Dec 3, 2021 Metro Eats
Happy December, and Happy Restaurant Day to those that partake!
Today marks the first day since mid-August that most of us (if we live in Tāmaki) are able to dine-in at a restaurant. It’ll be a relief for all the hospitality businesses that have had to close their doors, or operate under restrictions — but recovery will be a long slog. We all know that, and most of us have a huge desire to support the places (and people) that we love. I’m excited to do that too!
But… I guess I wanted to address the elephant in the room and talk a minute about vaccines, and the My Vaccine Pass. In the days leading up to this, there’s been an uneasiness to this discussion on social media, which, you know, is understandable. Restaurants have to turn people away, very explicitly, and I can imagine that even one angry DM from a previously loyal customer can be anxiety inducing. Your DM, your comment, is going to reach a real person who has to read it, BTW! It’s shitty to see businesses copping it in the comments for following a law (a necessary law, in the middle of a pandemic) and therefore feeling like they have to apologise for it.
I can only speak for myself, but I don’t think I’m alone in saying there’s no need to apologise. Covid-19 is in the community, and the vaccine mandate is there to protect the people in it, both vaccinated and unvaccinated.
So it’s easy. If you want to dine-in, at a crowded restaurant amongst friends and strangers, be double-vaccinated, show your My Vaccine Pass, and don’t be an asshole to the staff, who are having to readjust to a whole new system and probably dealing with people looking to film TikToks on “discrimination”. In our next issue, which went to print yesterday, we’ve published the results of our hospitality surveys, and I’ve gotta tell you: though the support for vaccine passes is high among workers, they are hella worried about you guys making their job a lot harder.
And it goes without saying the official Metro Eats position is against anyone tryna encourage otherwise. This week, I saw a restaurant on their Instagram stories implying to customers that they will accept fakes, as by law they’re only required to “sight” the passes. It’s irresponsible and puts people at risk; just don’t do it. Remember, this isn’t forever. We all want to get through it and past it.
So, on a happier note, please have fun being out, eating food you didn’t cook at a table you don’t own, and seeing friends again without the threat of pigeons or seagulls ruining your lunch. If I couldn’t eat good food with good friends, I don’t know how enjoyable life would be, so I’m glad it’s back, even under the current circumstances.
ALSO! Breaking news: Our new issue is out next Thursday 9 December. It’s fun, it’s summery, and in typical Jean fashion, I make a stand about something you’ll either find important or sorta annoying. Please buy it.
Luna’s in the city is about to open a second outpost, Luna’s Bakehouse, in Newmarket. Its baked goods are genuinely very delicious.
A new spot in Kingsland, Nanny’s Eatery, is serving up jerk chicken and pork belly, plus burgers and fries and pepper shrimp. Nearly impossible to get good jerk chicken in Auckland, so great news about this addition.
Also in Kingsland, Groove Bar is opening its doors for the first time today, serving up “local brews, great food and old school RnB.
This one’s been open for a wee while but I haven’t mentioned it on the newsletter yet – Urbanaut Brewery has a new burger division, located in the taproom… Burgernaut.
There’s a new coffee spot in Auckland’s central city, on Kitchener St, Cosmo Coffee, that actually has semi-late opening hours (till 5pm on Friday/Saturday).
If you’re vegan, you’ll be happy to know there’s a new vegan plant-based bakery called The Lophie Project, for delivery or pick-up. I think pick-up is located in Northcote Point.
Green Door Pizza and Camper Coffee are now both open in Commercial Bay, for your pizza and coffee needs. I was a big fan of the pizza from Green Door, so check it out if you’re in the area; I think they’ll be selling by the slice as well.
The city’s beloved No1 Pancake is open again, this time on the North Shore in Rosedale (which is around Albany. If you’re driving specifically to this area to visit them, may I suggest also stopping by at TOB coffee, my favourite coffee shop on the Shore.
A reader emailed in today (thanks!) to let us know that there’s another new opening on the North Shore coming soon, XO Yakitori & Issan Bar, going into that old Lone Star spot on Hauraki Corner. “Asian skewers and street-style food”.
There’s a new pub in the viaduct, The Fox, from Good Spirits Hospitality (who recently bought Nourish Group). It’s a reimagining of the sports bar Foxes, and takes inspiration from British pubs.
Watch out for Florets Bakery, previously called Kōpiko, who is opening a permanent spot in Grey Lynn soon. Its sourdough loaves are very good — weighty, nutritious, and filling.
This place, Bama Southern Kitchen, just followed us as I was about to send this off, so I guess it’s a sign. Offering fried chicken, biscuits and sweet tea, apparently!
It’s taken me a wee while to try it, but I wholeheartedly recommend the pitas from Carmel in Eden Terrace. Holy shit, the pitas were good. If you get the chicken, they’ll also offer to put in some falafel for no extra charge, so it’s like the best of both worlds.
I was seriously into the seeweed fries that Forest served up during its pop-up (along with ice cream). Petition for this to be a permanent thing you can get from them.
The Auckland Iconic Eats list was released recently, with some great new additions to the previous year, like the Ikan Bakar Jimbaran from Bali Nights, prawn and crab toast from Hello Beasty and Hangi Pie from Blue Rose. I’m a little bit sad I missed the cut-off date for this one because I was going to nominate the pho from my beloved Try It Out, which, seeing as the restaurant has been going in Otahuhu for 30 years, is truly iconic, right? Oh, well. Next year.
Sugar and Tempt very nicely offered to give me some of her Levain-style cookies, and, having wanted to try them for a while, couldn’t help myself. The NYC Chocolate and Walnut variety were incredibly moreish, riding the line between dense and fluffy, with an almost cake-like texture inside that ate like you were eating more than a cookie. I liked the Biscoff, but I’m not super familiar with the caramelised biscuit spread, so it didn’t have that nostalgic flavour for me, but it could for you. For me the thing that elevated the chocolate chip version were the walnuts, which gave your palette a break. Unfortunately they’re now sold out, but be on the lookout!
If you’re somewhat plugged into lifestyle media, you’d probably have seen these Park Hyatt Gingerbread Wreaths around, which they dropped around to mine (#gifted) and I had an uncharacteristic visceral reaction to because it looked so nice. I haven’t tried it yet (my plan is to bring it home for Christmas, as you probably should) but the chocolate roulade was very tasty.
Paralysed by choice?
The Metro Restaurant of the Year issue came out at the very start of the lockdown so none of the places in the list got to enjoy the *presumably huge* crowds of people working their way through the list – please support these fantastic restaurants as they reopen. You can get the print version for only a couple more days at your local supermarket or newsagent or dairy.
Metro Eats! is delivered to email inboxes across the city every(ish) Friday – if you’d like to get it in yours too, you can do so by signing up here – it’s free!