The 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
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
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.
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
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
“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.
86 Federal Street, Auckland Central
The Mekong Baby restaurant is clean, crisp and modern. A breather from the now common rustic, bare light bulb, crate stool scenario.
Braised Pork Belly, Caramelised Chilli & Soy, Asian Slaw ($26) – so good that we dream about it.
Mekong Baby’s Roti Bread ($5) – crispy on the outside and well layered. More please.
Duck, Pineapple, Potatoes, Shallots, Peanut Massaman Curry ($32) – although it was a little too salty, we enjoyed it with the roti bread.
We’re a little new to fusion cuisine but we will be back, probably for dinner and to explore the dessert/drinks menu a little.
262 Ponsonby Road, Auckland.
We visited with no great expectations, in fact we were a little reluctant because of its mixed reviews when the cafe was operating as Rosehip and also because of our last poor run in with Hip Group service and food at Takapuna Beach Cafe. We left Rosie however, so so incredibly satisfied.
With renovation the cafe now sports the familiar clean, modern Hip Group interior. It’s well placed just across from the Parnell Rose Gardens so you can take a stroll there whilst you wait for your table to be ready. Citrus Fresh Juice ($7) – orange
Feijoa and apple soda ($4.50) – it seems like if you want soda stick to the guys at Bedford
Harvest Fruits Fresh Juice ($7) – pear and apple
Pulled pork and apple tartine ($18) – our definite favourite. The bread was crispy and the green apple minced on top gave it the extra sweetness and oomph.
Green eggs benedict with smoked fish ($18) – whilst we enjoyed the fish, the dish as a whole didn’t quite steal our hearts.
Short ribs ($24) – a close second. The brussel sprouts were surprisingly tasty. The ribs itself were full of flavour and a little different to the typical sticky sweet affair you find elsewhere.
Passionfruit panna cotta – a divine dessert, dare I say it’s the best we’ve had this year. The passionfruit shells are filled with creamy panna cotta, and paired with a splatter of coconut on the side it was ah-ma-zing. It’s also very affordable at $10 – give me more please. We’d recommend you pay our new friend, Rosie a visit. There is often a wait for tables as she’s small, but the Passionfruit Panna Cotta alone is worth the wait. We can’t get enough.
82 Gladstone Road, Parnell, Auckland.
We’re here! We’re finally here to test out the meatball craze that Auckland has been on since Baduzzi opened a few weeks ago. The restaurant name, surprise! means ‘meatballs’ in Sicilian. Of course, the Italian inspired restaurant also serves other authentic dishes.
Obviously the gusty wind and rain kept no hungry Aucklander at home, the wait for tables easily reached the hour mark. Unless you’re dining in a large group, be prepared to sit at the corners of the restaurant where space could be quite minimal. It’s also a mission to get the staff’s attention if you’ve been tucked away.
To start we ordered the Shaved waygu tongue with salsa rossa ($9) and the Insalata of white beans and squid ($13). Roasted potato cubes were paired with tangy salsa and wrapped in a fresh slice of waygu – we were told to roll up the tongue in order to get all the goodness in one mouthful, even if it meant getting your hands dirty. The flavours were amazing. The salad on the other hand was a little less exciting. It was refreshing but nothing extraordinary.
Under the Polpette menu you will find a wide range of meatball flavours. To share, we got the Crayfish ($16) and Deer and mushroom ($12). The crayfish won both our hearts. The deer was a lot bolder in taste but tended towards the salty side.
Dessert was no doubt the famous Tiramisu ($12). It truly lived up to its reviews. It was silky and creamy, and amazing with some sprinkled coffee crunch. The biscuit around it provided the perfect sweetness and crunch.
I would definitely return for dessert and the delicious waygu tongue. The staff are very friendly, although most of them have not personally tried the dishes so recommendations are a bit limited – it’s okay, we have you covered!
Spot him again below!
Corner Jellicoe Street & Fish Lane, North Wharf, Wynyard Quarter, Auckland Central.