Each year when the Viva Luxury issue rolls around I am forced to confront deep philosophical questions about the nature of life. Questions like what is luxury? Ought we to celebrate it? And isn’t the deepest sort of luxury having a healthy family, closely followed by buying one of the light fittings at Sharondelier?
Last year for this issue I flew to Marlborough for lunch at a waterfront pop-up restaurant. In 2015, I was at the Sidart chef’s table for what was then Auckland’s fanciest degustation, though these days Clooney may give them a run for their money. This year my wife said, “How about Cocoro?” and, although it’s not the most expensive or opulent meal in town, I immediately knew what she meant. There is something unmistakably “splendifulent” about walking along this quiet residential street then opening the door to a beautiful Japanese restaurant staffed by crisply dressed, crisply spoken wait staff, who act as if they’ve been waiting since birth for you to arrive.
A couple of weeks ago, I remarked in a review of a Kingsland place that it was the fifth occupant of its premises in the past decade. It is, of course, far from alone in being a site of furious turnover. Life in the restaurant business can be precarious and, making matters worse, places flourish that deserve to fail and vice versa.
So it was a pleasure to hear that this Japanese place had reached the grand old age of 6 - and, what's more, that founding chef Makoto Tokuyama is still in charge. Tucked down in the Brown St dip, between Ponsonby Rd and Richmond Rd, Cocoro impressed when it opened and its sixth anniversary special offer (the degustation at 2008 prices), made a return a no-brainer.