It was a day of celebrations at our newly opened Auckland gallery, as we invited press and customers to make themselves at home in the new space at the Dawson & Co showroom.

The morning started with an English-style breakfast of crumpets and tea with the press, while later the gallery opened its huge barn-style doors to welcome 30 VIP customers for a wine-paired five-course meal and some equally superb company.

Housed in a stunning 1940s building at the historic Strand in Parnell, the new gallery is our second partnership with the Dawson family following the North Shore gallery which opened last year. Inside the 175 square metre space, one of our vintage Yellow Submarines – acquired from the British Royal Navy  – hangs playfully from mauri rafters, while two of the original concrete pillars have been transformed into Timothy Oulton’s highest ever Pillars of Knowledge – each around 5 metres high and stacked with vintage books from around the world.

As the crowd arrived to discover the dramatic new space, glasses of Veuve Cliquot were sipped and introductions made. Honorary host Jude Leach, Global Training & Development Manager for Timothy Oulton, gave everyone a warm English welcome and bestowed us with her passion and expert knowledge. Jude has been working with Tim for many years and is regarded as a bit of a guru on everything from design inspiration to the meticulous details of craftsmanship.

A fun formal dinner party setting was brought to life with rustic Axel dining tables and gently flared Mimi dining chairs, promising a comfortable seat all night long. Napkins were printed with the formidable face of Sir Winston Churchill to lend a quintessentially British flavour to the meal while trophies filled with fresh red roses stood graciously atop piles of classic books. Vintage plates sat polished and more rose petals were scattered amongst flickering tealights.

Scott Fisk from Dawsons raised a hearty toast and everyone tucked into the mouth-watering feast prepared by Chef Jono. After the first 3 delectable courses of scallops, blue cod and poached quail, a succulent roast beef filet and mushroom pie was served with a 2014 Michelle pinot noir, with its dark cherry and smoky oak flavours perfectly matched with the rich, tender meat.

As guests continued to swap stories, the mood relaxed even more and appetites were happily satiated with yet another delicious course – this time it was Valhrona chocolate tart with fresh strawberries and cream. The dessert wine pairing was the Lochiel Estate “The Laird”, a ripe Malbec fermented in the style of a vintage Port and then aged in American Oak barriques for a naturally sweet flavour.

The party continued until a little after 1am when we waved our last guests farewell after an effortlessly enjoyable evening among friends, just the way it should be. Until the next time…