform you of all you need to know to make an informed menu choice, starters available as mains if you wish.  Careful consideration is required of the meal combinations, so a choice may take some time.  The service is so attentive when I made for the ladies room I heard “pisssst, pisssst” and wondered if it was my attention being sought, but it turned out the Maitre’d was alerting a waiter of my impending attempt to open a door and suddenly an arm appeared to get the door for me!  Nice and attentive, but a bit forced perhaps – I really wouldn’t have thought less of them because I had to open a door to the loo!  In fact, all it did was draw attention to the lack of intended attention, as it were!

Back to the food.  I do love seared tuna, so it was instantly my first choice, with a pepper and lime crust served with risotto.  The tuna was cooked to pink perfection, with the lime and pepper crust providing a lovely, zesty taste sensation.  The risotto was nice, but I couldn’t tell you what flavour it was!

Mamma ordered her steak well-done (I know, I know!) but it was still pink in the middle.  Whilst I am deeply disturbed by the thought of  a well-done steak (she is Italian, not American, too!) she does have a point that when you are paying $38 for a main the chef should cook your steak the way you want it.  I would say that the chef probably doesn’t want the steak coming back to the kitchen with an accompanying complaint that it is too dry and over-cooked, but Mamma insisted the chef should be capable of cooking steak to the customer’s order and I concede she has a point.

Broken Lemon Merengue Pie

Broken Lemon Merengue Pie

Dessert of Broken Lemon Meringue Pie was interesting, I love meringues and lemon desserts but this was disappointing.  For a start I make nicer meringues!  They were so brittle I was fearful they would shoot across the plate and onto my neighbouring diner’s lap!  The lemon curd was lovely, lemony and sharp but the rest of the flavours and textures were bland and I don’t feel it really de-constructed a lemon meringue pie, more like destroyed it!

We all left feeling it was “nice…but…”  really it didn’t meet our anticipation or expectations.  The ambience is nice, the venue is nice, but we were there for the food! I feel that Cibo is a great place to dine if the bill is met by the company credit card, but if you are forking out of your own pocket maybe other restaurants are more deserving of your hard earned cash as Cibo, despite being named “Food”, offers style over substance.

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