There's free coffee to be drunk at the best cafe in Auckland, Filipino food to be eaten at a festive celebration, and noodles to slurp at Victoria Park. Always stuff to do, huh.
Food news: 26 November-3 December
Free coffee on us. Well, on Flight Coffee and Top 50 Cafes Supreme Winner Williams Eatery, who are celebrating their Metro-bestowed Best Coffee win by slinging out some free ones between 7-9am this Friday. Promise you it’s good.
Friday 29 November | Williams Eatery
Taking place through the summer, the annual Night Noodle Markets returns this Friday, sprawling across Victoria Park with pop-up stalls serving up Asian food, from dumplings to Korean BBQ tacos to purple rice yoghurt. Entry is free as always; expect old favourites as well as some new faces.
Friday 29 November | Victoria Park
Parol is the Filipino term for Christmas Lantern, and its five-point star symbol is adorned on their houses every Christmas. Join in on the celebration with music, dance and food.
Saturday 30 November | Ellen Melville Centre
Get yourself in the Christmas mood with a Filipino-ish feast, matched with wines from Milton Vineyard and served in the magical St Kevin's Arcade. Four courses, wine included, for $98.16. Perfect way to kick off the holiday season.
Sunday 1 December | Gemmayze St
Coffee Pen Little Market
I was told Coffee Pen’s last market was heaving with people (more than 700!), and the announced line-up at this one suggests it will be more or less the same. From 9am-2pm, local makers sell their wares, with food cooked using produce from the OMG gardens. Some exhibitors on show include Cloud Workshop, Klay, Petley, Thea, Coffee Supreme and Platform Store. 5% of all sales will go to Auckland City Mission.
Sunday 1 December | Coffee Pen
Don’t be like me and skim-read the summary then get unnecessarily excited by Rene Redzepi’s name. Alas, the man behind Noma will only be here in spirit, maybe, possibly giving over a recipe/idea for Peter Gordon and his team to cook as part of the worldwide Grand Gelinaz Shuffle, which will be taking place all around the world. (I say maybe because Redzepi’s is one of many recipes Gordon could get – Redzepi will also be participating, somewhere across the world.) The idea is to remix and explore new ideas, swapping recipes in the name of creativity. The ticket price is in euros, €100, which is about NZD$175 for eight courses.
Tuesday 3 December | The Sugar Club
Dear Deer Roasting Bar open a new outpost, this time a bit more central, in Newmarket. Man, that suburb must be getting ready to bust open at the seams. 3B/77 Broadway, Newmarket
Speaking of Newmarket, there are a whole host of new openings at 277, including Canto Canto, Master Bao, Tsujiri and more. 277 Broadway, Newmarket
What We Ate This Week
Jean Teng and Alex Blackwood
Batchwell x Kokako Cascara Kombucha
Initially tastes just like regular kombucha, except there's a long lingering cherry sweetness right at the end, a lightness I don't often find with other kombucha. Refreshing. - JT
I’ve tried to get into Cotto to eat their bloody cacio e pepe twice since they put it on the menu, but have been turned away by two-hour waits each time. This time round I got smarter and went during Friday lunch, where we were only one of three tables. And their ricotta cavatelli cacio e pepe is good; slightly mellower than I like (the ricotta) but immensely tasty in its satisfying savouriness. I thought the cavatelli, slightly plumper than normal, did the cheese sauce justice, working as chewy morsels which swiped up the sauce well. – JT
375 Karangahape Rd, Auckland
Zool Zool Tonkotsu Ramen
This was a rich, delicious bowl of ramen – a little on the salty side, and I did find myself dousing it in extra chili, but it was delicious nonetheless. Unfortunately, my fellow diner got the tantan ramen and I had an awful case of food envy. The peanut spice in his dish was very, very good and I will have to go back and get my own bowl of it soon. - AB
Ramen Do Spicy Miso Ramen with pork belly
(Ramen twice in one week!? Am I ok?) They really mean it when they say they put extra effort into their broth here. It’s thick and flavourful. The pork belly is decadent and tender. The bowl is huge though and I would feel much less wasteful if they had a smaller version with less noodles. - AB
READ MORE: Cacio e pepe: A simple pasta dish that's surprisingly hard to find in Auckland
Matcha croissant at Mr T’s
Good croissant, could have more matcha flavour to it. – JT
210 Onehunga Mall, Onehunga
Nanita’s Cocina Mexicana
I’ve never been so boldly approached and swiftly taken under someone’s wing at a food outlet before. Before I knew it, Silvia had dropped some salsa from her large metal pot onto the back of my mind for me to lick, lifting up all a manner of lids for me to peer in at what’s steaming away. And, yes, this was before I even told her I wrote for Metro – she just welcomes everyone this way. The food here is cooked with care and consideration of tradition – corn husks are imported from Mexico – and is different to what you can get elsewhere. My favourite of the night was a tlacoyos, flattened corn dough topped with cactus, cheese, salsa, onion and lettuce. – JT
4-10 Kilham Avenue, Northcote
Peach’s Hot Chicken
Achy-breaky stomach, to be honest. Let me tell you the story of my suffering. Right now I have a low-grade stomach ache, and have had one since I ate a OG Sandwich at Holy Cluck heat about 18 hours ago. Not their fault – the sandwich was delicious and I would eat it again, no question – but I’m an idiot who needed to “prove something” to myself and to affirm my “fragile identity”. There are random rolls of pain, followed by me thinking I’m fine, then drinking coffee and realising that, no, I’m not fine. Wow, that fried chicken, though! – JT
1/100 Queens Rd, Panmure