Archive

16 to 20/20

IMG_8850The Mekong Baby restaurant is clean, crisp and modern. A breather from the now common rustic, bare light bulb, crate stool scenario.IMG_8883 IMG_8885

Braised Pork Belly, Caramelised Chilli & Soy, Asian Slaw ($26) – so good that we dream about it.IMG_8870 IMG_8872

Mekong Baby’s Roti Bread ($5) – crispy on the outside and well layered. More please.IMG_8877IMG_8878

Duck, Pineapple, Potatoes, Shallots, Peanut Massaman Curry ($32) – although it was a little too salty, we enjoyed it with the roti bread.IMG_8880

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.

Mekong Baby.
262 Ponsonby Road, Auckland.

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IMG_8990We 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.IMG_8995

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.IMG_8996 IMG_8914 copy IMG_8922 IMG_8898Citrus 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

IMG_8945Pulled 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.IMG_8959IMG_8964

Green eggs benedict with smoked fish ($18) – whilst we enjoyed the fish, the dish as a whole didn’t quite steal our hearts.IMG_8951

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.IMG_8967

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.IMG_8974 IMG_8976 IMG_8980We’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.IMG_8993IMG_8990-2

Rosie.
82 Gladstone Road, Parnell, Auckland.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Corner Jellicoe Street & Fish Lane, North Wharf, Wynyard Quarter, Auckland Central.  

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Yesterday I visited Orleans down at Roukai Lane with two of my friends. The Southern American inspired restaurant is located where Agents & Merchants used to be and I can say with full confidence the change is definitely no one’s loss. The place was packed during the lunch hour and atmosphere and decor were a definite highlight. We were almost instantly transported out of Auckland. It’s dark inside with small hanging light bulbs, the walls are lined with wooden planks and the bar area decorated with an assortment of old-fashioned picture frames and the odd mask and American flag. At the back of the restaurant there is a piano and a drum kit for their live music sessions. Between the three of us we had some big bowls, small bowls and dessert.

  • The Jambalaya Balls ($10) were tasty and went well with the gravy.
  • The famous Chicken Waffles ($12) were controversial, either you hated it or you loved it. At our table it was a 1-1 and ‘not sure’ situation. It was an interesting combination and we thought both components were well made.
  • We also enjoyed the Curly Fries ($6) a lot. They were crispy and delicious with the chipotle mayo.
  • I liked the Flat Iron Steak ($18) but I liked the blackened vegetables more.
  • Last but not least, the Baked Cheesecake ($10) sealed the deal. My favourite from the entire meal. This was paired with bruleed banana and butterscotch. It was light and it was good.

Overall the food is delicious, the portions probably a little smaller than expected but we’re definitely happy to have this restaurant join us in Britomart. Service was quick and attentive. If you were to ask me whether I liked Miss Clawdy (read here) better or Orleans, I would think they’re reasonably spaced apart from each other to not be too much of a one-or-the-other choice (though Miss Clawdy wins for a slightly larger menu). I would go to Miss Clawdy for the cherry lemonade and the jerk chicken and Orleans for the cheesecake and curly fries. Someone takeaway for me and meet me at the wharf?

Note: Orleans close on Sundays.
EDIT – they now open Sundays too! 21/10/13

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I got my friends to join in on rating the overall dining experience and here’s what we decided:chalkboard-ratingsOrleans.
Roukai Lane. 48 Customs Street East, Auckland Central.

I’m sold. These Montreal bagels are terribly tasty. Within one week, I’d been there twice already.

Best Ugly Bagels is located in the growing City Works Depot, headed by Al Brown, the mastermind behind Depot Eatery (previous blog post here) and the upcoming Federal Delicatessen. These no-salt bagels are crisp on the outside, chewy on the inside and have a slight tinge of honey sweetness. We had the TAB ($8) with tomato, avocado and basil, and the YODI ($10) with pastrami, swiss, habanero mustard and pickle. They were matched to perfection. The ingredients are paired so well, to a certain point they’ll be able to make you eat things you normally wouldn’t, as my companions tell me – obviously they were referring to things like mustard and pickle, or so I hope. Personally, I enjoyed these two over the KING ($12) which has lox, capers, red onion and cream cheese. There wasn’t enough salmon. Aside from the sesame bagel there is also the poppy, plain ugly and cinnamon and raisin. Do try the sweet spreads, the peanut butter and jelly combo ($4.50) was delicious. Best Ugly have recipes listed on their website for you to make at home, go for it if you will but I’ll like mine straight from the fire.

Wood-fired bagels, what’s there not to love?

Other restaurants at City Works Depot that we have blogged and reviewed: Food Truck Garage.

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Best Ugly Bagels.
City Works Depot. Cnr Wellesley & Nelson Street, Auckland Central.

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Today we visited Miss Clawdy down at North Wharf, a newly opened (just one week) restaurant inspired by the Southern USA. We were immediately impressed with the decor inside. The hanging wicket baskets, bare lightbulbs, dried flower displays and splashes of colour paired with some great music gave it a warm, vibrant and happy atmosphere. It was a sanctuary from the torrential wind and rain outside. Between three we ordered the Fish Taco ($6), Pulled Pork Taco ($6), Jambalaya ($14), Hand cut Street Fries ($7.50) and Southern Fried Jerk Chicken ($14). To drink we had an Old Fashioned Cherry Lemonade Cocktail ($12.50). The chicken and fries were amazing amazing stuff. We highly recommend. It’s possibly the best fried chicken we’ve had, possibly. Taco wise, the tortillas were well made with a little crisp to it. We enjoyed the fish over the pork. The lemonade is made with the following – citron vodka, briottet creme de marasquin, orange bitters and homemade lemonade over lemonade ice cubes. It was incredibly refreshing, full of flavour and had the right amount of tang to it. The lemonade ice cubes also meant your drink won’t water down as time passes. Dessert failed us a little, we had the Key Lime Pie ($10) but it was too sweet and the pastry a little soggy. Service was attentive.

This is no doubt a great addition to the growing Auckland food scene. We just missed out on the ribs this time round (it sounds super delicious), but never fear we’ll be back alright.

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12 Jellicoe Street, North Wharf, Wynyard Quarter, Auckland Central.
(Inside the ASB building)

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Having awoken late on a lazy weekend, we desperately searched for a decent lunch disguised as an afternoon tea in the city. After having been told pizzas at Merchant of Venice were to take 50 minutes we hurriedly moved on to Britomart (this was at about 2pm, Saturday). Tyler St Garage was pitch black and Ortolana was full, luckily we snatched up a spot in The Store’s dine-in area. Inside, The Store adopts the same honeycomb wooden walls Milse has. Their award-winning ice cream is also available. On the other side of the restaurant is an on-the-go takeout area where they offer gourmet food and coffee. Of course by dining at a Hip Group restaurant we know that service is going to be impeccable.

Boni ordered the Kiwi classic Fish n chips ($21) and a vanilla milkshake ($6.50) whilst I had the Eggs benedict with bacon ($18.50) and a passionfruit frappe ($6.50). As always the simplest dishes are the hardest to make well and the hardest to please and surprise. We found the fish fresh and the chips thick and crispy. The gribiche was super delicious and flavourful, a nice change to the typical aioli. We were a bit surprised to find the dish accompanied with a slice of toast. It was however very tasty, soft and sweet but not particularly necessary. The vanilla milkshake had a nostalgic taste. It was almost as if we were drinking vanilla bean ice cream, straight. The benes came on two burger style buns that were toasted to perfection. It was accompanied with lots of quality bacon and delicious hollandaise sauce. The frappe was refreshing and full of flavour. We highly recommend paying The Store a visit for some hip breakfast, lunch and afternoon tea!

Other Hip Group restaurants that we have visited and blogged: Ortolana, Takapuna Beach Cafe, Milse

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The Store.
The Pavilions at Britomart. 5B Gore Street, Britomart, Auckland.

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