Sep 24, 2021 Metro Eats
I hope everyone is well-fed, well-caffeinated, wearing your masks and being kind to the people who are serving your food.
That first sip of a flat white, usually the first thing people scramble to when coming out of Level 4, is always somewhat anti-climatic. I always build it up in my mind and then I take a sip and then it’s over. It’s the lack of access to that thing that you miss, rather than the actual thing, I guess. In Normal Times, I would have a barista-made flat white almost every day, so the ritual was what I was despo for. The actual coffee itself = glorious, but, like, just coffee? I don’t know. It feels pretty good anyway.
In light of Level 3, you can read my feature on ghost kitchens, online now, that I wrote for the issue before last. Backstory is, ghost kitchens always fascinated me whenever I went on UberEats, because I’m terrifically nosy and get a front up when I see a restaurant name I don’t immediately recognise. Like who are they? The names were always slightly ridiculous as well — I started screenshotting them whenever I came across a particularly egregious one. I’d also started noticing slower service at restaurants that were also doing Uber Eats on the side. I’d always side-eye evilly the bags piling up on the counter or coming out of the kitchen while tapping my fork on the table impatiently, waiting for our dine-in order.
While writing the story, I thought there were interesting differences in motivation across the owners who started ghost kitchens — some, who already had restaurants, for maximising profit, others using it as a testing ground. It also seemed like a timely thing to write on when contextualised against the pandemic — it was, like, will ghost kitchens succeed because the very nature of them encourages contactless practice, or will they fail in the long run because people are desperate to luxuriate in a somewhat novel dining-out experience when it’s safe again to do so?
I don’t encourage the use of UberEats because of the fantastically high commission rates, but it was also interesting to hear the other side of the story from a couple owners — of how much “easier” it is than organising ordering and delivery methods of their own. And, also, of just how superior it is compared to the other delivery partners they use.
Anyway, enough on that. On to my guide for level 3 takeaways, where you should always pick up if you can.
A Guide to Level 3 Takeaways
The obvious thing to start off saying here is that you should most definitely order from your mom-and-pop locals if you can — the ones who are slinging out their usual menus and you don’t have to fight to the death for a slot for, or whatever (Celeste, for example, sold out all their takeaway slots for the week in under an hour. Their burgers are delicious, but there are also many other delicious burgers available in the Auckland area).
Have a browse through this year’s top Cheap Eats list for our recommendations. Personally, I’m craving a bowl of noodles from Xi’An, gamjatang (pork backbone soup) from any Korean restaurant, a larb from Kiin Underground Kitchen, pho from Try It Out and a dry curry from Santhiya’s or Paradise.
Also love this round-up from Coconet TV on their fave Pasifika food spots in Auckland.
Here are a selection of restaurant offerings elsewhere, most of which range from very to slightly different from their usual:
Ada is offering takeaways only on Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 2-8pm with a limited, pizza-fritta heavy menu. Orders via text.
Apero’s Superette is open now, offering charcuterie platters, with orders before 8pm today fulfilled tomorrow, Saturday.
Beau has burgers and sides on its Level 3 Takeaway menu, with deliveries within a 4km radius (it’s located in Ponsonby) on minimum $50 orders.
Cafe Hanoi has its usual Vietnamese favourites on their takeaway menu, including the crispy soft shell crab salad, green prawns, pork spare ribs and more. Also on UberEats for delivery, but pick-up if you’re able.
Cassia are offering heat-and-eat kits for pick up, available Thursday-Sunday. The meal kits are $90 for vegetarian and $95 for chicken/lamb kits (they feed 2 people). Pick-up central city.
Cocoro has sushi and sashimi options available, as well as a wagyu sukiyaki kit. Pick-up only (in Ponsonby), or delivery possible for orders over $200.
Culprit are offering deluxe meal kits for two, which you just need to reheat and assemble.
Esther has a lamb shoulder for two, a homemade pie (serves four) and its famous burnt basque cheesecake on offer. Lamb shoulder plus pre-mixed negronis go for $125.
Gochu has fried chicken and milk bun packs available for pick-up at Commercial Bay. Delivery to select suburbs.
Gemmayze St’s takeaway offering includes a Mezza Box (all the dips and pide); a lamb wrap kit; a vegetarian wrap kit. There’s also baklava and knefe for dessert. Pick up Karangahape Rd.
Hello Beasty has dinner packs for two people ($55) and four people ($110) available, including vegetarian and gluten free options.
Kazuya has plenty of meat-on-rice options, plus the seafood chirashi sushi box. Pick up in Eden Terrace; order the day before.
Lillius is reviving Lillius on Toast this Friday-Sunday, for select breads (sourdough, focaccia, walnut loaf) and snack packs (think truffled egg salad and raw fish in coconut cream).
Mr Morris has a different takeaway menu each day, with some a la carte extras. Pick up only in Britomart.
Ockhee will have 10 mains and 3 different kinds of soup kits on offer, delivering within a 3km radius of its Ponsonby store. Free deliveries over $50. Cute little vid featuring our Personality of the Year, Minkyu, too.
Pasta & Cuore in Mt Eden has fresh pasta and sauces, ready to eat mains, deserts and stuff to reheat at home between 11am and 7:30pm.
Pici at Home are offering fresh pasta, pasta kits, wines, and desserts for pick-up in Karangahape Rd or free local delivery. Order by 9pm for the next day.
Ponsonby Rd Bistro have mains as single or double serves, featuring things like smoked fish pie and chicken tikka masala. Order by 3pm for same day pick-up.
Sidart is offering a 4-course menu kit for $125, designed for two. Order cut-off 4pm the day prior.
Stanley Avenue at Home is open from Thursday-Friday and has things like black tea chicken, slow braised beef cheek and roasted market fish on the menu. Pick up in Milford.
The Grove’s take-home menu includes 1 starter, 1 main, and 1 dessert for 2 people at $120. Choose from dishes like Beef Cheek Wellington and Mushroom and Blue Cheese Pie.
Vondel in Devonport have a range of yummy options on offer, including a chicken dakgalbi hot dog with labneh?!
This is not an exhaustive list. Visit our story highlight here, and your neighbourhood, for more options.
Help for Hospo: If you work in the hospitality industry and are struggling with your current situation, new initiative Help for Hospo may have the means to help you out financially (even if you’ve received the wage subsidy). Funds are allocated by an independent disbursement committee, and money will be directly deposited into your bank account to workers, not businesses. More information here.
Still Cooking? Make Cotto’s Kumara Gnocchi
Cotto, a Metro Top 50 restaurant, is offering takeaways at Level 3, which you can order here. If Karangahape Rd is not local to you, try to recreate it at home with the below recipe for kumara gnocchi. I find gnocchi to be the ideal thing to make when you have some time on your hands. For some reason, I always think gnocchi pales in comparison to pasta when I’m dining out, so I pretty much never order it, but doing it yourself somehow makes it all that more satisfying.
With thanks to Cotto. This recipe can also be found in Kōkako’s e-recipe book Hospo at Home, of which 90% of the profit will go to contributors.
1kg roasted puréed kumara at room temperature
250g plain flour
2 egg yolks
Large pinch of nutmeg
250ml cream Handful of grated parmesan
Knead all ingredients to form a smooth dough.
On a lightly floured surface roll out chunks of dough into roughly 1 cm thick sausages.
Cut into 1 cm by 1 cm sizes (use thumbnail as a guide).
Bring large pot of water to boil.
Add gnocchi and gently stir.
Once they have floated to the top turn heat down and leave for 30 seconds.
Meanwhile in a large saute pan heat cream to simmer.
Season with salt and pepper and melt a handful of parmesan into sauce.
Drain gnocchi and add to sauce.
Serve with more grated nutmeg and parmesan.