Jan 21, 2022 Metro Eats
Back again! Back to sitting in an office with the neverending noise of Auckland Central’s construction banging around inside my head. Back to a million open Google Doc tabs with disparate, dumb ideas. Back to my internal narrative convincing me that I need to buy an iced coffee, as a little treat. Back to making a magazine. And back to eating and talking about food in Auckland.
Everyone in my life is probably sick of me talking about our new flat’s dining table (so I guess now I’m imposing it on to all of you), which we are in the process of making (if anyone has some recommendations for a CNC that can cut out a table top, let me know). However, after going through my old Vittles newsletters, I stumbled across this piece called Table Talk on the importance of the dining table, which sort of explains why I’ve been so annoying about insisting on one.
When I moved out for the first time, the dining table in the flat I joined as an interloper was piled high with the detritus of everyday life: letters, books, a sewing machine, a shrugged-off jacket. My flatmates always ate dinner in front of the TV on the couch (which was fine) but the absence of a functional dining table quickly disturbed me. Not only was it sometimes impossible to eat the type of food that I cooked (multiple dishes, a plate of rice) on a couch, but it felt like the centrepiece of… something was missing. It wasn’t even necessarily the physicality, but more the idea of a table, as somewhere to gather, and chat, and share kai.
Growing up, I ate all my meals at a family dining table. Sometimes we ate in complete silence; sometimes we ate while a masked Joey from Shortland Street was strangling someone on the screen in front of us. But this ritual of togetherness, however icy, encouraged an intrinsic part of how I think about food; no matter how I’m feeling about someone, or a situation, food trumps all of it. It trumps anger. It trumps annoyance. We’ll swallow the shit, go out to dinner, and have a meal quietly, together, until the tension dissapates – and it always does, when we’re fed and full.
As Omicron looks set to enter the community (in fact, a couple of cases have been announced at the time I’m writing this), even more time spent around the dinner table may be in our future. Might as well make it a nice one.
p.s. It’s Chinese New Year soon! If anyone has any suggestions for what to eat and what to do during this time, I’d love to hear them.
A new Indian restaurant on Ponsonby Rd, Mumbaiwala is the Auckland version of its original branch in Christchurch. Food is mostly Mumbai street food, with a separate Vegan menu.
Another new opening in Ponsonby (this one further down at 38 Jervois Rd), Gbangu does heaps of varieties of fried chicken, and other usual offerings like bo ssam, gamjatang etc.
First Look: Slowlane officially opened in Greenlane this week. Read more about it on our website here.
There’s a new Cinta Malaysian (there used to be one on Dominion Rd, along with current CBD branches) in Albany, at L2/15 Mercari Way.
The Poni Room in Commercial Bay has had a refresh and makeover by David Lee (of Gochu, Candy Shop etc.), plus a new name, Pōni. Slightly confused by the macron in the name (does it mean something in another language? Not te reo, I don’t think), but it does look much better: more neutral, earthy tones to the restaurant’s previous shades of pink.
Facebook Auckland food group Lazy Susan, with Leftfield, is hosting a BYO Awards that aims to crown a BYO restaurant in Tāmaki as the best in Auckland. You can submit your suggestions here.
I ate at Chi Chi Kitchen in Onehunga the other day, which is a cute little neighbourhood spot on Rawhiti Rd run by (what I can tell) a mother/daughter duo. We especially liked the spring rolls – fairly thin, crispy, tasty.
I bought an overnights oats cob (which is smaller and cheaper than a full tin) from Florets, and it was less dense than their other options, lighter but still filling. It did go stale quicker, though. I ate slices with Unda smoked baltic sardines and some lemon.
I dropped by at Atelier on Karangahape Rd last weekend, just for a few small plates and a drink. It’s a new restaurant in the Artspace building, with a flashy fit-out serving French-leaning food. What’s good: the complex cocktails, and I enjoyed the cucumber/strawberry dish which was cold and fresh on a hot evening. What’s not so good: none of the front-of-house staff (incuding servers and bartenders) were wearing masks on the (busy) night we visited, which is super disappointing. I hope this changes in the future.
Lana (our new arts editor!) had an omelette at Blue Rose in Sandringham and would recommend.
We went to Gogo Music Cafe and I always forget how buzzy and fast it is up there, even in the early hours of the morning. The mantou (fried buns) with condensed milk makes a satisfying nightcap.