ADDRESS:   280 Karangahape Rd, Auckland CBD
MAINS:   $19 – $100
CONTACT:   09 373 4778
SCORE:   18 / 20

Leslie Hottiaux and Ismo (Mo) Koski want to welcome us to their house. And we are more than happy to accept that invitation. Repeatedly. Why? Because, since they opened seven years ago, they’ve been doing something exceptionally special on Karangahape Road. It’s not just that they turn out traditional French-bistro food with a twist; the extra component lies in the easy, effortless atmosphere which embraces diners. Flying solo? Fine. A group? They’ll make room for you with an equal abundance of charm. Hottiaux is the chef while Koski manages the floor. She is famous for her sausages: try, do, her pork sausage served with pickles and mustard. But start as Apéro’s title intends, with an aperitif. You’re in the best hands under Koski’s guidance. A superb selection of drinks, as well as wines by the glass.

IN BRIEF: Good times, great food and glad tidings