Feb 4, 2022 Metro Eats
And farewell to another week of Auckland under Red Light – I hope you’re all happy and hale.
Last week, I mentioned that I’d be trying to dine outside where possible, and someone suggested I talk about the places in Auckland that offer outdoor seating. As always, I find the best thing to do is just to look local, at the places you already frequent. There are so many! But here are just a few suggestions:
If you want somewhere slightly fancy, Homeland near the marina is a good bet. Not only is the area quiet in general, but it has tons of outdoor seating, plus it is spacious AF. They do both brunch and dinner. Our best restaurant of the year Cazador also has a nice courtyard.
In the wine bar genre, Bar Martin in Mt Albert has a courtyard out the back too, plus a very good selection of wines. Hotel Ponsonby also has a spacious outdoor area, but, warning, is likely to be packed.
For a quick eat, Italian food truck Little Sicily (which is a Top 50 under 25 eat) in Penrose offers outdoor seating; Saltwater Burger Bar has a spacious backyard; and of course most places in this category do great takeaways.
Bars can be sorta claustrophobic, but for somewhere with lots of room outdoors, I think of Galbraith’s in Eden Terrace and its huge garden.
I’ve been doing a lot of snacking this week, courtesy of Chinese New Year, which reminded me of the transformative qualities of a good snack. A good snack is less fill-the-voidy and more genuinely delightful. If anyone wants to start a New Zealand version of one of my favourite Instagram accounts, The Snackmaster, you can have as many plugs as you want on this newsletter. There’s nothing worse than grabbing the coolest looking packet at your local Asian supermarket and finding out it tastes very bad.
Spotted this new vegan/vegetarian pop-up, Mumbaikars and Co, offering Bombay cuisine (like vada pav) for pick-up only on Saturday/Sunday. 100% of the profits go to Auckland City Mission!
Peddlers and Ghost Street are putting a pin on its pop-up series due to Red Light, but you can still get an hong bao (red envelope) from them if you order something from its Lunar New Year menu, which includes things like crayfish toast and tang yuan. Dining vouchers, Peddlers Gin bottles etc. are up for grabs. Avail from 2-12 Feb.
I had the tonkotsu shoyu udon and agedashi tofu at Udon Works recently, both of which are delicious. I particularly recommend the tofu as a tasty side dish; light but salty and so so smooth.
Also of the tofu variety, I had a bowl of tau foo fah from this community group (you’ll probably have to join to see the post). It’s the closest I’ve gotten to what I remember from Malaysia/Singapore – sugary and gingery. You can pick up this weekend Saturday/Sunday.
I had yum cha at Huami for the first time to celebrate Chinese New Year, and it was generally very good. You can tell there is more intense attention to detail and higher quality of ingredients than you may get at a typical yum cha place; I particularly enjoyed the char siu bao, though it used chicken and not pork. The truffle-prawn har gao was a bit too truffle-y for my taste, especially with the delicate prawns, but I was a big fan of the shrimp wonton soup, where the broth is exactly what a wonton soup should taste like (not overtly salty).
Love this idea from Ima, who are selling packs of frozen Jewish chicken soup in preparation of your possible bout with omicron.
I’ve not been here yet but I’ve seen a ton of people on the Auckland Facebook food group Lazy Susan recommend this Vietnamese cafe in Mt Roskill, Mug and Bowl. I’m always on the lookout for a good banh mi, so am keen to check it out.
For anyone living out in Te Atatu Peninsula, you all have a new cafe called Neil, at, fittingly, 29 Neil Ave. It serves Flight Coffee.*
This new hole-in-the-wall espresso place Zibetto Espresso looks like it’s coming soon.
I saw that Cotto seems to have a pop-up bar downstairs now on Friday/Saturday nights in case the wait is a bit long for your table.
ICYMI: Square pizza, Detroit-style, in Onehunga! Read all about it here.
Family-owned wine business Laithwaites have gotten a bit of a brand refresh, and have hired Sally Duncan (ex Te Mata estate) as NZ country manager. Worth a look if you like your wine curated and delivered.
*I saw that Tasteful Bakehouse on Karangahape Rd, aka the home of the Piefee, also serves Flight coffee now. Does gentrification know no bounds? Haha. Speaking of Flight, it just launched this new sparkling cold brew in a can. I’ve not managed to get my hands on it yet, but will try soon and report back.
I saw this piece in Grub Street the other day called Ignored, Disrespected, and Forced to Toe an Outdated Line, about sexism in New York kitchens. While it’s an important problem, I always find these pieces sort of exhausting; no one is ever surprised about the content in them (i.e. that it’s still really hard to be a woman working as a chef in the hospitality industry, and that there is not nearly enough of them, especially at the head chef level) and it repeats the same thing over and over without solution. And, yet, I understand how prolific of a problem this is and the desire to see it addressed. It feels like it’d be interesting to me to track this right from culinary school – I wonder how many students/graduates are women, and how things right from this start may affect their desire to pursue working in kitchens? Anyway, if anyone has any insight into this, my email is always open.