Britomart is home to some of the best bars and restaurants in Auckland, and Alma is a highlight. We’d expect nothing less from the people who set up Amano, The Store and Ortolana (all since sold): executive chef Jo Pearson and general manager Natasha Parkinson.
Their warm, polished restaurant is inspired by the flavours and history of Andalusia in southernmost Spain. Its interiors are lined with tiles, marble, concrete, exposed bricks and wood.
The kitchen is backed by a large open wood fire, which imparts that all-important charred flavour to most of the menu. Andalusian cuisine blends Spanish and Moorish influences; Alma embraces the latter with dishes such as pork pinchitos (kebab-like skewers), the Moroccan eggplant and tomato dish zaalouk, and chicken with harissa and ajo blanco (white gazpacho).
The menu is divided into snacks (beginning with a famous Gilda pintxos), vegetables, then meat dishes. The anchovy and tomato tostada is a signature, as is the empanada that’s served here as a queso fresco and rosemary-filled flatbread, blistered, topped with honey and cut into pieces.
To drink, the wine list spans Spanish bottles and New Zealand-grown Spanish varietals, as well as a good selection of vermouths and sherries, and a lengthy dedicated gin list. Seeing as Alma opens from 11am daily, there’s a sensible non-alcoholic selection including horchata and several teas, and house-made sodas with the likes of cucumber and mint or rhubarb and lemon myrtle.
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