Dec 8, 2023 Metro Eats
Kia ora koutou —
Our latest issue has just gone to print and we are feeling the temporary elation of post-deadline release and the familiar creeping worry that something will go awry in the printing or that we’ll have forgotten something important or said something mean about someone that we didn’t mean to. I normally try to distract myself from these anxieties by dealing with all the administrative tasks that pile up when our focus is on the magazine, which includes the paying and issuing of invoices. Seeing these, I am, as always, a little overcome by the number of people, both contributors and clients, who are supportive of the magazine — so thanks so much to all of you! Metro would simply cease to exist without your generous contributions. Subscribers should start to see magazines around the end of next week and in them (despite us being between food editors) we have assembled a pretty good food section, with our annual 50 Under $25 list, a taste-test of supermarket pasta brands, a ranking of the city’s best bakeries, a great Japanese breakfast recipe by Akiko Kurematsu, restaurant reviews and a look at the accidental art of Auckland’s best weekly pizza discount email newsletter. For the rest of you, it’ll be on shelves on December 18 and has a bright-yellow cover — look out for it!
Christmas night market at Britomart next Thursday!
Sid and Chand Sahrawat are breaking up Sid at The French Café, taking the bulk of the space to set up a new Momofuku-ish place, Anise, from 1 February. Sid at The French Café will just be The French Café again and occupy the 35-seat private dining room on the far side of the courtyard. The idea of a shared courtyard is quite appealing, but on paper it seems like a fairly monumental hit to the Auckland fine-dining scene and presumably a dark omen for the white-tablecloth set moving into 2024.
Naanwala, new at Mumbaiwala.
Baci Eatery, a new Italian place in Sylvia Park which looks quite cute, has opened.
Woolworths (née Countdown) sent us one of their festive Smash Cakes (thank you!) which was a lot of fun to break into and pick at for a couple of days and looks like it is currently on special for $40.
Another Korean toasty place! Toastie is now open at 106b Carlton Gore Rd.
There’s a new Atomic on Graham St in the city.
A new abura soba (soupless ramen) place, Kajiken, is now open at 3 O’Connell St.
Cafe Ditto — looks really good and is sometimes open late and can be found at 29a Mt Eden Rd in Grafton.
A wine, dumplings, bao and noodle bar, XIÈXIÈ, is open as of last night in Ponsonby.
Novelty Items — What’s New in Fast Food
McDonald’s is busy this month, getting whipped up in the nationalist fervour of the day with a re-release of the Kiwiburger alongside its slightly nicer variant, the Kiwi Angus. For those unacquainted, the Kiwiburger is the McOz burger with an egg added. Meanwhile, Australia currently has the McRib back and it’s hard to believe we are not being punished for something here — for the love of God, why? They are also launching Chilli Cheese Bites, which look like they use McNugget batter for, and in the dessert section, they have a Nestlé cross-promotion with a KitKat McFlurry and a Frozen Lift, which should be quite refreshing on a hot day, and Frozen Lift McFloat, which should make everyone over the age of 19 feel quite sick. The highlight of the Saver Menu this month is easily the $1 medium Frozen Coke Zero Sugar.
Burger King has Maple Bacon burgers this month, with bacon, onion rings and maple syrup, in chicken and beef varietals. I’ve had the chicken one and it might just have been my burger technician that day, but there was so little maple syrup on the burger that it was neither savoury nor sweet and thus a flavourless misery that I could not wait to be done with. In happier news they also are offering King Fusion Sundaes of which the Bubblegum Marshmallow flavour looks incredible in vivid blue and soft pink. The Burgerrito remains pinned to the bottom of the special menu for what must be at least the sixth month, making a mockery of the concept of ‘limited time’ products. In the bargains department BK is refusing to be outdone by McDonald’s and also has $1 regular soft and frozen drinks. They also have a $1 small fries with King Coupon B05, and there’s a $6 double cheeseburger and small fries for RoyalPerks members. Nothing new to see at Wendy’s, which is still running the tasty but structurally unsound Cajun range. Wendy’s Mates Rates has a range of small combos for $6–$7.
At KFC, the “CASH IN with the COLONEL” promotion is in its last week, and while that’s been going on they have been quietly reheating their least-inspiring novelty menu items, the Sliders, and indulging in the last, dying gasps of the Boneless range. Presumably we’ll be launched into a big summer-of-cricket thing here as soon as the free money promo is over.
Pizza Hut has no new products to speak of, but is offering a Christmas-themed Triple Treat Box which comes with one pizza each from the favourites and classics range, plus fries and either eight wings or a massive cookie, which all comes in a big case that fits three normal-size pizza boxes in it and looks like it will be quite bulky in your recycling. Unlike the creatively barren wastelands of Pizza Hut and KFC, Domino’s product development continues apace — this month they have a Smokehouse Meatlovers pizza with slow-cooked pork belly and other meats on a BBQ base, and a little confusingly, a Smokehouse BBQ Pork Belly pizza with the same slow-cooked pork belly but no other meats and that crème fraîche base that keeps coming back and that they seem irrationally attached to. They also have bacon-and-cheese-loaded fries which will likely be avoided by cardiologists across the nation.
Elsewhere, Carl’s Jnr. has hawaiian burgers and bacon aioli fries; Taco Bell is unchanged. This might not be new but I see Sal’s Pizza now has a pepperoni-and-black-garlic-sauce pizza which might be quite good; and fresh from ruining Christmas, Burger Fuel has the questionable-sounding Japanese-themed Mitsufishi Feed — a fish burger called the Mini Bōsōzoku, with Japanese seasonings and sauces, alongside turbo-rashi loaded fries and a Shakotan Cherry Blossom Shake.