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11 to 15.5/20

I realise this is late. It’s now the first day of spring (though that’s arguable considering the weather outside) which means Restaurant Month is well and truly over. But better late than never, right?

Soul Bar is among the Viaduct cluster, so expect waterfront views to accompany your dinner if you choose to sit outside.

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I won’t bother telling you about the Restaurant Month deal since there is no use crying over spilt milk. But a few of the dishes are well worth going back for the full price.

Spicy tuna tartare, crushed avocado, jalapeno peppers, warm jou jou bread – we enjoyed this dish but have had better elsewhere.

Salt & pepper squid, roasted garlic and saffron mayonnaise, parsley and mint gremolata – fairly standard, nothing too out there.

Atlantic scallop risotto, roast parsnip, mascarpone and truffle – this is it, the great winner of the night. This risotto was delicious in every way. The scallops were fresh, the rice creamy but not too heavy. Everyone wanted seconds.IMG_3128

Braised wagyu beef short rib, pumpkin and verjuice puree, honey roast yams – we were looking forward to this dish the most. Yet it was synonymous round the table that this was the most disappointing of them all. The beef was dry and not quite as flavourful as we were expecting.

Duck breast with green papaya, coriander and mint salad with mango dressing, toasted pinenuts – super tasty, another highlight of the night. The duck was tender and the salad refreshing. Get this one!IMG_3135

Milk chocolate mouse, chocolate nib crackling, dark chocolate jelly, creme de cacao ice cream – I didn’t personally taste this dish but the others raved on about how rich and amazing it was. The desserts are fairly small but it was enough to impress.

Lemon and yuzu tart, coconut meringue, yuzu caramel puree, passionfruit sorbet – the sorbet was great, so was the meringue.

Soul is a great place to go for a quiet, relaxing dinner or for a drink at the bar/fireplace then dinner afterwards.The service is prompt and friendly, you won’t find your glass be empty very often. The only thing that I didn’t quite understand was why the bar needed to be lit up bright red and purple, surely this was not the place for these outrageous colours. With that aside my fellow diners had enjoyed the dinner so much, Soul was now one of their favourite restaurants. Never fear that Restaurant Month is over, Soul have Ladies Lunch for the month of September (sorry lads) which is $32.50 including a glass of Nautilus Sauvignon Blanc (more details here).

Soul Bar & Bistro
Viaduct Harbour, Auckland Central

IMG_2569LOGOMany nights ago we dined at FISH inside the Hilton Hotel down at Princes Wharf. It was a 5-course meal and cost us $55 each with a voucher.IMG_2622LOGO

1 – Mussel and tio pepe cappuccino – probably our least favourite dish of the night. Though bonus points for the cute coffee cup. This was our first encounter with foam for the night.

2 – Pepper cured kingfish with beetroot, crisp rice and crème fraiche – the fish was fresh and delicious with its beetroot friends. The peppercorns were a bit overwhelming purely because there was just so much of it.IMG_2588LOGO

3 – Mushroom and spelt risotto – I enjoyed this dish, minus the foam (sense a pattern here?). It was creamy and rich, and the risotto was cooked al dente. I prefer risotto that still has a little bit of chew to it, so if you like softer rice this may not be your cup of tea.

4 – Akaroa salmon with a herb crust, prawn and spring onion mash potatoes, and spicy pistachio butter – Both my mum and I agreed that the prawn and herb potato mash was the best thing on the plate. Since salmon is relatively rich and oily itself, I didn’t enjoy having it coated in crust. Also, go away foam!

4 – Pepper rubbed South Island venison loin with parsnip puree, roasted carrots & courgettes, and orange citrus jus – there can be no wrong said about this dish. Even our dad couldn’t stop saying how good it was – picky eaters all round. The meat was cooked medium rare and had a subtle honey taste to it. It was simple, but well done.

5 – Buttermilk panna cotta Earl Grey poached figs with hazelnut biscotti and vanilla ice-cream – this was a good way to end the meal. The vanilla ice cream is the refreshing kind, and the hazelnut biscotti perfectly crunchy. Being made from buttermilk, the panna cotta was slightly sour.IMG_2617LOGO

Service was mostly quick and attentive. A lot of the time the hotel can also validate your parking, just make sure you check with the concierge on arrival.IMG_2623LOGO

Restaurant month is almost here, get excited. We have our eye on a few menus in particular Depot serving up clams/oysters with sliders at just $25 all up! Can’t wait. Check out the menus and events here.

IMG_0959 copyThe Auckland food scene caters for everybody. Even those that wake up and vow to eat healthy all day everyday but end the day munching down on delicious burgers (yeah, we’re guilty as charged). Tucked down a driveway in Kingsland is Mondays, the brainchild of Eleanor from Petite Kitchen and Hannah from Health,Yeah. The place is small, very small. It can probably seat about seven people inside, so don’t go on a rainy day? There’s a courtyard but again, space is limited – so you’re best to takeaway.IMG_0935 IMG_0938

We don’t exactly see eye-to-eye on Mondays (but that’s the good thing of having two of us right, there’s a greater chance that one of us may have the same taste as you). While we both loved the salmon salad. I had about two sips of the drinks we ordered. Boni liked both the berry smoothie and the vanilla, honey, almond milk. She is an advocate for almond milk, while I am not. Clearly she is the health-food junkie and I the burger fiend – we cover the best of both worlds.IMG_0977 IMG_0964

When we visited, Mondays had just recently opened and it was a Saturday morning so the line was out the door. It’s best to follow them on some sort of social media (Facebook, Instagram) to get an idea of what they’re cooking up in the kitchen that day before going. As with all healthy wholefoods places, the quality is good but the prices are higher for less. The above three things cost a total of $31.IMG_0926 IMG_0952

Parking – the usual horrible Kingsland scenario.

Oh, and they’re open every day except Wednesday – not just Mondays.

Mondays
503B New North Road, Auckland

IMG_1158Have you caught on to the latest burger craze yet? There’s Burger Burger in Ponsonby, Pinky’s at Tyler St Garage, some gourmet restaurant burgers at The Grill, and Better Burger at Britomart Country Club.

BCC have sectioned out one end of their restaurant to house Better Burger. The menu is quite simple, it’s either the Hamburger, Cheeseburger, Double Cheeseburger, or Vege Special.IMG_1166IMG_1159

(Double) Cheeseburgers – at $5/6.50, I’m not complaining.IMG_1171

Fries – these were rather cold, sad and soft. We have heard of others having hot crispy fries though so maybe we were caught in a bad batch.

Vanilla shake – a true thickshake. This was so thick it was like almost like ice cream.

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Better Burger seems to be Auckland’s own In-N-Out (though we haven’t had the real thing before so can’t tell you how they compare). I wish you better luck with the fries. But be here, instead of McDonalds.

If you ask us to measure Burger Burger up against Better Burger, we’d say they’re in different leagues. Better Burger is more of the quick, non-fussy, to-go burger you can buy with spare change that still tastes good. While Burger Burger is gourmet at a higher price point ($10-12), has the worst soda you can ask for, but also the most amazing sizzling hot potato skins.

Better Burger
Britomart Country Club
31 Galway Street, Britomart, Auckland Central

IMG_1903PRB is one of those restaurants that you hear about often and that is full to the brim even on a weekday. Our first ever Yelp Elite Event was held here and we remember having delicious canapes served with sake, so back again we came.IMG_1901

Both food and service started off well.

Pita sticks with whipped feta and harissa ($12.50) – most of the sticks were crispy and the feta was an enjoyable dip.IMG_1911IMG_1908

Spiced duck and chickpea borek on tabbouleh with herbed yoghurt, tamarillo dressing ($19.50) – this was delicious and lightweight with the tabbouleh. We cleared this out fairly quickly.IMG_1912

Chargrilled steak with chunky fries, garlic-parsley butter – scotch ($29.50) – the steak was grilled just right and the fries were nice and crispy.IMG_1919

Pork belly schnitzel, celeriac-apple remoulade and cress ($33.50) – on first bite the pork belly was very tasty, past that and onto the second slice things started becoming a bit too much with the fat from the pork itself and the fried crumb layer.IMG_1915

Roast lamb rump on borlotti beans, balsamic picked radicchio and anchovy mayo ($35.50) – the lamb was tender but the overall dish was fairly standard and nothing stood out from the crowd.IMG_1921

There was so much promise in the dessert menu, but things went downhill from here. The wait just to order our dessert was terrible, when we had finally waved down a waiter to order he put forward service that was in fact quite frankly, rude. There was then another long wait before our plates came.

Warm Valrhona chocolate pudding with chocolate sauce and creme fraiche ($14.50) – super rich. The creme fraiche however seemed to be a casual passerby and didn’t really go well with the pudding.IMG_1941

Pear and boysenberry crumble with vanilla ice cream ($14.50) – the sweetness in this dessert was overpowering and I found it difficult to finish on its own without the ice cream.IMG_1935

Creme brulee ($14.50) – the sugar layer was much too thick. Let’s just say we still haven’t found THE creme brulee yet.IMG_1934 IMG_1933

I’m a little on the fence as to whether I will return, granted though that they change their menu often – so maybe in the distant future we will try again?

Sorry to those that have been looking out for the food ratings, we felt that the system we have in place now is quite flawed so we’re trying to come up with a new way to do this. Any suggestions on what aspects of the dining experience you’d like to see at a quick glance would be appreciated!

Ponsonby Road Bistro
156 Ponsonby Road, Auckland

The name says it all. It’s the new rad café started up by ex-Best Ugly Bagels’ barista. We’ve been for breakfast and lunch and have enjoyed both.IMG_7951

The café has many rad features (see what I did there?). There are rad Lego blocks as table numbers – there was a kid that tried to steal ours, literally. The staff wear rad denim overalls. And the décor is pretty rad.IMG_7908 IMG_7935 IMG_7932

The Tang Tang ($7) – refreshing freshly squeezed pineapple, apple, orange, lemon and lime juice.

Hot Chocolate ($4.50) – the milk froth was oh-so-creamy and smooth. It had just the right amount of chocolate not overly sweet and not watered down.IMG_7917

Baby back spare ribs with slaw and twice cooked chips ($21.50) – these reminded me of Hong Kong style BBQ pork though much milder in flavour. The ribs had a sweet note to them but the meat was on the softer side. The chips, if you can call them that at the size of 2+ fingers, were much too filling for us.IMG_7930 IMG_7929

Grandma’s Banh Mi ($12.50) – the rad rolls are their staple dishes, in particular the Banh Mi. We enjoyed the baguette which wasn’t dry or tough and the meat was flavourful and juicy.IMG_7923

Blueberry Mascarpone cake ($5.90) – loved this cake. The top half is mascarpone with cake as the base. Being reasonably large in size we found it quite well priced. The base is a little dry – problem solved with yoghurt on the side.IMG_7938

There are more choices with the breakfast menu but that’s only for early birds that make it before 10:30. It’s busy almost all the time, but seat turnover is reasonably quick.IMG_7940

RAD Mt. Eden.
397 Mt Eden Road, Auckland.

BURGERBURGER_THT_01BURGERBURGER_THT_02You’d probably find it difficult to not have heard about this new burger joint. Burger Burger opened with a bang and based on night three store traffic situation it seems everybody wants needs to be there.

There was a wait for tables (a good sign no less) of around 15 or so minutes. Which was all cool but we wondered how they remembered who came first and who didn’t when there wasn’t a names list taken down. We may or may not have accidentally scored a table before some others, shhh.BURGERBURGER_THT_04

We ordered the moment we sat down. It didn’t take long considering how packed the restaurant was which was great for our starving after-work stomaches.BURGERBURGER_THT_06

Vanilla milkshake – made with Lewis Road Creamery products which we’ve heard great stuff about. The shake was super, dare I say, creamy. It was smooth and silky. A burger’s best friend.

Chocolate milkshake – texture wise it’s just like it’s Vanilla partner in crime. We only wish it was a tinge more chocolatey.

Homemade honey cola soda – we’d say stick to the shakes and the Lion Red. If you want soda hop next door.

BURGERBURGER_THT_18BURGERBURGER_THT_17BURGERBURGER_THT_14BURGERBURGER_THT_15Chicken Burger ($10) – the definite winner of the night. The chicken was juicy and succulent. It had that delicious grilled flavour with a yummy combination of red pepper salsa and aioli. Did we say we liked this the best? Yes, it was the best.

BURGERBURGER_THT_11 BURGERBURGER_THT_13 BURGERBURGER_THT_10Beef Burger ($10) – runner up of the night. On the first bite all I could notice was how juicy the beef was. It was cooked medium rare as they promised. With it was pickle, mayo, tomato jam, and mustard your standard beef burger friends.

BURGERBURGER_THT_09Special Burger (Venison with kale, blue cheese, and mushroom) ($12) – indeed a special burger, but special in a way that the pattie was actually dry, a little surprising considering the great experience we had with the other two. We wouldn’t recommend this one.

BURGERBURGER_THT_12 BURGERBURGER_THT_16Potato skins ($6) – crispy, salty, filling. More for us please.BURGERBURGER_THT_08 BURGERBURGER_THT_20Kumara chips ($6)

BURGERBURGER_THT_07 BURGERBURGER_THT_05 BURGERBURGER_THT_19So our verdict, it’s good value at just $10 a burger. They also don’t skimp on their patties and meat, and their buns are divine – yes there is a choice of having Bunnuce i.e. Lettuce instead of the bun, but why would you want to do that? Don’t do that.

Will we be back? Sure thing.

 


Easter hours: No surcharge
Good Friday – open at 5pm
Easter Monday – CLOSED

Burger Burger.
Ponsonby Central.
4 Brown Street, Ponsonby, Auckland.

Vietnamese is one of our favourite cuisines. We’ve been on a constant lookout to find the best of it in town.

After hearing people rave about Cafe Viet, we had to go try. The atmosphere is unlike your typical Vietnamese restaurants. With exposed brick walls, bright blue shutters and trailing plants painted on the walls it’s a little like a Saigon movie set. There were also fairy lights and brightly coloured cushions scattered around.  CafeViet_THT_01

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Bang Bang Prawns ($10) -my favourite of the night. These were crispy yet juicy inside. I loved how bits of lemongrass were infused into the batter giving the prawns that extra flavour boost.

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Cafe Viet Spring Rolls ($10) – these are different to your typical vietnamese spring rolls. They’re filled with juicy diced pork and prawn, fried, then wrapped in fresh rice paper with lettuce, carrot, bean sprouts and mint. Dip them in the nước mắm sauce and you’ll be munching away happily. CafeViet_THT_04 CafeViet_THT_05

Coconut Juice ($4)  – surprisingly this was served with pieces of real coconut. The drink was very refreshing, perfect for a hot summer night. Although If you’re die-hard coconut juice fan this may disappoint you as the coconut flavour isn’t strong.

Peanut Butter Delight Frappe ($8) – a very rich but lightweight drink. My friend and I both agreed a scoop of chocolate blended into the drink would’ve been perfect.CafeViet_THT_08

Saigon Flamed Grilled Lemongrass Chicken ($19) – served with curry puffs and a side of crunchy salad with prawn crackers. I was rather disappointed in this dish. Even though the chicken was very tender and the servings generous, it lacked the authentic lemongrass flavour that I coveted. CafeViet_THT_09

Banana Coconut Doughnuts with Chocolate dipping sauce ($10) – sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, these were very crispy. We couldn’t taste much of the coconut in the doughnut and the banana pieces were a lot smaller than I imagined. Admittedly this was my least favourite dish of the night. CafeViet_THT_12

If you’re looking for a quiet night out I would suggest you come early. Once it hits 7, the restaurant fills up quickly and you’ll find it hard to hear yourself.  The service was attentive and the staff were very helpful. I would definitely come back for the small plates and drinks.CafeViet_THT_13

Cafe Viet.
2 Surrey Crescent, Grey Lynn, Auckland

cafeviet-ratings

Gusto is the new kid on the block replacing Dine at The Grand Hotel. The cuisine is Italian and encourages the sharing of food round the table. _MG_2714 copy _MG_2715 copy We went for dinner on their second day of opening, the staff were friendly and we left feeling satisfied.

Each table was adorned with a bottle of Sean Connolly’s olive oil. It was super tasty and had a definite fruity flavour to it. I was convinced that I needed a bottle of this for home but soon found that nearly every dish was lathered in the oil and was a little overwhelmed._MG_2729 copyTuna crudo, green apple, radish ($22) – bland and lacked excitement._MG_2730 copy
Split king prawns ($38) – this was delicious. The prawns were fresh and the seasoning was rich and paired well._MG_2742 copy

Pork, veal meatballs ($12) – it seems meatballs are the craze in town right now, so maybe we’ve had enough already. These were on the saltier side._MG_2735 copy_MG_2798 copy Grilled octopus ($18) – surprisingly the seasoning was exactly the same as the prawns. We felt it matched the former more._MG_2743 copyAll the pastas are made in-house. They certainly were the stars of the meal.

Pappardelle, wild boar ragu ($28) – the pappardelle is a wider and flat type of pasta. It was cooked just right._MG_2758 copy_MG_2787 copy Gusto’s mushroom risotto ($28) – the risotto is made from scratch the minute you order. The texture was great but the dish was far too salty and we had to return it._MG_2761 copy Linguini with fruits of the sea ($28) – we enjoyed this dish. The pasta sauce wasn’t overpowering, keeping it light and fresh._MG_2774 copyStrawberry, marsala, semifreddo ($14) – this was super creamy though nothing astounding. I wasn’t a fan of the strawberry sauce that accompanied it. _MG_2776 copy
Warm chocolate pudding ($14) – the pudding had a crispy outer edge and a soft interior. The molten chocolate inside was incredibly rich and delicious._MG_2778 copy_MG_2780 copy_MG_2792 copy _MG_2793 copy Gusto offers fresh detox and energy organic smoothies at $10 each. Their lunch and dinner menus are the same. There’s both buffet and a la carte breakfast. Although the pasta was impressive, the dishes weren’t at the point of convincing us to be back again quickly.

Gusto at The Grand.
90 Federal Street, Auckland Central.

Yes, we’re alive! Thanks for staying with us this past month – we’ve been busy with both work and events. Check out the photos from our latest Yelp Elite Events here and here.

Today we ventured to Citizen Park, a popular restaurant and bar in Kingsland. There’s lots of space around with the courtyard tables and the high stools indoor area. The place is buzzing and is the perfect destination for after-work/late afternoon drinks and nibbles.

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Decor, is of course the trending bare lightbulbs, retro style. There are numerous pot plants scattered along the bar, a FOOD neon light sign, ripped walls and brick walls._MG_2360 _MG_2396_MG_2359 _MG_2398To drink – Jarritos Mandarin ($6), San Pellegrino Limonata ($5).
_MG_2357 _MG_2353 _MG_2405Tokyo Chicken Burger ($15) – a little different to your typical chicken burger. There’s wasabi mayo, a black seaweed slaw and some tonkatsu sauce. The accompanying fries are super delicious._MG_2370_MG_2373 _MG_2385_MG_2365Pork Ribs ($32) – we loved these. They weren’t cooked overly soft and the side sauce was a good pairing. The dish was super filling for us and we ended up having to takeaway. A half-size portion would’ve been just right._MG_2379 _MG_2387 _MG_2380 _MG_2384_MG_2354_MG_2363 _MG_2408 _MG_2406 _MG_2394 _MG_2409 _MG_2414

On a side note – the toilets require special mention, they’re super clean and spacious.
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Tomorrow we’ve booked a table to try the newly opened Gusto at SkyCity – if we’re quick you’ll see the post within the next day or so. Otherwise, check in on us on Instagram (@twohonesttruths) or Facebook, there’s bound to be a picture there!

Citizen Park.
424 New North Road, Kingsland, Auckland.

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