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16 to 20/20

We are so spoilt with burger options in Auckland, it’s honestly a crime to have anything but the best. Food snobs foodies unite. These Bearded Clam burgers will help you maintain that diet. The Buffalo Chicken burger ($16) was my favourite, chicken incredibly tender and perfectly balanced out with the blue cheese sauce. The Cheeseburger ($12) is simple done right. It’s the traditional maccas ordeal but 100x less greasier, 100x tastier, and 100x better for you. Their brioche buns are super soft and pillowy, basically what every burger fiend dreams of. Here are some photos of the beautiful beings basking in the winter light, you’re welcome.P6110249P6110248P6110234P6110247P6110241

Bearded Clam
Locations change

P3240143.jpgP3240148.jpgThe simplest things are forever the hardest to get right. Like the eggs bene and the mushrooms on toast. Or the humble burger and the fish and chips. Burger Burger and Fish Fish have hit the sweet spot on the latter two respectively. According to our Instagram grid, we are well rehearsed in the BB game and thanks to the panko-crumbed gurnard with tartare sauce last Thursday night we will soon be FF frequent grammers too. The seafood is fresh, the chips thick cut. It’s the fish and chips you actually wanted need for the beach. Not the slimy, thick battered ordeal from the corner dairy.  A slaw is good to throw in the mix, and so is something from the specials menu. The prawn and sweet potato fritter is incredibly tasty with its spicy vinegar sauce. Not as enjoyable if you are the type of person that believes whitebait fritters stare into your soul, the prawns here are also. There aren’t many seats but you can order online and takeaway – good for that horrendous Ponsonby parking.

For those on the shore, watch out for the BB and FF powerhouse opening soon!

Fish Fish (menu here)
Ponsonby Central, Auckland

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Geeks have nailed it. The beautiful food, the indoor outdoor space, the easy parking, the casual vibe. It’s exactly how brunch is supposed to be. The place is jam-packed on a sunny Saturday but there’s no rush, no crazy Ponsonby queues of cars and people. I highly recommend the Eggs Benedict, it’s perfectly portioned and doesn’t weigh you down like a typical hollandaise drenched dish would, though the bacon is a little on the chewy side. The blueberry smoothie is delicious and the ice chocolate is something to keep going back for. As always, food on other people’s tables are that much more exciting and we are eyeing up the mushrooms on toast and the banana waffles for the next time we make the trip over to Sandringham.

Geeks on Sainsbury
1/55 Sainsbury Road, Auckland

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This is the first sign of Summer. Yesterday, Food Space made its debut on Daldy Street. From 11am-late there were food trucks, music, and drink stands. Essentially, a baby Silo Park (see here, here, here). At 4pm most of the food trucks were either sold out or ‘sold out’ – read, holding it out for the dinner crowd. So it’s best to go when they first open or at dinner time. Tiger Burger is a must. Though maybe only if you are die-hard kimchi addicts like us. The Kimcheese burger ($11) is melted cheese between toasted brioche buns, with a juicy beef patty and shreds of kimchi. Nothing extravagant but just so damn good. On the Kimcheese fries ($8) there’s some amazing chilli sauce, spring onions and of course more kimchi – highly recommend. Another food truck to make a beeline for is Ryan’s Kitchen. Get the brioche s’more, the Eaton Mess, and the chicken salad i.e. everything on the menu. Food Space was definitely missing some kind of juice/smoothie truck but Goodnight Cocoa’s cocoa was perfect for getting through yesterday’s strong wind situation. While Goodnight also offered s’mores, which were exciting to watch being prepared, nothing could compete against Ryan’s brioche combo. That s’more is the answer to your late night Buzzfeed food video cravings.

Food Space
www.foodspace.co.nz – watch out for when/where they set up camp next!
The Street Food Collective
www.thestreetfoodcollective.co.nz – for permanent food truck cravings

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Okay let’s be honest here. When we think of Indian food, we think takeaways, butter chicken, and naan bread. It’s always plastic containers and never beautiful ceramics. We hardly find ourselves craving for Indian food, but Cassia has totally changed the game. The interior is almost the same as when it was a dumpling bar but the entrance is wider and more inviting. For restaurant month we were served five courses for $55. It was an amazing meal and kept us talking for days. The beef short rib with madras curry was heavenly. The beef fell apart easily, it was soft but still retained texture, and packed full of flavour. The fish was fresh, and perhaps a little dry but it was a light dish and the perfect predecessor to the beef. A definite favourite round the table was the raw scallops and prawn pakora with green chilli. We ended with a yoghurt panna cotta. It was refreshing with grapes, cubes of pineapple and a buttermilk sorbet. We were well and truly satisfied. The food is served in brilliant bowls, though at times not quite handy for fork and knife action.

Trust us, you have to go.

Cassia (book online, it’s super easy!)
No.5 Fort Lane, Auckland Central

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The road to Matakana on the weekends can be incredibly packed with people and traffic because of the popular Farmer’s Market. We headed to Plume a little later in the afternoon to avoid the rush (about an hours drive from Auckland) and it was bliss. Stepping out of the car the first and most noticeable thing was just how peaceful and quiet it was. It was simply music to the ears.

Fish of the day ($34) was kingfish with cauliflower puree and clams. Clams were incredibly fresh and juicy and the puree was delicious. I loved the passionfruit and mango cheesecake ($14), super creamy and perfectly paired with some tangy sauce. The creme brulee ($14) was slightly too eggy for me. Service was excellent, attentive and not overbearing at all. Decor is not as glam as wineries like Mudbrick and Cable Bay. Plume is definitely a great place to go for a small day trip and to get away from the city noise. After lunch you can also drive to the beautiful Omaha Beach for a walk! Plume also have a cafe in Matakana Village.

Plume Restaurant (closed Sundays)
79 Sharp Road, RD2, Warkworth

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“Can you recommend me a place to eat?”  Depot.

“What’s your favourite restaurant in Auckland?”  Depot.

That’s generally how conversations go, but wait times at Al Brown’s Depot Eatery detract most people. Even on a Monday night the restaurant has kickstarted a waitlist and is full right up to the drinks tables outside as soon as we hit six o’clock. Tip: get in at 5:30 and make sure the whole gang is on time. I can assure you it’s well worth the wait. Classic Depot food is at least a dozen fresh tuatua clams to begin and fish sliders for all ($17 for 3 or $5.50 each) – you will want more than one. If oysters are your thing, get those too. I recommend going for many small plates to share. You can request to get portion sizes as per the number of diners, so no fighting occurs. The smoked brisket tortilla ($15 for 3 or $5 each) is packed with flavour and incredibly juicy. The big plates are not as intriguing. The skirt steak ($25) is good, but probably not Baduzzi good. Though the mustard is one-of-a-kind and the tobacco onions are so incredibly delicious – can we get those as a side on its own? There’s a lot of meat on the plate with the crisp ‘Freedom Farms’ pork hock ($32) but the meat is dry and lacking that punch of flavour that you have in the other dishes. Potato skins ($10) are great as a side, they do fill you up almost immediately though. When dessert time rolls around tell them you’re going next door. Al Brown’s The Fed 3-way pie combo ($18) is best especially if you want everything, otherwise get the banoffee ($11.50) if you’re going solo.

Depot is the restaurant that truly reflects the kiwi culture – rustic decor, fresh seafood, casual, lively. There are no white table cloths and no gasps when you drop a fork or when you get the bill. Service is top notch, your ice cold tumbler rarely goes empty for a few minutes. Rest easy and recommend this place to all your friends visiting from afar. It’s always a good time at the Depot.

Oh, and did I mention the sliders? You have to get the sliders.

Depot Eatery
86 Federal Street, Auckland Central

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