Oct 22, 2013 Cheap Eats
Langkawi (photo: Ken Downie / Metro)
754 Manukau Rd, Royal Oak
It’s in an old Pizza Hut, original brown wall tiles intact, but don’t let that put you off. Compared to bog-standard Indian joints, Kairali’s distinctively flavoured curries are a delicious revelation.Really cheap too.
Mid City, Elliott St, CBD
This tiny 9-seater is the perfect place for a quick bowl of warming umami-rich ramen and some gyoza before a movie or show. At lunchtimes, try to get in before midday or risk a stomach-rumbling wait.
5/42 Paramount Drive, Henderson
The staff add their own Korean touches to the mostly Chinese menu here, like complimentary pickled turnip served with homemade soybean paste. The dumplings are fat, juicy and delicious, and not at all greasy.
Chinese / Korean
Kushi Japanese Kitchen and Bar
22 Durham St West, CBD
Tucked down the less- salubrious end of Durham St, Kushi is a spacious, welcoming place where as much care has been taken over the gorgeous décor as the well-cooked food. Check out the Japanese drumming performance every Friday at 7.30pm.
122 Kitchener Rd, Milford
Some careful ordering may be needed to keep under the $20 limit (the menu on their website quotes lower takeaway-only prices) but it’s worth the trouble: zingy Malay-Chinese food, warm service and some crazily kitsch décor make Langkawi a winner.
327 Karangahape Rd, K’ Rd Precinct
No soggy microwaved falafels here — they’re deep fried to order, and come out perfectly crunchy, the perfect foil to some lemony parsley-rich tabouleh. We love the complimentary apple tea too.
The Lucky Taco
Based at 230 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby
Otis and Sarah Frizzell spent ages researching Mexican food before opening their Ponsonby Rd food truck, and it shows — these tacos are bursting with fresh ingredients and authentic flavours.
Mamak Malaysian (photo: Ken Downie / Metro)
50 Kitchener St, CBD
The regulars love Jeffrey, the owner and your host in this wonderfully comforting eaterie, and newcomers usually don’t take long to share the feeling. There are several excellent Malaysian restaurants in town, but you’ll pay a bit more at almost all of them without eating any better. Dinner at Mamak is still under $20, hooray, and we challenge you to find a better laksa anywhere in town.
137 Princes Wharf, Viaduct (& elsewhere)
Having run Mexican restaurants in the States before opening their first place here in 2005, what the owners don’t know about Cal-Mex isn’t worth knowing. The tortillas are corn, the chillies are flown in from Mexico, and the slow-cooked beef babacoa is to die for.
Middle East Cafe
23a Wellesley St West, CBD
Metro has praised the shawarmas at this place for as long as it has been making them, but really, the whole menu, while reading like a standard Middle Eastern list, is done exceptionally well.
1a Kitchener Rd, Sandringham
Consistently great vegetarian Indian food, with a side helping of friendly and enthusiastic service. The focus here is on mini-meal-sized chaat; for something different, try the samosa chaat — samosa pieces submerged in a thick, spicy curry with added green and sweet chutney.
North Indian Vegetarian
543 Dominion Rd, Balmoral
Not to be confused with Epsom’s My Kitchen Express, this Mt Eden eatery comprises a downstairs takeaway outlet and a spacious Taiwan-Chinese restaurant up the stairs. The popcorn chicken, a popular Taiwanese street-food snack, is super addictive.