Walking through the front door, the most immediate change we noticed was the relocation of the elaborate sculpture that used to have pride of place in the centre of the restaurant, to its new home in the lobby. No casual feat as the artwork is by no means 'light'.
The previous incarnation of Sails featured elaborate draping above the windows, antique style furniture and a palette of deep reds and blacks, the gargantuan chandeliers reflected in mirrors around the room giving the illusion of depth.
The relaunch has seen those features removed in favour of a cleaner, more minimalist feel with a nod to the nautical setting (Sails is located at Westhaven Marina and overlooks the sea of masts and sails adorning the marina's vast array of yachts). Designed in partnership with the Littlejohn family (owners of Sails) with Leslie Elliot from Evolve Design to evoke a 'Hamptons Lodge' style design featuring constrasting wood hues, board and batten detailing and a clean white aesthetic in place of the drama of the former fitout.
The nautical theme is further apparent through the new sculpture taking centre stage, a wall-hung art piece fashioned from 120 metres of rope (which weighs 70kg and took two people to physically weave it) to match the new 'sailors knot' rope napkin rings.
Foodwise, we were nervous when we heard mention of a menu change with Sails having been our Director's favourite restaurant since she discovered it back in 2012 (the resturant though has been a favourite of diners since the early 1980s, we were just a little late to the game). The nerves were unfounded however as we were greeted with a delectable array of taster dishes to sample the new menu which still offers the diner favourites along with a few new additions including the most mouthwatering samples of prawns, scallops and duck that tantalised even the most seafood-resistant of diners in attendance. While predominantly seafood based, Sails still offers a variety of chicken, duck, beef, pork and vegetarian dishes to satisfy every diner's taste.
Sails has always been - to us, and to it's many regular diners - a place of opulence, of consistently exceptional service and perpetually incredible food - perfectly prepared and always immaculately presented. While the menu has changed slightly, one thing that will never change is the commitment to premium ingredients and to the ethos that the focus should be on complementing the inherent flavours of the food in its finest form.
While Sails has always offered itself as a wedding venue, the new fitout allows for a dedicated bar area with room for a band which should encourage the newly engaged to consider this amazing venue for their wedding reception. Not only are you assured the very best in dining and an already elaborate venue space, but also the assurance of impeccable, consistent service for 100 to 120 people, right here in Auckland, far from the madding crowds and with its own dedicated free parking mere moments from downtown.
Let Harlow Garland and Sails work with you to create a wedding reception you'll never forget!