Jul 30, 2021 Metro Eats
Yesterday, we released the Metro Top 50 Restaurants of the Year 2021. As always, the list is a reflection of Auckland’s diverse dining scene; what we’re eating, and how we’re eating it. You will have a good meal, and a good time, at all the places we (and I say we, because there’s about eight of us) have included, though you may have a more natural inclination towards one type of place over another. That’s cool.
This is, technically, my third time being involved in the list. It hasn’t gotten any less weird (there is, inevitably, some surreality in sitting around a room and debating what is The Best Restaurant In Auckland). My first year, I was a judge under our then-food director Simon Farrell-Green (the editor of Here, another very good magazine), and I wrote about the immense imposter syndrome I felt, having people flick napkins onto my lap and take more than two seconds to explain a dish. Then, the second year came around, and we went through with the judging, and the talking, and the eating. Just as we could see the finish line, lockdown was announced, Bauer Media shut down, and all was lost.
Now, we’re here again. It’s a little different with a smaller team, but no less exciting (maybe even more so). Why does list-making matter? I mean, in many ways, it doesn’t. But in many ways, it does. Acknowledging the people and places that have brought me, and many other people, immense joy; who have facilitated great nights that we store inside our little brains and take out to replay every once in a while; and who have personally made me declare, over and over, that something is “yum” (the highest verbal praise you’ll get out of me) is, I think, important. Like, look at all the cool ass places we have to eat in Auckland! Thank God we’re here!
It also just feels good to be celebrating after what has been a monumentally shit year. And we will be doing that — celebrating, I mean. Metro is throwing a ceremony, an awards night, a party (!) on 23 August. If you aren’t associated with any of the restaurants on the list but still want a ticket and come along, tickets will be available via our website very soon. I’m pretty stoked about this one, because there will be food by Hannah Miller (A Lady Butcher), Fleur Sullivan (Fleur’s Place) and Guilio Sturla (ex-Roots). As I often say… “yum”.
Also, a huge thanks to our principal partner, Estrella Damm, for making these awards possible, alongside Campari, Sanpellegrino, Esk Valley, Pernod Ricard, The Produce Company, Pacific Linen, The Great Catering Co and Ninety Nine Reasons.
Salo Salo at Ozone is described as a tactile dining experience, a call to come together and share food with loved ones. The night celebrates Filipino food, roots, and culture. Monday 9 August, $65pp.
The Tasting Shed has reopened, and is hosting a night of Japanese home cooking (Taste of Japan) on Friday 13 August from 5pm. $65pp.
The Metro team headed to new Cross St restaurant Bar Magda the other night where I really liked the market fish “suglaw” topped with bonito (sharp and fresh), and yams with winter mushrooms and duck fat buttercream. The yams were soft, earthy, and sweet, and worked crazily well when mixed through with the mushrooms.
I went to the Cordis Eight buffet (lunch) for my brother’s birthday yesterday, and I definitely have some words of advice if you go. Ignore the “Italian” station (just bainmarie’s of pasta; empty carbs). Hit up the seafood station, and try to skew towards the white fish that work well simply pan-fried (I’m talking hapuka, terakihi… stay away from the monkfish), and the raw fish (the raw salmon sashimi, though, is such a rare commodity that if you see it out, take it immediately). Oysters were small but surprisingly fresh, so also good value. In the “American Grill” section, the veal (cooked medium rare) is by far the best meat you can get at the buffet; it is completely worth the wait to have your meat cooked-to-order. Stay away from the already-cooked meaty stuff in the bain marie, except for the pork vindaloo in the Indian food station, which is delightful, as is the garlic naan. You’re welcome!
There’s a new cafe in New Lynn called Holly’s, which describes itself as a “West Auckland cafe serving savory, sweets and brunch with a Korean twist.
One of my favourite Malaysian places which closed down late last year has reopened in a new space in Onehunga. You can now find Sim’s Kitchen at 1/59 Victoria St, Onehunga, and it’s also apparently open from 7.30am on weekdays now, if you fancy a nasi lemak bungkus for breakfast.