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New beginnings are always very exciting. Brian Campbell recently left the narrow, honeycomb-walled sweet house, Milse, to start his own dessert pop-up all over town. I made it to the very first one last Monday at Meredith’s.

The first three dishes cost $45 in total, and an extra $9 could bring you to a sugar high with a fourth dessert.IMG_2469

Each plate was delicately presented and visually appealing. You can expect no less from Brian with a CV as impressive as his (stalk here). The first dessert was Tonka Bean Vanilla Hyssop Panna Cotta served with strawberries, cherries and lemon curd. As you dig through the dish, the sourness from the lemon curd and the hint of hyssop in the panna cotta makes the dish surprisingly refreshing and delicious.IMG_2417 IMG_2440

I wasn’t a big fan of the second course. A true beetroot supporter would enjoy this one but beetroot and I are not the best of friends. The beetroot mousse was topped with raspberries and yoghurt cake. On the side there were beetroot meringues, raspberry puree and a slice of fresh beetroot. I loved the freeze-dried meringues and fresh raspberry the most. IMG_2454IMG_2456

The third course was divine. The dish came out with a chocolate globe on top of a pile of chocolate soil and hidden inside was a very rich orange flavoured chocolate mousse. The soil was a mix of macadamia nuts, cacao nibs, chocolate coated rice puffs, mint leaves and chewy caramel nugget with a swirl of caramel. The combination was one crunchy gooey mess.IMG_2525 IMG_2498IMG_2527

Now most people would stop here, but you know, it’s all or nothing. So to end the night we finished off with a plum dish. Sour plums were accompanied with sweet sable breton. The popcorn though was a little stale.IMG_2554

There are positive and negative things about pop-ups. They’re of course exciting and mysterious, and due to the limited time only feature, they induce high levels of FOMO aka fear of missing out. The downside is the set menu which cannot be catered to any dietary requirements. You can keep up with the news on where the next pop-up is on Instagram @briancampbell80.img_2410-2Untitled-1


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Our Labour weekend started off with some of our favourite cupcakes. Remember when we drove 40 minutes for 4 cupcakes (read here)? Well this time we only had to drive 15 minutes. It was a dream come true for Brooke at Velvet Delight when Cadbury Dream helped set up a popup store for her on Saturday at Sylvia Park. A Facebook like was exchanged for a free cupcake, and for every like (up to 10,000) the chocolate company was willing to contribute $1. The flavours of the day were Lemon, Salted Caramel with popcorn, Ice-cream Sundae and Red Velvet. As usual, the cupcakes were soft and not overly sweet. The vanilla cream was just as delicious as we remembered. Boni had the chance to meet Brooke and according to her there were around 2,000 of these delights in the tent!

twohonesttruths_velvetdelight03 twohonesttruths_velvetdelight02 twohonesttruths_velvetdelight01 twohonesttruths_velvetdelight04 twohonesttruths_velvetdelight06twohonesttruths_velvetdelight07 twohonesttruths_velvetdelight05We also spent some time at Mission Bay enjoying some delicious food and soaking in some sunshine.

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So incredibly excited about strawberry season arriving. Our favourite fruit for sure!

twohonesttruths_strawberry01Please let us know what you think of our Weekend snaps posts, whether you enjoy having these posts in addition to our full restaurant reviews. 🙂

Here are a few snaps my friend and I took on a casual walk around Auckland.

twohonesttruths_foxtrotparlour09Of course, an adventure is never complete without food and as always, Foxtrot Parlour manages to make some show-stopping food. Be it from their sister The Dairy (read here), or this DIY donut that comes with its own saucy syringe and cream. Somehow when they give you some responsibility with compiling your food, it tastes just that much better. Be warned though, it gets crazy messy. You’ll be licking the sugar off your fingers, pulling apart the donut, handling the knife to get some cream, and working the syringe – which requires both hands. It may be useful for them to supply wet tissues of some sort at the end to avoid translating your sticky mess any further than your table. I would definitely recommend sharing the donut, we loved the salted caramel one.
twohonesttruths_foxtrotparlour01 twohonesttruths_foxtrotparlour02 twohonesttruths_foxtrotparlour03 twohonesttruths_foxtrotparlour04 twohonesttruths_foxtrotparlour06 twohonesttruths_foxtrotparlour05 twohonesttruths_foxtrotparlour07twohonesttruths_foxtrotparlour08We visited the museum and walked around Auckland Domain. You could also take bush-walks, explore the Wintergarden or just lie on your back and admire the blue skies. twohonesttruths_foxtrotparlour10 twohonesttruths_foxtrotparlour11 twohonesttruths_foxtrotparlour12 twohonesttruths_foxtrotparlour13Hope you all had a great weekend! We’re suffering from Mondayitis right now but Labour weekend is just round the corner, what are your plans?

twohonesttruths_FederalDelicatessen01The newly opened Federal Delicatessen (aka “The Fed”) is another of Al Brown’s creations. The atmosphere and decor of the restaurant is definitely not something you would expect from a typical Auckland eatery. Even the staff are dressed the part. We now officially have an NYC diner right here in the heart of the CBD! (Spot Al Brown in the photos)twohonesttruths_Federaldelicatessen06twohonesttruths_Federaldelicatessen07The Fed offers a kiwi twist on NYC jewish delicatessen. To drink we ordered the Egg Cream ($6), the Chimney Sweep ($4) and some orange juice. The Egg Cream was something new to me. It had a hint of soda and a subtle egg flavour. For those who love peanut butter and chocolate, the Chimney Sweep tastes just like a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup but less salty. We had to order another because we couldn’t get enough of it.twohonesttruths_Federaldelicatessen13twohonesttruths_Federaldelicatessen16As appetisers we had Latkes($18) which tasted similar to a hash brown served with salmon. The salmon was very fresh and the potato crispy. We also tried the Smoke Kahawai Cakes served with lime mayo ($14).twohonesttruths_Federaldelicatessen15twohonesttruths_Federaldelicatessen14For mains we shared a spit-roast chicken ($23). It was served with a pot of gravy that helped moisten the chicken as it was slightly dry – too dry for my liking. We also had Poutine ($9 small), a Canadian dish with fries, gravy and cheese curd which tended towards the saltier side.twohonesttruths_Federaldelicatessen18twohonesttruths_Federaldelicatessen17 To satisfy our sweet tooth we opted for the Banana & Toffee Pie with caramel popcorn ($11.50). It was delicious. It wasn’t overly sweet and I loved the addition of caramel popcorn.The Mom’s Recipe Lemon Meringue Pie ($11.50) was also a good choice. The lemon curd was tangy and paired well with freeze-dried raspberries.twohonesttruths_Federaldelicatessen09twohonesttruths_Federaldelicatessen10twohonesttruths_Federaldelicatessen03twohonesttruths_Federaldelicatessen04twohonesttruths_Federaldelicatessen20twohonesttruths_Federaldelicatessen08twohonesttruths_Federaldelicatessen11twohonesttruths_Federaldelicatessen12twohonesttruths_Federaldelicatessen02 twohonesttruths_Federaldelicatessen05twohonesttruths_Federaldelicatessen19As a newbie to this type of cuisine, the mains didn’t wow me particularly but dessert and the Chimney Sweeps certainly did. I would suggest also trying their breakfast and sandwich menu and their highly raved about NY Cheesecake.

Other Al Brown restaurants we have visited and blogged: Best Ugly Bagels, Depot Eatery.

Federal Delicatessen.
86 Federal Street, Auckland Central.
T: 09 363 7184

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twohonesttruths_theshelf1The Shelf is a new and popular addition to the High Street cafe scene. Inside, the restaurant is lined with wooden shelves filled with trinkets sourced by the owner over more than a year. It’s reasonably spacious for a city centre spot and service is friendly and efficient. To drink we had the Blueberry smoothie ($7.50) which was naturally sweetened and refreshing as well as the Lemon ginger honey ($7.50) that was served as a make-your-own. It was accompanied with a mini hourglass that told you when your drink was ready. Each item came with smiling cutlery. We then ordered a Cajun chicken salad ($17) and Chicken fettuccine ($18). The dishes were flavourful, the pasta creamy and the salad well seasoned. They were nothing out-of-this-world, just typical cafe food. As for dessert, their cheesecakes are a must-eat! Since we already had blueberries we chose the Lemon cheesecake ($7.50). It was super smooth and creamy with just the right sweetness and tang. The cheesecake is of a thicker consistency so if you prefer softer ones, this may not be the one for you.

This is a happy getaway in the bustling CBD, we’ll be back for more cakes and drinks and possibly some waffles too. The Iced mocha, Hot chocolate and Blueberry cheesecake are also worth trying. Note that there may be a short wait for tables.twohonesttruths_theshelf9 twohonesttruths_theshelf7twohonesttruths_theshelf2 twohonesttruths_theshelf3 twohonesttruths_theshelf4 twohonesttruths_theshelf6 twohonesttruths_theshelf5 twohonesttruths_theshelf15 twohonesttruths_theshelf8 twohonesttruths_theshelf14 twohonesttruths_theshelf13 twohonesttruths_theshelf12 twohonesttruths_theshelf10twohonesttruths_theshelf11The Shelf.
50 High Street, Auckland Central.

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On the coldest day of the year (yesterday), we braced ourselves and ventured out to do some quick shopping in Newmarket. We’d walked past Whoopie a few times since its opening but haven’t actually tasted them before. As we went quite late in the day, there weren’t that many flavours to choose from in the cabinet. That, and because Kely is allergic to chocolate (we hope it’s only temporary) our choices were limited. Mind you, the pies that contained chocolate looked super delicious. We settled on the Berry and Vanilla pie. At first we were expecting something overly sweet, like you find with the prepackaged ones that are sold in supermarkets. Whoopie has nailed it though, it was just the right amount of sweetness and of course freshly baked is always the best. The cake was soft and the filling so incredibly good. Our whoopie pie server was very thoughtful, helping us cut the pie in half to share – saving us from deciding who gets the first bite. We will definitely be returning. I’m actually craving for some more as I’m writing this post. Technically we should have been ordering something like hot tea to keep us warm but the happiness we experienced after wolfing down the whoopie pie did pretty much the same thing. There is a table in the little store for you to dine-in if you wish. A very dangerous seat. After trying one, you’ll be wanting to have another…and maybe just one more…there’ll be no leaving the store. We think the Whoopie owners should place some cushions on those stools and on the odd day, slide some whoopie cushions underneath them ha ha ha.

On a side note, we are super excited about Restaurant Month launching for August! Check out the menus here. We already have our eye on a few places we would like to try out. Be sure to link us your food adventures if you do partake in Restaurant Month, we’d love to hear where you guys have been so we can visit those restaurants too before August ends!

Because this was a spur of the moment visit, we didn’t have our camera with us. The following are just iPhone photos, hope you enjoy them nonetheless.whoopie1 photo-4photo-1photo-3whoopie3Whoopie.
2A Hakanoa Street, Grey Lynn
Shop 21, 10 Nuffield Street, Newmarket

P1016712On 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.P1016695 P1016705 P1016702 P1016700 P1016699 P1016685 P1016706 P1016707
Ortolana and Milse.
The Pavillions, Britomart, Auckland Central.

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