Forest

Restaurants key icon.
Restaurants key icon.

MondayClosed.

TuesdayClosed.

Wednesday5:00 – 10:00 pm.

Thursday5:00 – 10:00 pm.

Friday5:00 – 10:00 pm.

Saturday5:00 – 10:00 pm.

SundayClosed.

243 Dominion Road, Mount Eden, Auckland

0210 901 3352

Forest may be one of Auckland’s only semi-formal vegetarian restaurants, but owner and chef Plabita Florence hopes it is so much more than that. It’s an opportunity to experiment with flavour, to push the boundaries of ingredients in a way that is unpretentious, child-like and curiosity-fueled: think Willy Wonka meets backyard weeds. As a result, Plabita hopes that over time peoples’ perception of vegetarian food can be broadened as they taste delicious food served in new and innovative ways. 

Stemming from a pop-up that originated in 2018, Forest‘s name is rooted in the wild food foraged for the restaurant and in recognition that, as humans, we essentially live in a food forest - we’re just limited by our own creativity. If it’s possible to make sherbet out of potato skin, make flowers taste like grapes and turn beetroot leaves into matcha (as the team at Forest do regularly), then it’s much easier to eat in abundance whilst minimising waste and to source local ingredients. As a result, the menu is based on seasonality and changes regularly.

One of the most popular staple dishes on the menu is the purple kūmara, and for good reason. The sweet kūmara is punctuated by pops of tangy peas, marinated in caper brine, smothered in a decadent marmite cream and doused in aromatic rosemary oil and smoked paprika. The flavour combination hits every corner of your mouth, and it is easy to see why people order it time and time again. 

Two of the side dishes that are hard to move past are one: the seaweed-dusted fries and two: the Florets oat sourdough served with old wine butter. The butter is made with the week’s unsold wine, reduced into a sticky syrup and whipped through salted butter. The former is made from nori powdered with leftover, dehydrated solids from homemade broths and sauces and sprinkled over fries, served alongside a ‘toasted chilli goop’ - essentially a mayo made with smoky chilli oil that is gently burned to give a toasty character. 

Forest is an intimate space, a cosy environment. Its inventive dishes are accompanied by a well-stocked drinks menu, and you can be sure you’ll always be greeted with a smile. And to top it off, any experience at Forest is an adventure for the taste buds, for meat-eaters and herbivores alike.

Words by Nicole Mudgway & Photography by Jerome Warburton

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Location

243 Dominion Road, Mount Eden, Auckland

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