Oct 8, 2021 Metro Eats
I got my second Covid vaccine yesterday, which I moved up from the six-week gap. Pretty much every place within 5km of me had an abundance of free appointments that very afternoon, so it was very easy to do! I witnessed a few people do walk-ins at the clinic I was at too. Morning after, I’m feeling great, even better than after the first dose, weirdly, except for the sore arm thing. Living in Auckland, and having someone immunocomprised in my bubble, I now feel a relief at being double-vaxxed and celebrated by ordering a dish I definitely consider in my top 20: gamjatang.
There’s this meal making the rounds on TikTok from user Emily Mariko, which basically just consists of leftover rice, salmon, Sriracha, Kewpie mayo and avocado, swiped up and nestled in a piece of nori. She’s filmed what seems like a million videos of her making it. What surprised me, though, was the amount of people from the US that didn’t seem to know what Kewpie mayo was (I saw a video where a user went out of their way and visited their local Chinatown?! just to find it), considering it’s a household staple in mine, and nearly everyone else I know. You can get it at Pak ‘N Save and New World and Countdown! I mean, it’s sometimes in the “ethnic food aisle”, but it’s there! Why is it so popular in New Zealand? Or am I just being stupid and this is a stupendously obvious case of birds of the same feather flocking together?
Either way, if you haven’t tried Kewpie mayo yet, you should. Here’s a little explainer from Thrillist that explains why it tastes so good: it only uses yolk, not the whole egg; a sweeter, less tangy vinegar; and, of course, MSG.
In other news, we’ve started rolling out more magazine content online, but you can still buy the issue on shelves for another couple of months.
One last thing: a sad goodbye to waterfront favourite Euro, a restaurant that has been around since 1999. It has featured in Metro’s pages in one way or another for many years, and I was excited when, last year, it looked like they were reinventing itself and pivoting away from what it had previously been known for. Thoughts with all those involved, from Euro’s owners Paula and Richard Sigley to their staff.
Level 3 Takeaway Update
In addition to the Level 3 takeaways I rounded up a couple of weeks ago, here are some more options that have cropped up:
Some restaurants have pivoted (again, that word) to offering picnic packs for people to enjoy outside, such as Ima Cuisine and Restaurant of the Year Cazador . ‘Cazador Cantina’ is offering tacos (BBQ Wagyu carnitas) and sides on 9 October only.
Madame George is open for takeaways now too — you can get its tiradito, beautiful raw fish, grilled chicken and more.
Ethiopian pop-up My Mother’s Kitchen is doing pick-ups from Xuxu Dumpling Bar in Britomart, with vegan platters and non-vegan platters (haha — lamb) for two people today and tomorrow.
I’ve heard great things about Green Door Pizza and am keen to give them a go soon.
I’ve also got to give a shout out to Ockhee , because it served up my favourite dish I’ve had so far during Level 3 lockdown, the jang kal guksu. It’s a noodle soup, which came deconstructed with some of the best noodles I’ve ever had. Described as knife-cut black soybean, they were a perfect texture and had me genuinely, verbally, expressing how good they were. I only wish it came with more. Order immediately.
Q+A: Lena and Fabio from new eatery Cornelia
Metro: Kia ora! Can you tell us a bit about yourselves and why you decided to open Cornelia?
Kia ora Jean! We’re Lena & Fabio, owner operators of Cornelia. Fabio has been working in hospo for over 20 years both in the kitchen and FOH. My background is actually in communications and I now work for a software company, but I literally grew up in a restaurant (my parents owned The General Store in Whitford when I was young), and I worked as the Events Manager at Cable Bay on Waiheke after uni. I had no intention of going into hospo but Waiheke life was very appealing, and the experience was hospo initiation by fire. Super fast paced and professional. I met Fabio here, as well as many other talented hospo people. Their passion and work ethic was truly inspiring – it was like entering another world. I gained a whole new level of respect for the hospitality industry and the people behind the scenes making these experiences happen.
After Cable Bay, Fabio moved to Mudbrick as their Sous Chef, then to Man O’War as Head Chef, helping launch their restaurant operations in 2018. We left Waiheke at the beginning of 2020 and moved to Tauranga with plans to maybe open a business down there – the decision to leave Waiheke was hard but it’s a pretty competitive market over there and wasn’t the place to potentially start our first business unfortunately. The first Covid lockdowns threw our Tauranga move into a bit of a spin, and Fabio spent half of the last year unemployed. We ended up living in Waihi Beach for 6 months where Fabio was Executive Chef at The Waihi Beach Hotel. Eventually though, we felt the pull back to Auckland.
What is Cornelia? What kind of food/drinks will you be serving?
Cornelia is probably best described as an Italian inspired cafe – I say inspired as to not box ourselves in to being exclusively Italian. Fabio is from Rome but his food is an expression of his cumulative experience in kitchens around the world – including here in NZ.
We serve fresh and tasty food for every day enjoyment – simple food prepared well using the best ingredients we can get our hands on. We don’t have a full kitchen with extraction here so no pastas or big cooked meals – more panini, bruschetta, salads and other fresh treats. We’ll always have tiramisu and cannoli, and our panini are made to order with charcuterie freshly sliced.
We serve organic Italian Moak coffee and Zealong tea, as well as a selection of local & Italian waters and sodas.
I think what makes us unique is that we’re elevating everyday food. If you come here hungry you’re going to leave happy. That’s the goal. No pretension – just yum, very good food. This is the food we like to eat.
Why did you go for the fit-out you did — what inspiration did you take from?
It’s a beautiful space all on its own so we honestly didn’t have to do much to it. When we first walked in Fabio said it reminded him of his old apartment on Cornelia Street in New York, with the exposed brick, wooden floors and black beams. That set the tone for our design inspiration: New York wine bar meets rustic Roman coffee shop.
Why did you decide to open during Level 3? How has the recent outbreak, and the pandemic in general, impacted on your plans?
We took over the lease here in July before the latest outbreak. Covid restrictions and alert level changes were always a risk that we had planned and prepared for, but honestly we did not expect it to be this soon, this long or this restrictive. It sucks and it’s stressful, to be completely honest. But we’re charging on and adapting. While we really want to just get back to business the risk of Covid is serious and real so we’re doing everything we can to protect ourselves and our customers. The demand for good coffee, good food and community connection will never go away though, and we’re certain we’ll be able to provide that safely.
Do you guys live in the area/have a connection to the community?
When this space became available it really sealed the deal for us to open in Parnell. It’s pretty special for us to open here because Fabio worked just around the corner at Non Solo Pizza when he first arrived in NZ (that eventually took him to Poderi Crisci on Waiheke). He always loved the connections he made with NSPs regulars so we’re just really excited to become part of this community again, and we plan on being here for a long time. We live just down the road now.
Is there anything else you wanted to add?
We finally opened today and had a great day. Big thank you to our first customers, and for the support and welcome from the locals. We’re very happy to be here.
Find Cornelia at 289 Parnell Rd, Parnell.