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Metro Eats No. 9: Top 50 Cheap Eats, what's good in Auckland

Metro Eats No. 9: Top 50 Cheap Eats, what's good in Auckland

Nov 27, 2020 Metro Eats

Every week, we round up what’s happening in Auckland’s food scene, tell you where to eat, catch up on the latest food media happenings, and have a chat to some interesting people.

These arrive in your inbox before midday on Friday and will land on the website a little later. If you’d like to receive this weekly newsletter straight to your email, you can subscribe at the bar above.

Hey all,

It’s been a week. Yesterday, the first issue of Metro launched, and it’s been exciting to finally have it out in the world. If you haven’t yet subscribed, you can have a little sneak preview of what’s in the latest right here.

The Top 50 in this issue is Cheap Eats, which is where my journey with Metro started, so I have an unimaginable soft-spot for it. The list is also populated by the type of restaurants I grew up on and, like most people, where I eat the most. This year’s index runs from Avondale to Glen Eden to Mt Eden to New Lynn to Ōtara to Ponsonby and more, so it’s likely there will be something within your vicinity.

As always, we couldn’t have done it without our panel. This year, they are: Tze Ming Mok, who was an invaluable source for my Monsoon Poon piece earlier this year and has immense Twitter game;

Charlotte Muru-Lanning (@charlotteteinuwai, NOT @charlotteteunuwai that was printed in the mag, sorry, Charlotte) who is currently interning for The Spinoff and has penned some great stories for them already;

May-Lee Wong, who is an astute food reviewer at her blog, Eat it Auckland;

Alexia Santamaria, a long-time contributor to Metro Cheap Eats and freelances at Stuff and other places;

Anna King Shahab, another old friend of the show, and co-founder of Facebook group Lazy Susan, who has a cookbook Auckland Eats (with recipes from iconic Auckland eateries) coming out soon;

Ruby White, chef, ex-cafe owner (Small Fry at Te Tuhi), artist and all-around amazing Instagram follow.

Oh, yeah, and me and Henry.

Also attached to Cheap Eats this year, thanks to support from Asia New Zealand Foundation Te Whītau Tūhono, is a feature I wrote focusing on four of the places that made our list. We couldn’t quite fit in one of the recipes, the Sop Buntut (Indonesian oxtail soup) from It’s Java, so I thought I’d share it here. This is the only spoiler I’ll give you. Buy the issue to find out the rest!

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the latest issue, especially if you’d like to yell at me about the list, and you can do that at

— Jean

Correction: Last week, I incorrectly said that Hayden Phiskie, the current head chef at Ada and most recently at Cotto , had previously worked at Delicious. Not true! That’d be John Pountney, the current head at Cotto. Apologies!

What’s happening

As we’re now rapidly barrelling our way into summer, food truck events have started to multiply all over the city. There’s Food Truck Friday’s at Britomart, of course, but also Onehunga Food Truck night with my personal faves, Miso-Ra and Hapunan (Saturday 28).

It’s your last chance to get some seltzer ice cream at LF Seltzer’s Scoop Shop pop-up this Saturday (in collab with Island Gelato). There is something about seltzer in the latest issue, too, if that’s your thing.

For the first three Thursdays of December, Karangahape Rd are running an activation called Kirihimete kei Karangahape, where shops will stay open till 9pm and restaurants and bars have wallet-friendly deals, like 2 pizzas for $35 at Coco’s Cantina (4.30-6.30pm) and bubbles and oysters from $25 from Bar Céleste .

Gochu  at Commercial Bay and Barney Toy, the co-owner of  Clipper  in Ponsonby, have created a cocktail menu with matching snacks at $65 a head.

Dessert slingers Final Course Only are putting on a Bake Sale at Grey Lynn this weekend, with all profits going to charity “We For Kids”. For more info, click here.

Fried chicken joint Winner Winner (also at Pukekohe, Hamilton etc.) is opening a store in Takapuna this Monday and is giving out free fried chicken for its first 100 customers.
16 Anzac St, Takapuna

What’s good

Sashimi of Japan , on Dominion Rd, and owned by the same people behind Japanese Ajimi in Onehunga and Lantern Bar in Kingsland, have an immensely good bang-for-your-buck sashimi don. The Deluxe Sashimi Donburi, will fill you up and more, for $30.
613 Dominion Rd, Mt Eden

Pizza fritta at Ada (deep-fried pizza!) – can recommend.
454 Great North Rd, Grey Lynn

On the radar

Savor Group have two new openings this week: a second  Azabu  at Mission Bay (44 Tamaki Drive) and Lobster and Wagyu, a rooftop eatery at Britomart (maybe a fun portmanteau name could have worked here… Lobgyu? Never mind). Yeah, you heard right – lobster and wagyu, which you can eat together in a $41.90 burger, if your heart so desires.

Candela , a Spanish-influenced wine bar, is opening soon (next week, hopefully?) on Karangahape Rd. More on that later.
155 Karangahape Rd

Speaking of Karangahape – a new bao place, Bun and Bao, is open there now.
295 Karangahape Rd

Recommended reading

If you somehow haven’t heard about it yet, please read up on Christchurch’s C1 Espresso, namely the case of bullying, manipulation and various other illegal employee-employer breaches carried out by owner Sam Crofskey. Stories of bad hospitality owners are not unique, even in New Zealand, and I’d encourage to make good decisions on who you give your money to.

Plus: Sop Buntut (Indonesian oxtail soup) from It’s Java

Here’s a dish most of us can and will cook easily at home. The soup is best eaten when still piping hot with a bowl of steamed white rice, the chilli sauce and a squeeze of lime juice.


1 kg oxtail
2.5L water
2 tbsp canola oil
1 cinnamon stick
5 cloves
1 tsp nutmeg
250g carrots
250g potatoes
Salt to taste

Spice paste
Grind the following

100g shallots (bawang merah)
5 cloves garlic (bawang putih)
1-inch ginger (jahe)
½ large onion (bawang Bombay)

Garnish and accompaniments
1 tomato (tomat), cut into small slices
1 scallion (daun bawang), thinly sliced
2 Chinese celery (daun seledri), thinly sliced
1 lime, cut into wedges
Deep-fried shallot flakes (bawang merah goreng)

Boil oxtails and water in a soup pot, then simmer until the meat is tender. This usually takes about 2 hours. If you have a pressure cooker, you can reduce the cooking time considerably to a mere 30 minutes. Remove oxtails from the stock and set aside. Strain the stock to get a clear broth. Return the broth and oxtails back to the pot.

In a frying pan, heat oil and sauté spice paste, cinnamon stick, cloves, and nutmeg until fragrant for about 5 minutes. Add this to the pot with broth and oxtails.

Bring the oxtail and broth back to a boil. Add carrot and potato and season with salt, sugar, and ground white pepper. Reduce heat and cook until carrot and potato are cooked and tender, but still quite firm – about 20 minutes. Adjust salt and sugar as needed.

Turn off heat, serve the soup with slices of tomato, scallion, and Chinese celery. Sprinkle the soup with some deep-fried shallot flakes.


Latest issue shadow

Metro N°442 is Out Now.

In the Autumn 2024 issue of Metro we celebrate the best of Tāmaki Makaurau — 100 great things about life in Auckland, including our favourite florist, furniture store, cocktail, basketball court, tree, make-out spot, influencer, and psychic. The issue also includes the Metro Wine Awards, the battle over music technology company Serato, the end of The Pantograph Punch, the Billy Apple archives, a visit to Armenia, viral indie musician Lontalius, the state of fine dining, and the time we bombed West Auckland to kill a moth. Plus restaurants, movies, politics, astrology, and more.

Buy the latest issue