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11 to 15.5/20

IMG_3819 IMG_3810 IMG_3827 IMG_3815 IMG_3821 IMG_3831 IMG_3829 IMG_3812 IMG_3795 IMG_3808 IMG_3834 IMG_3835 IMG_3841 IMG_3839 IMG_3843 IMG_3848 IMG_3833Saying the Eastern Suburbs are lacking in good eateries is an understatement, we are almost in the endangered specie situation. Charlie & George is in the Stonefields neighbourhood. I hate to say but the surroundings are pretty gloomy, the houses all look the same, there is a LiquorKing, a Speight’s bar, a Yoga place, a SuperValue store [coming soon] and that’s about it. Thankfully Charlie & George is bright and colourful and reasonably busy which gives the area a bit more ‘life’. Now the banoffee smoothie ($7.50) is highly raved about and rightfully so. The berry smoothie ($7.50) not as exciting. We enjoyed the Soup of the Day (chicken and corn, $12) as well as the Eggs Benedict ($16.50) but the hollandaise needed an extra flavour kick. The pea risotto ($18) was fairly standard and maybe a little bland. It was delicious on the first few bites but the portion was so large we’d had enough halfway through. Service is quick and friendly. It’s great to be able to enjoy solid cafe food without having to drive 30-40 minutes and battling it out with parking. Will definitely be back for the banoffee smoothie, and the soup and also to try some more of the menu!

P.S. There’s this little shop around the corner that stocks IKEA products only, feel free to go play pretend in the kitchen and bedroom sections.

Charlie & George
4/40 Stonefields Avenue, Mt Wellington, Auckland

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As we enter the cold, all we want to do is eat noodles and drink soup all day long. Ramen Takara has just opened along Ponsonby Road, just in time for Winter. The restaurant has a bar and a courtyard but it is small. There is next to none waiting space so bear that in mind when you are faced with a 40-minute wait time and howling wind and rain outside. The Tonkotsu ($13 + $3 for extra noodles) and Black Sesame Dan Dan Noodles ($15.50) were our favourites. The Tonkotsu wasn’t overpoweringly salty, it was perfectly creamy and the noodle texture just right. If we are comparing (of course we are), Takara has smaller portions than Ramen Do. The egg is also not as well done as Do’s molten goodness. Yet overall we prefer Takara because we just can’t get enough of those noodles and soup. Wouldn’t recommend the sides, stick to the ramen though if desperate, order the Karaage Chicken. Service though is still lacking as it is only a week or so old – the bartenders were definitely confused. Give it a few more weeks and we will definitely be back again!

Ramen Takara
272 Ponsonby Road, Auckland

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Back a few years, bagel cravings meant a trip to Maccas for their breakfast menu. It was strangely satisfying, the eggs and bacon combo. Though now at long last we have a few of our own bagel hideouts. So long to the oily, sloppy, paper wrapped before 10:30am munchies. Goodness Gracious serves New York style bagels with a wide variety of toppings. Faced with so many choices I ordered The Sampler, so I could try more. The Sampler ($17) is three mini sized bagels of your choice. Between the CAB (chicken and avocado), the Classic (smoked salmon and cream cheese), and the B.L.A.T. the latter was definitely my favourite. The relish and crispy bacon won me over. The CAB chicken was too dry. My friends had the Bene Bagel ($14.50) and Vege Bagel ($11). The Bene is ideal if you are famished. It comes with two eggs and heavy hollandaise which thickens quickly. The Vege Bagel was delicious, satisfying even for meat-lovers. The bagelry is right at the mouth of Kingsland and is busy constantly. There aren’t a lot of seats, so you may want to consider takeaway. Service is a little slow, we’d almost finished our bagels before our drinks came. Check out their Instagram for some more drool-worthy pics.

Goodness Gracious
2A New North Road, Eden Terrace, Auckland

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Japanese cuisine is hands down our favourite type of food. So Japan Day, we thought must be our kind of heaven. Except it was quite the opposite. There were gazillions amounts of people and hardly any food for sale. It wasn’t strictly Japanese food either, of the six or so stalls there were hotdogs and Chinese takeaways, what. There were also lines, lot of lines and lots of waiting. We spent about 20 minutes in the line for yakitori skewers and then found out that after the 30-minute wait to place an order, there was another 40-minute wait for the actual skewers. I stepped out immediately. We left Japan Day with empty stomachs and empty-handed. Feeling a bit ripped off we went to Ramen Do to satisfy our Japanese food craving. The place was small but there was a constant flow of customers. Thankfully wait for food was 10 minutes. Of the three, the miso ramen was the best ($15). #1 most popular according to their blackboard and rightfully so. Second place would go to the Soy-sauce based Mukashi ramen ($12). Skip the Takoyaki and Paitan. This is the first ramen spot in Auckland that we have come across serving delicious molten eggs!

Ramen Do (click for link to the menu)
167 Symonds Street, Eden Terrace, Auckland

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Let’s get right into it. The soft shell crab is the best I’ve had in a long time and so is the kaarage chicken. The lunch set is easy on the wallet and service is friendly and of course very polite. Decor is not Cocoro standard but still okay. Though the outside seating doesn’t quite fit in with the rest of the restaurant. I’d fully recommend the Deluxe Lunch Set ($28) which comes with your choice of 3 ‘tapas’ (again, get the soft shell crab and kaarage chicken). They are closed on Sundays.

Tatsumi
73 Davis Crescent (next to Archie’s and The Flying Burrito Brothers)
Newmarket, Auckland

New beginnings are always very exciting. Brian Campbell recently left the narrow, honeycomb-walled sweet house, Milse, to start his own dessert pop-up all over town. I made it to the very first one last Monday at Meredith’s.

The first three dishes cost $45 in total, and an extra $9 could bring you to a sugar high with a fourth dessert.IMG_2469

Each plate was delicately presented and visually appealing. You can expect no less from Brian with a CV as impressive as his (stalk here). The first dessert was Tonka Bean Vanilla Hyssop Panna Cotta served with strawberries, cherries and lemon curd. As you dig through the dish, the sourness from the lemon curd and the hint of hyssop in the panna cotta makes the dish surprisingly refreshing and delicious.IMG_2417 IMG_2440

I wasn’t a big fan of the second course. A true beetroot supporter would enjoy this one but beetroot and I are not the best of friends. The beetroot mousse was topped with raspberries and yoghurt cake. On the side there were beetroot meringues, raspberry puree and a slice of fresh beetroot. I loved the freeze-dried meringues and fresh raspberry the most. IMG_2454IMG_2456

The third course was divine. The dish came out with a chocolate globe on top of a pile of chocolate soil and hidden inside was a very rich orange flavoured chocolate mousse. The soil was a mix of macadamia nuts, cacao nibs, chocolate coated rice puffs, mint leaves and chewy caramel nugget with a swirl of caramel. The combination was one crunchy gooey mess.IMG_2525 IMG_2498IMG_2527

Now most people would stop here, but you know, it’s all or nothing. So to end the night we finished off with a plum dish. Sour plums were accompanied with sweet sable breton. The popcorn though was a little stale.IMG_2554

There are positive and negative things about pop-ups. They’re of course exciting and mysterious, and due to the limited time only feature, they induce high levels of FOMO aka fear of missing out. The downside is the set menu which cannot be catered to any dietary requirements. You can keep up with the news on where the next pop-up is on Instagram @briancampbell80.img_2410-2Untitled-1


IMG_4573IMG_4580 IMG_4591 IMG_4596 IMG_4598 IMG_4608 Lunchtimes at Dear Jervois usually consist of lines and waiting, but also creamy mushrooms and delicious smoothies. The food is great. Our favourite is the Portobello mushrooms with potato hash stack ($19), but it’s often sold out if you go late. The Creamy balsamic mushrooms are a slightly heavier alternative but still tasty with toasted ciabatta ($18). We also love the Soba noodle salad with free range chicken ($22) and the Cacao maca smoothie ($9). Service is very slow and inattentive. We had to ask at least four times for water and the mushrooms came without the extra poached egg we’d ordered – not the place to go if you are in a hurry. Parking is reasonably easy and there are some beautiful stores to shop at next door before or after your meal. Hopefully service is better next time round so we can come back to try the famous waffles.

I’d forgotten about these photos, or maybe I just didn’t want more people joining the queue for a table…have a great week ahead!

Dear Jervois
234 Jervois Road, Herne Bay, Auckland

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