Over the weekend we photographed Yelp Auckland’s biggest event to date, with almost 130 people. Along with Brancott Estate wine, MOA beer and Antipodes water, The Pie Piper mum-and-daughter duo, Black Hoof, Clevedon Oysters and Puhoi Valley were also there for the fun. A mini Fujifilm instax printer was up for grabs for the best photo of the night and everyone got a White’s & Co. voucher.
Have 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.
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.
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.
Britomart Country Club
31 Galway Street, Britomart, Auckland Central
It was a lazy kind of Saturday.
We had some bagels.
We saw some amazing photos. Wonder Wheel was my favourite. The Two of a Kind exhibition has definitely made me want to pick up my film camera again. And of course, travel. Exhibition is on at Silo Park – Silo 6 until 7 Oct (details here).
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
I got my friends to join in on rating the overall dining experience and here’s what we decided:Orleans.
Roukai Lane. 48 Customs Street East, Auckland Central.
This year I celebrated my 22nd birthday with a week-long food journey. It’s been a bit too long since our last post, so I thought I’ll take this opportunity to bombard you with a bundle of photos and restaurants in one go (funny logic I know).
1. Ebisu – My last time at this hip Japanese restaurant was earlier on in the year for dinner. I recall the dinner menu was delicious and fresh. It had excellent atmosphere and was buzzing with people. Lunch however I thought wasn’t worth its price. For $29 I had the ‘Special Bento Box’ which aside from the soft shell crab and tiger prawns wasn’t particularly astounding. The sushi was made with very wet rice making the seaweed soggy. It was unappetising and very unexpected for the supposed quality of the restaurant. The soft shell crabs were great, I would definitely order it as a solo dish.
2. Dante’s Pizzeria – I’d been eyeing out this pizza stall since we sat across it when dining at The Dairy (read here) a few weeks ago. The pizzas were large and came at a special lunch price of $18. We were told that these were the best pizzas in town and if I hadn’t eaten here before, I hadn’t tasted real pizza. Bold statement right there. Service was great. As far as it goes to fulfilling that claim, I’m not too sold. I think Archie’s has better pizza (read here). The flavour was definitely good with the ingredients but by the time you ate your way to the edge you were left with quite a big chunk of base that was too thick and bland to have on its own. Pizza is very personalised though, some prefer the deep dish, others the thin crust. You may just have to try it to see if it really is the ‘best pizza’ for you.
3. Miss Clawdy – This quite frankly is one of my favourite restaurants in Auckland right now. In terms of price, atmosphere, food and service, Miss Clawdy ticks all the boxes. This time I tried some other dishes whilst also satisfying my cravings for jerk chicken and a good cherry lemonade. The snapper ceviche ($14) was refreshing and well seasoned. The corn ($5 each) was great, as was the hushpuppies ($7). I also managed to try the ribs ($14.50) which were sold out last time. I enjoyed them, though they did come out warm/cold. Wait time is very high now, even during the week! (For the full blog post read here)
4. La’ssiette – Hands down creme brulee is my all-time favourite dessert. A few years ago I had what I could say at the time, one of the best creme brulees. From there on it became a beautiful memory. I finally came back to La’ssiette, and I was disappointed. The dessert now comes as a mini trio ($12.50) with three flavours Vanilla, Cognac and Orange (as opposed to the full size ramekin in Vanilla before). Now I know I may have over-exaggerated the experience in my mind as time had passed, so may have been expecting too much. But if I’m honest, I thought there wasn’t enough vanilla bean, it wasn’t as smooth and the sugar was a bit too burnt. Out of the three I think orange was my least favourite. Now I focus my memory on the Kermadec creme brulee.
5. Lone Star – Ah this birthday has been all about revisiting old favourites. Lone Star is a well established restaurant in New Zealand. This is my first time at the Newmarket store. If you’re at Lone Star you HAVE to order the ribs ($18 Entree). They’re so delicious your table etiquette flies out the window. We also had the Honky Tonk Chicken ($35 Large) which I believe was chicken breast but it was so incredibly well-made you kind of second guess yourself and think you’re having meat from something like chicken thighs. It was not dry at all and most definitely rivaled with the ribs. It was too dark for food photos, so you’ll just have to make do with photos of the entrance decor. Oh, and I’ve already made plans to go back this month which tells you how amazing it was. (Careful though, I’ve heard the Manukau store isn’t that great.)
6. Movenpick – We came here after Lone Star, because Lone Star only had dessert options that included chocolate (they had a white chocolate and vanilla creme brulee! ahhhh). My long-time favourite ice-cream flavour is Stracciatella and my new non-choc pick is Vanilla Bean. The cheesecakes aren’t too bad, a little too sweet but great for sharing after a meal.
7. St Heliers Bay Cafe & Bistro – Another Hip Group restaurant ticked off the list! I won’t say too much because we’ll follow up with a full blog post later but I loved the cafe’s decor, very fitting for its location. Some of the food was good, some of it not so much. (For blog posts on other Hip Group restaurants click here, here, here and here)
8. Pong Pong Cafe & Restaurant – This is a local Chinese restaurant in our neighbourhood and I had my birthday dinner with my family here. We had lobster and a fried taro ‘bird’s nest’ dish with prawn stir-fry inside. Funnily enough I’ve had this two years in a row – same day, same time.
9. Little & Friday – Last but not least, my cake is from Little & Friday in Newmarket. Decent non-chocolate cakes are so scarce, too scarce in Auckland for a reasonable price! This one was lemon and coconut 🙂
Hope you enjoyed reading my long spiel, feel free to ask anything in the comments section. All the locations are in Central or East Auckland, for details click the links under each of their names above. This weekend we are heading to the Hobsonville Farmers Markets for some delicious cupcakes provided we wake up in time and will be blogging about it very soon after! Remember to follow us on WordPress and Instagram @twohonesttruths to stay updated. – Kely
This is a double post, photos are from two separate visits (technically we’ve been there a lot more than twice but these are the times we remembered the camera needed to ‘eat’ too).
The everyday menu
– Portobello Ciabatta ($16.50) – this is definitely our favourite. Creamy mushrooms topped with wine sauce and sprinkled with Kapiti cheese, all on a slice of crispy ciabatta. It’s a great vegetarian dish, enjoyable for vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike.
– Whittakers Hot Chocolate ($5) – served with steamed milk and a Whittakers chocolate stick. Incredibly rich.
The Restaurant Month menu ($12)
– Cabinet Food – The BLT bread was super tough and hard to swallow, it was all bread and not much ingredients. The Beef cheeks and cheese pie didn’t quite sit well with us either.
– Cold drink from the fridge
– Cake/muffin from the cabinet – we ordered the cheesecakes. They were super sweet and rough. We also had some difficulty figuring out what the flavours actually were.
This is a super combo deal at a very low price. We thought the quality wasn’t quite there though.
Shaky Isles is home to awesome decor, friendly staff and lovely food. We love their menu food but aren’t quite fans of the cabinet. Do go along and visit this cool cafe, if not for the food then at least for the staple coffee story wall.
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!
The Pavilions at Britomart. 5B Gore Street, Britomart, Auckland.
The best way to bid farewell to 3 weeks of exams is with food. Glorious amounts of food. First stop: Mecca. Our top priorities here were it had to be close by, warm, tasty and filling. Mecca is conveniently located within The Chancery and is one of the busier restaurants in the lot. The couscous on our chicken salad was a little on the sweet side but complemented well with the meat. Second stop: Milse. It’s difficult staying away from this dessert gem. This time we dined in, and had the best seat in the restaurant watching the chefs at work. Food wise, still wonderfully amazing. I’ve never really been a great fan of macarons. Even though they pose for great photos, I’ve always found them overly sweet and unappetising. Milse macarons however were surprisingly tasty, they were chewy and not a hint of that exaggerated sweetness. I will definitely be trying more flavours. Too full for dessert? Never. Last stop: White’s & Co. There’s something different about having frozen delights during winter, that chill is slightly exhilarating and White’s & Co. never fails. Mango is my go-to flavour and so beautiful with that ‘sassy saffron’ cotton candy as our frozen yoghurt server happily named it. If you haven’t been to White’s & Co you are missing out. Once you try it, you will never turn back to those watery froyos. Get there now! (Our love for White’s & Co is strong, check out our previous posts here and here.)
On Friday night, to start off the long weekend I visited Ortolana with a friend. It was a delightful meal and I just couldn’t wait to share with all of you (don’t worry there will be more Melbourne photos still coming). If you haven’t been to the Hip Group’s cafes here in Auckland, you are missing out. Big time. Ortolana – meaning market garden has indeed lived up to its name and its raves, many of the ingredients I believe come from the Group’s own garden. Service was impeccable, as always across the restaurants. We started off with drinks Tamarillo and Pear Frappe, and Lemon and Feijoa Homemade Soda. Both excellent fruit combinations, fresh and simply delicious. I was looking forward to trying the Watermelon and Mint Frappe that I saw on the menu before but since watermelons are out of season right now I guess I’ll have to wait. For the mains we had Beetroot, cumin, feta, hazelnuts, lasagnotte and Market fish with garden harvest. I loved how colourful the lasagnotte was, food looked amazing and tasted amazing. I even had a girl a few tables across walking over and peering at what I was having, after telling her it was the Market fish, she promptly got back and ordered the same. There is nothing on the dishes that are ingredients just for show, everything is essential and everything goes well. You would have your fish with some beans together with some sauce all in one bite and it would be perfect. There was nothing left on our plates. I think the most prominent feature of the restaurant is the freshness. Everything tastes fresh, looks fresh. You won’t feel bogged down with heavy food, it makes you light and happy. It would be better if they offered more dessert options from Milse though.
We decided to pop over to Milse ourselves and after having been told there was 40 minute wait we put our names down and had a stroll around Britomart. It was going well past the hour so instead we decided to try again another time and have takeaway for now. Going back to the restaurant, it was as hectic as ever. The corridor was full, people were waiting outside and the standard of service was lower. People waiting to pay, people wanting to get desserts and people standing there with their popsicles just not sure what to do. It was all very crazy. Nevertheless we managed to buy a few a la carte items, the Lemon, Blueberry and Thyme cake, the Mango and Coconut Popsicle, and the Valrhona Chocolate, Armagnac and Salted Caramel cake. Amazing desserts. The lemon cake was soft, had the right amount of tang to it and also a surprise crunch. (I’m not too sure about the pricing, the girl charged me $8 for the lemon cake but having just looked at the patisserie menu online it says $7.) These are honestly at the next level, you can tell they draw inspiration internationally as its nothing you would expect having here in Auckland. You have to try it to experience it yourself. Hopefully they will figure out how to deal with the night rush but I will be back during the day for some beautiful dessert food art.
Ortolana and Milse.
The Pavillions, Britomart, Auckland Central.