Metro Eats No. 13: Welcome to 2021
Welcome back to Metro Eats, a weekly food newsletter about Auckland’s food scene.
After a glorious break from any type of content creation during the break (that is, no Instagram, doom scrolling, or taking photos of food) I’m here again for another year of letting you know what makes Auckland such a good city to eat in.
If you’re reading this for the first time (hello!), here’s a little refresh on what to expect.
The function of Metro Eats is to act as a guide to Auckland’s food and what’s interesting about it, but to do so in a way that encompasses places and eats other traditional food media might miss or not bother about. It explores the food world through restaurants, cafes, bars, markets, pop-ups and local personalities. I talk to people sometimes, I rant self-indulgently sometimes, and I review sometimes. It’s done (hopefully) in a considered way. I also direct people towards deeper delves of issues within the restaurant/food scene, because I think those are important.
So that’s what you’ll find at Metro Eats, and I hope you like it here. But, like you maybe, I also strive to engage in conversations on things like food systems, producers, historical foodways, colonialism, inequities and more. So if you’re interested in food beyond the restaurant scene, scroll down for (the accessible things) I recommend reading and signing up for.
Otherwise, follow this newsletter to get recommendations on where to eat bomb things! Sometimes that’s all we really need in life! At least, it makes me happy.
SkyCity’s ‘90s Federal St Party
Celebrate the 25th anniversary of the tower with a ‘90s themed party featuring Annie Crummer, Che-Fu, Jordan Luck Band and Nice’n’Urlich. Food trucks, dancers and more, plus it’s totally free.
Friday 29 January, 5pm onwards
The Cookie Project
There will be ox-shaped cookies to celebrate the Lunar New Year (it’s the Year of the Ox) at the 2021 Chinese New Year Festival & Market Day. More food stalls will be available there, too, but you can’t beat cookies in red-topped glass jars during CNY. Saturday 30 January
My Mother’s Kitchen x Tasting Shed
Yeshi from Ethiopian food pop-up My Mother’s Kitchen has come up with a menu with Tasting Shed’s head chef, Tamara Johnson, for a four-round spread of snacks and more.
$89pp. Friday 5 February
Farm Dinners at Kelmarna Gardens x Forest
This event isn’t for a while, but since it always sells out, here’s a little reminder. Forest (the plant-based restaurant headed by chef Plabita Florence) will pop up for four days in the lush surroundings of Kelmarna from 17-20 February. Get tickets here.
Taco Tuesdays at Madame George
It’s been a good year for tacos, and these at Madame George are pretty fucking good. Just go try them, and get a tostada topped with smoked mussels, too.
490 Karangahape Rd, K’Rd Precinct
If you’re not familiar with tortas, they’re essentially a sandwich served on soft bread. At Miss Torta, the sibling of Mr Taco around the corner, they arrive like pillows, sliced in half and filled with things like carnitas, pastor, milanesa (breaded beef) and the cubana. An immensely satisfying lunch.
75C Victoria Street West, central city
I think today is possibly the last day they’re open, so hit them up. Expect a wait.
277 Rosebank Rd, Avondale
This was my first time at Hugo’s, a restaurant that I think has been on our Top 50 every year since it first opened. It’s on Shortland Street, so as an inner-city restaurant it’s only open on weekdays. There was a beautiful, fresh burrata dish and a tender octopus that tasted good enough to make me forget how smart they are.
67 Shortland St, central city
The new space works for them. Cosier, with ceilings so low you can almost touch the lanterns. My dish of the night was the whole baked snapper, deboned and topped with a herb-and-ginger medley. The dipping sauce was served on the side rather than poured over, which let you taste just how fresh the fish was.
27 Galway St, Britomart
There’s a great wine list (including nattys) at this bar in Devonport, but I can’t forget about the sheer joy my coeliac friend expressed once seeing that the Korean fried chicken was gluten-free — an extreme rarity, I’m told. Both the honey soy and gochujang varieties are GF, and they’ll fry separately if you ask.
8 Victoria Rd, Devonport
A totally vegetarian (and therefore incredibly vegan friendly) restaurant in the central city, featuring dishes that draw influence from all around Asia. The food looks heavy on Thai flavours, with some Japanese, Chinese and South-East Asian (like gado-gado) there too.
63-67 Nelson St, central city
The newest from Hip Group, Alma is Spanish-inspired, specifically Andalusian, and open from breakfast to dinner. Dishes look fresh, seasonal and ingredient-led, which is the Hip Group MO.
Cnr of Gore & Tyler St, Britomart
The old Korean-Chinese restaurant that used to be in this spot, Harimgak, has permanently closed. But a new Korean-Chinese restaurant has taken its place, serving similar dishes.
20 Link Dr, Wairau Valley
I’ve been hearing a bit about this Indonesian place operating out of Kebab King, cooking mainly Sudanese food. Lots of grilled things (fish, chicken, ribs). Its popularity has taken over the popularity of the kebabs, so expect a bit of a wait if you do order from there.
193 Dominion Rd, Mt Eden
New place on the Shore (Albany Village) serving smashed burgers, with a ‘90s vibe inspired by American diners. They are only open during dinner, operating out of the Pioneer Pie Co. space.
247 Dairy Flat Highway, Old Albany Village
Spotted on Instagram that there’s a new outlet specialising in jiangbing (Chinese pancakes). No trace on Google, but it looks to be on Lorne St, right opposite Kaya.
Lorne St, central city
Mrs 3 Banh Mi
There’s a new banh mi spot in Newmarket on Remuera Rd – have not heard reports, but there’s two five-star Google reviews, so someone try it and report back!
36 Remuera Rd, Newmarket
On the radar
Looks like there will be a new coffee spot in Ponsonby called Prime. Judging by who they’re following, it’s probably owned by the same people behind Neighbour in Grey Lynn.
As reported in Viva, Clare and Joost van den Berg (previously of Odettes Eatery and Hugo’s Bistro), are opening a new Greek restaurant called Daphnes on Ponsonby Rd in the near future (old Garden Party space).
Other food media recommendations
Last year, one of my favourite food newsletters Vittles announced that for their “third season”, they were focusing on counteracting the “soft liberalism” of food media perpetuated by publications like Lucky Peach – that is, this idea that food can act as some sort of universal connector, as a political equaliser.
To say we can be reconciled because we all wrap meat in bread is a comforting lie, but the converse, that our differences mean we cannot be reconciled and come to a mutual understanding, is also untrue.
In it, the newsletter’s founder, Jonathan Nunn, makes an argument that we shouldn’t shy away from the fact that everyone, due to a combination of culture, circumstances, gender, nationality, disability etc. all eat differently.
Here are some of my suggestions:
The new issue of Stone Soup Syndicate is on the streets now, and is one of the few food publications of its type that has a distinct Aotearoa-lens. It’s also their last issue in the current print form.
Alicia Kennedy’s newsletter, which features really interesting, “slow” food writing that addresses our relationship with food in all its macro and micro nuances
Vittles, as previously mentioned, a newsletter which accepts commissions for long-form food essays from a wide variety of people around the globe; they also pay 350 pounds to each writer (that’s around $660 NZD) which is extremely admirable for a newsletter
In Digestion, another food newsletter which rounds up the best food writing of the week from across the internet; this is a great little one to have in your inbox
Magnation has the latest issue of Cherry Bombe, a food magazine that focuses on women in the industry
Civil Eats, a website dedicated to reporting and in-depth long-form on the American food system