Photo: Jess Allen

Metro Recommends: The mussel fritters from the Matakana Market

This week (making her authorial debut!) our art director Jess Allen can't recommend the mussel fritters on sourdough bread from the Matakana Market highly enough.

Last week: Metro Recommends: Bake & Beans Chicken Manchurian pie

Last Saturday morning the fella and I woke up to a glorious sunny spring-like day, hurrah! We (okay he) had the idea to head north to the Matakana Market. So, we drove for an hour to join allll the other Aucklanders who had the same brilliant idea. Once you battle for a park miles away from the market, it's a jolly nice wee spot to spend a day. The market is open 8am-1pm every Saturday and is jammed with local stalls selling an array of good food and fresh produce, indeed a wholesome outing.

After circling the stalls a few times, and admiring the array of cute pups at the ‘Dog Post’ (a genius doggie day-care service right beside the market). It was time to tuck in to some lunch. I decided on a mussel fritter. Other tempting options included a gourmet looking whitebait fritter, and some freshly made dumplings. The queue for the dumplings however was less appealing. I was pretty smug about my fritter decision. The mussel delight was plump and golden, served on fresh sourdough bread, smothered with garlic aioli, garnished with some fresh parsley and a squeeze of lemon. Salty, satisfying and delicious. I didn’t share a morsel. It came in at a mere $10. Pleased with my relatively cheap eat, I then felt the need to blow the budget on buying the world’s smallest freshly squeezed ‘green’ juice for a fiver... Followed by a soy flat white. Yes, JAFA goes to Matakana.

The village charm of this lunch destination is you can sit by the river to eat, listen to the live band belting out familiar tunes and watch the people and kids pass by you.

Our jaunt north was rounded off nicely with a pit stop on the way home to the Puhoi pub, for a pint in the sunshine. A must-do if you are passing by home. The pub interior is beaut, an eclectic mix of photos and memorabilia. The bustle of local geezers, biker dudes and families makes for more excellent people watching, and a novel way to spend an afternoon. I clocked some mussel fritters on their menu too, so shall have to return for a sampler soon.

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