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127 Picton Street,

(09) 533 0081

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Review byCandice Reed20/02/2010
My phone beeps just as I’m parking the car in Moore Street, Howick. I’m a few minutes late and my friends are letting me know they have a table already, towards the back of the restaurant end of Basalt.

I spot them easily and wave as I walk in to let the three waitress staff milling around the kitchen service area know I don’t need to be shown to my seat.

Basalt is a favourite with the locals in Howick. It is right on the corner of Picton Street (Howick’s ‘main street’) and Moore Street and has been designed so patrons can easily move between the mezzanine bar area and the restaurant part, but both areas create their own ambience so you don’t feel like you are eating in a bar or drinking in a restaurant.

Much of the inside shows exposed brick and there is a distinct “settler’s heritage” feel to Basalt which is exactly what business partners John Hellebrekers and Gavin Cowell were aiming for with this Monteith’s bar.

I was meeting my friends for brunch, so was disappointed I would have to skip the Basalt speciality stone grill, where meat, fish or chicken is cooked right at your table on a hot volcanic stone plate.

And it was probably too early for a cocktail too. Next time ...

Instead my friends and I ordered pots of tea ($4 each) and a trim mocha ($4.60). We devoted the next quarter of an hour to a solid gossip, having to send the waitress away twice – once because we needed milk with our teas and once because we still weren’t ready to order - before we even looked at the menu. I immediately settled for creamy mushrooms on ciabatta ($15.50), while the others differed between French toast ($16.10) and eggs Benedict with salmon ($17.90).

Service was friendly and efficient from the young staff who coped with growing crowds with ease. Since it was still early in the day most of the other patrons were families or middle aged couples, but I know from previous experience at the Basalt bar the average age of the patrons grows younger and younger as the night grows darker and darker.

The Basalt restaurant is also a favourite with local businessmen and women on long lunches with each other or clients. Basalt seems to cater seamlessly for all and sundry throughout its long day with daily events such as parmigiana Monday, sweet tooth Thursday and cocktail Thursday designed to bring in a particular crowd.

Our meals were tasty and to standard us young professionals have come to expect from any trendy cafe and restaurant offering cooked brunch options.

By the time we left it had changed from late morning to early afternoon and already the type of patron was changing with it. More young males were congregating for a beer and the families with toddlers were leaving with us. The outside seating area was filling up and the clink of wine glasses over the clink of cups and saucers was becoming more apparent.

Basalt certainly has the art of flexibility and should tick whatever box you are looking for.
Basalt has been reviewed by 7 users

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