ADDRESS:   Corner Lower Hobson St and Customs St West, Viaduct Harbour, Auckland CBD
MAINS:   $20 – $48
CONTACT:   09 356 7249
SCORE:   16 / 20

When Judith Tabron sold this longstanding icon to Nourish Group, she ensured the legacy of strong cooking and excellent service. Executive chef Gavin Doyle’s menu has kept the classics, including the multiple oyster options. Salad dishes are extensive as befitting a Californian-styled ladies lunching menu. But it is the seafood that is the star here. Scampi cocktail with edamame, lime and jalapeño is elegant and sweetly flavoured. Roasted hāpuka is golden and succulent, and its accompanying cauliflower purée silken and rich. Large portions, reasonably priced wines and an extensive cellar list are appealing, yet it’s the seamless service that makes Soul shine. Friendly, engaging and casual while professional and knowledgeable is a hard balance to get just right.

IN BRIEF: Seafood-focussed viaduct icon with accomplished service