601 New North Rd, Morningside. Ph 849-7268, 601newnorthroad.co.nz.
Lunch & dinner Tuesday-Saturday. $$
It’s not just the top end of Japanese dining in Auckland that keeps getting better. While the bright lights of the big city shine on Masu, Cocoro, Ebisu and others, there’s an ever-growing list of places doing sushi, ramen, ikakaya, gyoza, yakitori, right throughout greater Auckland. Many of them are delightful little places, and none more so than 601, formerly Sake Bar 601, in Morningside. In their tiny shop with open kitchen, the stern-looking but sublimely inspired chef Hiroshi Miyata produces a delectable series of dishes, while Gen Ogata runs the floor with grace and very good humour. There’s some pretty unusual fusion going on here, alongside the classics: kumara and agria chips, say, which are crisped up with tempura; and alongside the lovely red bean paste offerings for dessert there is, ahem, fair trade tempura banana with chocolate ice cream. Yes, 601 is now a certifiable neighbourhood classic.
A favourite dish: Nabe-yaki (seafood hot pot) with udon noodles.
Shared Plate Options / Fixed Price Meals / Vegetarian Food / Free Range Chicken and/or pork