The local pub goes gastro: Scarlett Slimms & Lucky in Mount Eden

[gallery ids="4304,4307,4305,4308,4303,4309,4310,4306,4311"] Words and photography by Lauren Matilda Matthews from The Kitchen Collective Newly minted with a complete and ultimate transformation, The Eden Cloak Room is now home to crime novel inspired gastro pub, Scarlett Slimms and Lucky. It’s an ode to mid nineties glamour, its name highlighting the two characters from which the concept was born. Owners, Darren Toley, Kirsten Dovey and Richard Witten have owned the previous inhabitant for close to eight years, but want to shift the premise from rowdy local pub to refined bar and eatery. And they’ve certainly nailed the transition on the head. The inviting courtyard is dotted with tables and bar leaners, underneath countless hanging plants and a large neon sign announcing that you have indeed entered Scarlett Slimms and Lucky. You’ll be welcomed by the incredibly charming Adam Burgess (ex MooChowChow and Blue Breeze Inn) and the equally delightful Poni Sula (formerly Monsoon Poon and The Matterhorn). Slick white tiles are decorated with treasures from decades past, and the open kitchen gives you a glimpse into the action behind the scenes. The menus are designed to resemble comic books, cleverly painting the picture of a captivating story. Chapter one reads extremely well with a number of enticing shared plates. We opted for the Haloumi stack. Perfectly grilled cheese layered with sweet eggplant is contrasted with the crunch and sweetness of hazelnut praline, and a welcoming acidic note thanks to the accompanying tomato pulp. The calamari is incredibly tender due to a kiwifruit marinade, teamed with spicy New Zealand made chorizo and cooling mango - it effortlessly awakened all senses. But the chicken nibbles were a complete standout - melt-in-your-mouth satay flavoured wings that took me back to my childhood. But this bowl is grown up with the addition of chilli oil, sesame seeds, cucumber and crunchy peanuts – an absolute winner. Leaving the first chapter behind has me in high anticipation at what the second chapter with unveil. And I’m not disappointed. The pork loin is juicy, and served on a bed of Puttanesca sauce (also known as Slut’s sauce, not that I would know anything about that), a classic Italian dish of hearty flavours - tomato, olives, parsley and parmesan, finished off with crisp sage leaves. The fish and chips were too tempting to pass up. A classic mix of beer battered fish, with the modern addition of a deep fried soft shelled crab and fresh pea tartar. It didn’t disappoint. I must also tell you they do breakfast during the weekend. I already know what I’m ordering come Saturday: The whitebait omelette is paired with house made hash browns and creamed spinach, which I also think will go down a treat with ‘the hangover cure’ – a Bloody Mary and oyster shot garnished with celery cress. I’m almost tempted to ensure I have a big one Friday to give this clever menu addition justice. And like all good bars, they have a hefty selection of quality drinks. I was particularly taken with the homemade Shrubs. A homemade concoction of macerated fruit, spliced with vinegar, sugar and spices. I sampled one with black doris plums, star anise and cassia bark, doused with gin and finished with a dash of soda. All in all, I wouldn’t be surprised if locals were a tad disappointed when their trusty pub closed its doors. But there is no denying that change sometimes, and in this case, most definitely, is a good thing. 'Like' them here on Facebook for all the latest news and updates.