Mar 31, 2023 Metro Eats
Every single day, around 12pm, someone in the office will go, “Any plans for lunch?” And everyone will go, no, because the effort required to make a decision has once again proved too much. And then, eventually, everyone will just go get their “default” lunch – a meal they have in the rotation, that for some reason or another they’ve decided is their go-to, despite there being a multitude of lunch options near where we work. There is always a little lunch that you trot to, defeated, exhausted by choice and just wanting something, anything, to fill that gnawing hole in your stomach slash existence.
I personally enjoy the development of a new little lunch to add to my roster – something that has piqued my interest, with its appealing cost-to-enjoyment ratio, and a guaranteed tastiness that I know, at the very minimum, I will not be mad about eating. (Disappointed? Maybe. But mad? No.)
Henry’s default lunch, something I’ve seen him eat perhaps one hundred times, is two vegetarian samosas from Mithaiwala. Many a time he’s left the office to roam the streets, with the intention of returning with something else, only to come in with a small brown paper bag, the oil they’re fried in creating little seeped-through islands of darkened splotches. “Delicious,” he says, every time. Henry is, and he’s demonstrated a hundred times over, pro-default lunch.
I feel like my own default lunches come in a rotation, though there has been some contention about this in the office (everyone has called me a liar and says having five interesting default lunches totally defeats the point of having a default lunch, to which I say – it’s not my fault I am an interesting eater). At the moment, my rotation looks something like this: the mapo tofu from Swordsman Chinese Cuisine in Lim Chhour; the spicy prawn pie from Tasteful Bakehouse; the nasi ayam penyet from It’s Java; the kau kling from Ruang Thong Express; and the salmon nigiri pack from St Pierre’s (often the choice when I’m truly feeling lost in the world, so perhaps the real default lunch in the most honest capture of the phrase). Other things slot in and out, but the default lunches – totally removed from any social need to Instagram them, any pressure to mention them in my newsletter – are always there for me to fall back on.
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Napier-based cocktail bar Teresa is coming up to Bar Magda to pop up for a couple nights, from 10-11 April. A special menu ($65pp) features 2 cocktails plus sharing plates to match. Bookings via here.
I went to Blossom Court in Panmure for the first time in a while – a small, unassuming place that serves great renditions of exactly what you’d expect at a Malaysian restaurant. If you’ve never had marmite chicken before, get that here.
Speaking of Malaysian food (when do I never speak of it), the team went to eat at Sri Pinang, where we all had the roti canai with curry, having recently learned that they make the roti canai in house (many other restaurants just use frozen). The roti definitely tasted house-made: more substantial layers, with just the right of sweet in flavour.
I often talk about non-judgemental restaurants to eat solo, and I think one at the top of those rankings at the moment is Ten-Hana , in the lobby of the Crowne Plaza hotel. There’s a bench for you to eat alone, that faces the wall, and no one dining there makes direct eye contact with you, as if all in on a shared social contract. It’s great. My Ten-Hana bowl ($16) also had a generous amount of tempura.
If you find yourself at Bar Magda soon, you should order the young corn with corn polenta. I don’t recall having ever eaten fresh baby corn before – sweet and juicy, set off by the char.
Paname Social, from the owners of Atelier and Ambler, has opened on Lorne St. Simon was there on its first day, snapping a few pics for our Instagram. An all-day French eatery, spilling out onto the streetside.
TOB Coffee has opened its second spot (or, more accurately, an extension of its first, as its right next door), with much more dine-in space. You can also get bagels by Pure Bake with your cup of coffee. 56 Apollo Dr.
It looks like David Lee and Co are opening a new branch of Aigo soon, in Newmarket. (Aigo being the group’s new Korean restaurant that only opened near the end of last year).
A new branch of Me and Chef, which you can find in Albany, Ormiston and Dominion Rd, has just opened beach-side in the beachy town of Browns Bay.