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Saturday 10 October 2009


Sure to Rise

30th November 2008

SOTO Japanese Garden Restaurant

Posted by: Campbell

A mild Thursday night and an eagerness to catch up with my American friends seemed like a fine reason to venture to Soto Japanese Garden Restaurant for a little Asian Cuisine.

Soto was previously the iconinc Pluson for a good number of years and way way prior to that was the original Ponsonby Fire Station. Today it is refreshing contemporary space which is both comfortable and elegant with a delightful Asian influence. I was very interested to see why Metro voted Soto “SUPREME WINNER 2008″ Asian Restaurant , in their recent awards and as my evening unfolded I could certainly see why.

We had a pleasant and genuine welcome from the staff and were seated at a table to the side of the restaurant. We were presented with Menus and guided through those by our Waiter. He kindly suggested the Tenshin Set Menus as there were three large groups  in at the same time and we could experience delays. Very nice of him and YES…Soto was nice and busy on a Thursday night at 7pm.There is a full ala carte menu available and that is very extensive and the Wine List is an impressive and thoughtful  list.

Mr and Mrs America opted for the “Vegetarian” Menu at $47 and I decided on the “Taste of Everything” at $50.

These fantastic menus were like gorgeous little Degustation Menus with a variety of small and beautifully presented dished coming from the Kitchen. Not only were the items stunning but all served on quirky and modern little bowls, plates and dishes adding to the visual impact.

A couple of stand outs for the American ” Democrats” were the Filo wrapped zucchini with nori and tomato sauce, the Teriyaki Tofu and the Marinated Organic Tofu. On my side of the table the Sushi and Sasimi was just superb as was the Tempura Veges with Prawn and Market Fish. The Fillet of Pork”Kushiage” Skewer was just fantastic and so beautifully presented.

Eating this kind of menu can feel a little deceiving as the food just keeps coming. You actually feel like you are eating a whole lot more but in fact, due to the size of the dishes, you are really eating a lot of very small and delectable portions.

The ambience in the Dining Room was pleasant, well lit, warm but not stuffy and had very gentle background music. Mind you, like any Restaurant, as the evening progresses and the large group have a few more Asahi and Sake it is a little challenging to hear your Dining companions.

Value wise the final bill came to $178 which included the three set menus, two Ginger Beers, two Japanese Beers and a beautiful glass of Vavsour Pinot Noir.Great value!

So, in at 7pm and out at 8.30, Yes the table was rebooked for 8.30 which I was politely told when making my reservation, we wandered out chatting about the next possible time we could return.

SOTO Japanese Garden Restaurant
13 St Marys Road. Ponsonby. Auckland 09 360 0021

Tags: Asian

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