Gilt Brasserie is an elegant, light-filled space dotted with cream pillars and anchored with dark wood.

It's from Josh and Helen Emett, who also have Onslow in the CBD, and The Oyster Inn on Waiheke Island.

Like Josh’s style of cooking – and that of executive chef Glen File – Gilt melds timeless touches with contemporary execution. The 130-seater is designed to be a reliable favourite for all-day dining à la European bistro-style New York institutions such as Balthazar, The Odeon and Pastis.

Find it on the corner of Chancery and O’Connell streets, in the century-old Chancery Chambers building. A top local contingent worked on the space – including architecture, interior and object design studio Knight Associates, with the build completed by Made By and art curated by Salome Advisory. Leather-topped tables, matte velvet seating and bespoke Simon Ogden carpet crafted by Dilana all add luxurious, tactile touches to the space.

The all-day menu has a classic through line interspersed with clever, fresh flavours and a refreshing number of lighter, vegetable-forward dishes compared to what you’d usually expect from a brasserie. Yes, you can get steak and duck frites, and there’s a whole section dedicated to potato, but other hits are Gilt’s take on the Cobb salad and a tomato schnitzel that sees fresh heirloom tomatoes sliced, crumbed and fried, then served with a tomato and butter emulsion and herbs.

Mix and match for balance throughout the meal – heavier proteins with freshness from the raw section.

Must-try dishes are the baked oysters with buttered leeks, beurre noisette and pickles; and Sicilian crudo with tuna, salmon, kingfish, salted capers, lemon and olive oil. The crudo's varying types of fish add variety to the plate. Wagyu beef tongue with salsa verde and oregano is a clever take on charcuterie, and king crab pappardelle ricce with brandy bisque, crème fraîche and Italian parsley is deeply flavourful yet light.

You might order Rum baba with vanilla Chantilly cream and candied orange for dessert – and you'd be happy you did. You might look at the sponge in this dessert and expect it to be heavy and dense – but it’s incredibly light and airy, smothered in thick, vanilla-spiked cream and rum syrup.

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Updated: October 21st, 2023

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