Above: Cafe Abyssinia, photo by Ken Downie.
Tulja Centre, 190 Stoddard Rd, Mt Roskill
Get together with, say, five friends, venture into the depths of Mt Roskill and have a North African feast. Imagine giant pancake- like enjeras topped with powerfully spiced Ethiopian stews. Everyone gets their fingers sticky, everyone has a wonderful time and, best of all, everyone leaves fit to burst. Do not miss the chicken — it’s really, really good.
FISH AND FRIENDS
414 Titirangi Rd, Titirangi
An ex-O’Connell Street Bistro chef heads the kitchen at this local chippy, and it shows. He serves buttery fish in a cloud of beer batter, handcut chips (skin on), homemade pork and fennel sausages in squidgy, gourmet hot dog buns and vibrant (it’s possible!) mushy peas. The All Good Organics range and Mister Milkshakes complete the fast-food-made-gourmet experience. Stephen Ward has raised the bar for fish and chip shops everywhere. Open Wednesday to Sunday nights only.
Fish and Chips, new listing
3113 Great North Rd, New Lynn
If you’ve ever been to an izakaya in Japan, this will take you right back there. Fun food for sharing, cute cat characters on the menu, and a cheerful “Irasshaimase” as you walk in. Ingredients are super-fresh and cooked with careful attention to flavour balance. The pork belly and onion yakitori are borderline addictive, and if you like mustard, the mustard mayo chicken with its tender meat and bold sauce is the perfect tangy, creamy chickeny combo.
Japanese vegetarian friendly, licensed, BYO
JAI JALARAM KHAMAN
39 Boundary Rd, Blockhouse Bay
Hitesh and Varsha Thakkar are back in Blockhouse Bay, where they originally began offering their range of Gujarati vegetarian and vegan dishes. Their traditional puri bhaji, pau bhaji and vege pulao khadi don’t disappoint; neither will their famous khaman of steamed chickpea paste with mustard and spices, served with green chutney and chillies. There is plenty of Gujarati chaat in the form of dahi puri, sev puri, bhel puri or papdi chaat.
South Indian, vegetarian friendly
MR ZHOU'S DUMPLINGS
3130 Great North Rd, New Lynn
New Lynn has a smart new train station and bus terminal, a strikingly eye-catching tower block and all sorts of growth and rejuvenation, but the place that leads the way is Mr Zhou’s Dumplings. Bin Zhou was a pioneer in Balmoral, with New Flavour, and now he’s happily doing it all over again out west. This is how cities grow: planners plan, but it comes to nothing unless clever people come along and do things.
Northern Chinese, vegetarian friendly
3120 Great North Rd, New Lynn
Paasha is not much more than a takeout with a couple of tables, but you really don’t care where you’re eating after one bite of their shish kebabs. These are displayed in a refrigerated cabinet and grilled over hot coals once ordered. The result is tenderness beyond belief, with enough Middle Eastern spice to complement rather than overpower. Touches like a dusting of sumac make this far more than your ordinary kebab shop.
Middle Eastern, licensed
Tulja Centre, 190 Stoddard Rd, Mt Roskill
Mt Roskill’s secret gem, serving Sri Lankan cuisine with influences from Jaffna. We recommend you start with freshly made snacks of mutton pan roll, chicken- and vegetable-stuffed roti roll and ulundu vada accompanied by coconut chutney. For a typical Sri Lankan meal, follow with kottu, string hoppers or roti and a side of Jaffna chicken curry.
Sri Lankan, vegetarian friendly
1270 Dominion Rd, Mt Roskill
Youges Subramaniam is a legend. Her cooking reflects her background (Malaysian) and her native South India, so vadai, roti canai, thosai, idli and uthappam are on offer alongside the curries, nasi lemak and sambal of Malaysia. Goat is a specialty but Santhiya’s is best known for its weekend offerings: Saturday’s nasi biryani set, and on Sunday, a South Indian feast of rice, lamb and chicken curry, plus four sides and a poppadom. Halal.
Malaysian/South Indian, vegetarian friendly
3/1 Rata St, New Lynn
Some say it’s the best pizza Napoletana in the whole city, and we are inclined to agree. After all, pizzaiolo and owner Francesco Acri represented New Zealand at the World Pizza Championship in Italy this year after winning the NZ Pizza Championship in 2015. While authentic, the toppings lean towards generous at Settebello, and we like that. The “earlybird” $15 pizza-and-Peroni deal is pure gold.
Pizza, licensed, BYO, vegetarian friendly
164 Stoddard Rd, Mt Roskill
It’s a hole in the wall in an industrial zone, so small it’s easy to miss. But Marghoob Hasan, the owner and chef, is the real deal: his biryani is brilliantly tasty and he’s a whiz with the tandoor oven. Try the chicken tikka, which is splendidly smoky.
North Indian, vegetarian friendly
919 Dominion Rd, Mt Roskill
Tasty Noodles has a sort of diner feel — fancy booths with vinyl banquettes and Formica tables. There are hand-pulled noodles — make sure you order them “dry” with sour-spicy pork — and lamb dumplings, and a superb side of black mushrooms with mustard chilli sauce. But the thing you really, really need to try is the “jar soup”, a traditional medicinal soup cooked in a giant urn over slowly smouldering charcoal, deeply flavoured with bones and umami.
1238 Dominion Rd, Mt Roskill
There’s an extensive menu to work through but go for the Hunanese classics here — smoked pork, the slow-braised dishes and
cold sides. Hunanese cuisine features chilli balanced by vinegar, so you’ll find pickled vegetables help ease the heat. One of the very large main dishes, plus several small sides, can easily satisfy two budget-conscious diners.
Hunanese, Licensed, BYO
Eden Terrace/Mt Eden/Dominion Rd
Grey Lynn/Herne Bay/K'Rd precinct/Ponsonby