Oct 22, 2013 Cheap Eats
The White Lady (photo: Ken Downie / Metro)
18 Fort St, CBD
Almost all the burger bars have faded off our list, as the standards and variety and sheer quantity of other kinds of food keep rising. But Velvet is keeping pace: super-tasty food, smart décor, quick and attentive service. The best classically gourmet-style burgers in town.
29 Nuffield St, Newmarket
Closed in High St now but still the best place to eat on the Nuffield St strip, Wagamama offers bowls of tasty, good-looking goodness in a room oozing with sleekly modernist/Japanese panache.
Wang Wang Spring Pancake
704 Dominion Rd, Balmoral
Pancakes are traditionally eaten in northern China to celebrate the start of spring. Perfect right now, and Wang Wang does them really well. Order a pile and a couple of dishes — perhaps pork or thin potato strips with spring onion and bean sprouts — and dig in.
18 Commerce St, CBD
When they get older, losing their hair… If we stay out till quarter to three, will they lock the door? Will we still need them, will they still feed us, when they’re 64? Sorry, we couldn’t resist. The White Lady really is 64 this year. And yes, at quarter to three, in the morning, they are definitely still feeding us. Never been? Two words… Steak. Burger.
Burgers & Takeaways
11 Anzac Ave, CBD (& elsewhere)
You don’t go here for the vibe — there isn’t one. You go to eat comfort food at its best: hand-pulled noodles in soup, or dry with beautiful slow-cooked toppings; cumin-spiced lamb in Xi’an pita bread; tasty soups. Ridiculously cheap and enormous portions.
242a Dominion Rd, Mt Eden
It feels a bit like you’re in someone’s lounge and if you don’t have any Mandarin, communication can be a bit tricky, but the food is really good. Like its unrelated namesake above, the owners here hail from Xi’an, the ancient Chinese city at the Silk Route’s eastern terminus.
1091 New North Rd, Mt Albert
If you enjoy spicy Sichuan food, this should be on your list. Xiang Cai House (the name isn’t shown outside — look for “1091 New North Road”) features dishes from Hunan province, close to Sichuan, and nearly everything comes with a dash of heat. Steamed smoked pork is a signature dish.
61 Normanby Rd, Mt Eden; also 53 Shortland St, CBD
The first place (we think) in town to introduce American-style takeout boxes, Wok’n Noodle Bar is a reliable, no-fuss, mixed Asian dishes joint, keeping up with trends with, yes, a Paleo diet menu on the side.
145 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby
Brown rice! If that means something to you, you’ll love it here. If it doesn’t, you’ll probably still love it, because everything we’ve eaten at Yuzu has been delightfully full of flavour. Cheap and cheerful, and comfortable and elegant.
639 Dominion Rd, Balmoral (also Commerce St, CBD & Pt Chevalier)
When you want your takeout (or dine in) zippily fresh and tasty, the Essan Thai cuisine of Zap exactly hits the spot.