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Pot Luck — Friday 1 March

The Metro Dining Newsletter

Pot Luck — Friday 1 March

Mar 1, 2024 Metro Eats

As mentioned in last week’s newsletter (perhaps better described as a sob story), I have recently moved flats. And while I clearly gravitate towards a gloomy outlook when it comes to these kinds of unrequested life changes, I’ve been trying my best to focus on the positives of the move. The major one, obviously, is that I’m housed; the others include not living on a brutally angled slope, our neighbourhood kittens(!), that we’re walking distance from two good supermarkets, and my personal favourite: I’m living closer to an RSA than I ever have in my life. 

As I was drinking my pint at this RSA two nights ago, on a leaner table, watching a crew of older people shooting pool and chatting with a kind of familiarity I can only hope to have with my fellow bar-goers, I started to think about the particular appeal of spaces like this. Much of my own enjoyment of them is a combination of their simplicity, familiarity and low likelihood that I’ll bump into people I know or follow on Instagram. Central to this, though, is that they’re not trying to be more than what they are — a relief in a world of dining where the definition of cool seems to transform by the week (see our weekly Hot and Not list below for more). Just try to keep up!

But these places aren’t for or about people like me. They’re defined, for the most part, by older people. And it makes me think about other examples of this in the dining world — places that are mostly looked over, if not looked down upon, by mainstream food media, but that provide a vital service for a huge and growing segment of our population. I’m talking about the roast shops and takeaways where solitary kaumātua pick up a dinner for one, the kind of non-trendy cafes serving decent muffins and scones and Earl Grey tea that my grandma used to gravitate towards, or the buffet restaurants that grandparents favour for birthdays. This is not to say that all people above a certain age eat in exactly the same way, of course, but that there’s a value to places with comfortable chairs, quiet, easy-listening music, prices that a pension can stretch for, and beer and sides and cakes and coffees that have been eaten or drunk hundreds of times before. With a growing aged population, and the pervasiveness of vulnerabilities and loneliness that has resulted from the more general breakdown in the traditional structures for aged care, perhaps we ought to give these kinds of spaces, that help to fill essential gaps, a little more of our attention?

Anyway, see you at the RSA!


Comings and goings


Rhu, a new daytime spot by Tushar Grover (of Flor and formerly Pasture ), has just opened in the black-tiled ex-Alpha space on Parnell Rd. The focus here looks to be bread, alongside a “grab-and-go” selection of salads and sandwiches, a breakfast menu and, intriguingly, fried chicken and octopus. 

Construction is under way in Takanini for what will be Aotearoa’s first Popeyes joint. The Louisiana fried chicken chain, with the perfect slogan “love that chicken”, is set to open this April, with nine further shops planned. Since the news broke, I’ve heard a lot of enthusiasm specifically about their chicken sandwiches and mac and cheese. Also love the fact that when the restaurant was founded in 1972 it was called Chicken on the Run — cute and slightly sinister. 

There’s an exciting new stall that you’ll find popping up at the various Auckland Night Markets around the city. Called I Rice You, they’ll be serving Korean grilled rice stuffed with galbi (Korean marinated beef) or tuna-mayo and rosé tteokbokki. Check out their Instagram for upcoming pop-ups.

I’m a month late to the party here, but there’s a new(ish) joint called Manna Kitchen at Ormiston Town Centre in Flat Bush with a menu filled to the brim with Filipino comfort-food favourites. I’m speculating here, but with the same name, extremely similar menus and nearly identical-looking tableware, I’d hazard a guess that they’re related somehow to Manna Kitchen in Onehunga. 

It’s been almost a year since Metro-approved smashburger makers Lucky Gs opened their Onehunga outpost — but today is their last day in the space. If you’re after one last burger they’ll be open for lunch and dinner today (Friday) — and if you can’t make it, don’t fret; their Glen Eden location remains. 




Cork floors in restaurants

Lychee liqueur

The miso-glazed eggplant onigiri from Okome 

The Oompa Loompa costumes at the Glasgow Willy Wonka experience 

Iodised salt

The hot cross bun bacon butties from Pastrami & Rye 

Hesari Supermarket in Panmure




Hiked up ‘loyalty specials’ at the supermarket

Surge pricing on… burgers

The AI machines taking orders at the Dominion Rd Burger King drive-thru. “An unmitigated disaster. I gave them two weeks to sort it out, but it’s somehow gotten worse and I will be silent no longer.” — Simon 

Eateries with no signage: a rare but growing phenomenon

Cereal for dinner (normally hot, just not like this)


Where we’re going


Westmere neighbours Beabea’s Bakery and Ragtag are joining forces for a Pizza Party on 3 March. There will be pizzas, wines and cocktails from midday until sold out.

Garage Project Kingsland will be hosting the first of their ticketed Supper Club series on 13 and 14 March alongside Kane Wilson (of Ragtag, and Someplace Somewhere). You can buy tickets to the five-course + drinks menu evenings here.

On 24 March, fine-dining restaurant Lillius will be hosting Regnar Christensen, executive chef at Havelock North’s Black Barn Bistro, for a 20-course “snack-a-station”. Fancy snacks!

Okome (mentioned above) will be selling their perfect onigiri at the School Market at Onehunga Community House this Saturday from 11am to 2pm.

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In the Autumn 2024 issue of Metro we celebrate the best of Tāmaki Makaurau — 100 great things about life in Auckland, including our favourite florist, furniture store, cocktail, basketball court, tree, make-out spot, influencer, and psychic. The issue also includes the Metro Wine Awards, the battle over music technology company Serato, the end of The Pantograph Punch, the Billy Apple archives, a visit to Armenia, viral indie musician Lontalius, the state of fine dining, and the time we bombed West Auckland to kill a moth. Plus restaurants, movies, politics, astrology, and more.

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