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Pot Luck — Friday 21 June

The Metro Dining Newsletter

Pot Luck — Friday 21 June

Jun 21, 2024 Metro Eats

Kia ora,

Over the past 10 months, like many others in Tāmaki Makaurau, I’ve been drawn to the city centre most weeks to participate in protests of some kind. One of the more surprising byproducts of these demonstrations has been the way that, for me, they have revitalised a part of the city (Queen St and its peripheries) so often discussed in gloom-ridden adjectives. For those few hours every few weeks, I bask in the buzz of activity and crowdedness. My abiding love for the central city never really faded, and I spend a decent amount of time there ordinarily — but even so, I’m certainly there much more than usual these days, and presumably that’s the case for a whole lot of others in those crowds marching down Queen St. 

This vibrancy extends beyond the actual protests. At the end of the marches, much of the crowd tends to peel off to the surrounding restaurants and cafes and bars — necessary refuelling after hours of chanting and standing and placard holding. Enter an eatery in town after a rally and you’ll likely spot placards resting against tables, flags draped over the backs of chairs. For me, the post-protest snack has become a kind of ritual. On the stiflingly hot days of summer, it meant punctuating the protest with cold beers and tempura at Ten-hana or with rhubarb royales and olives at Mezze Bar . Lately, some of my most memorable post-protest meals have included hot and sour noodles at Sunny Town, a bowl of shoyu ramen at Tanpopo, khao soi kai from Mali Thai and a giant plate of itameshi pasta and katsu from Paskatsu. 

It can be easy to feel helpless about the state of things right now, but if there’s anything my post-protest bites have taught me, it’s that food is a necessary source of cheer. To be at these protests is reassuring in some ways — a reminder that we’re part of communities who truly care. Frankly, though, I’d much rather the reasons for these protests didn’t exist, that we didn’t have to be on the streets marching and chanting at all. 

— Charlotte


Comings and goings.


David Lee’s ( Gochu , Aigo Noodle Bar, The Candy Shop ) new joint Dweji is now open on Osborne St, Newmarket. The restaurant is geared toward home-y Korean soul food, with a special emphasis on 국밥 (gukbap). Gukbap, which translates to “soup rice”, is a traditional dish where cooked rice is added to hot soup.

Parro, a new restaurant by Gleber Chaparro (formerly of Osteria Uno, Lilian , Amano , Depot and Sugar Club), opened this week in the ex- Omni space on Dominion Rd. Expect Mediterranean-inspired fare on the food side (charcoal-grilled proteins, jerez reductions and crema catalana, for example) and a streamlined list of local, French and Italian wines.

There’s a new restaurant called An An Vietnamese in that cluster of eateries you pass as you head down Queen St from Karangahape Rd. I stopped in for lunch this week and was super-impressed by the decor, the food and the serene vibes of the place. The pho ga I ordered was perfect — deliciously clear and clean tasting, perfect winter lunch material. Next time I’ll be opting for the bún chả nem Hà Nội, though — a recommendation from the woman (who was from Vietnam) at the neighbouring table, who told me this was the best Vietnamese she’d ever had in Auckland. 

Newmarket Malaysian stalwart Selera has just opened an offshoot restaurant behind the Olympic Pools. Called Selera Delight, the menu diverges from their other shops, with an emphasis on tossed noodles, fried rice and most interestingly, what they’re calling “Selera Bento”: a kind of Malaysian take on bento boxes, consisting of rice, a choice of protein, side dishes, soup, pickles and a dessert.

Speaking of bento, Bento Express is a new, casual joint on Dominion Rd where you can curate your own biandang (the Taiwanese version of bento) from the selection of dishes at the counter.

Kome is a new Japanese restaurant in Commercial Bay, offering both quick lunches like poke bowls and bento boxes (yup, more bento), and unhurried dinner options like takoyaki, sashimi and udon, plus an extensive list of sake.

The battle of the coconut drinks and desserts has begun! Earlier this year, Coconut Factory opened on High St in the city centre. Just last week, a new competitor, Cocomo, which also specialises in coconut-based drinks and desserts, opened a mere 140 metres away. Cocomo’s opening on Lorne St drew an impressive crowd, and it certainly looks like the more aesthetically appealing/swish option of the pair — but as we all know, looks are not necessarily the best indicator of quality. The proof will be in the coconut pudding.

There is a new, extremely tiny, pie shop at 469 Karangahape Rd called Pie Rolla’s. They’re open Tuesday–Sunday from 10.30am and seem to sell out quite quickly, so I suggest you get there promptly if you’re craving a pie.


Where we’re going.


Devonport eatery Vondel is collaborating with Martinborough natural wine label Cambridge Road for an evening of food and wine on 3 July at 6pm. Tickets for the event are $70 and include three courses of food, a selection of Cambridge Road wines, and wine chat from winemaker Lance. Book here.

Birria taco pop-up El Capo Streetfood will be stationed at 205 Stoddard Rd, Mt Roskill, today (21 June) from 11am to 2pm and then again 5–10pm.

Tawhiti are celebrating the launch of their second wine release, Kurawaka, on Saturday (22 June) from 5pm at Tappo alongside a specially curated menu by Kaz Suzuki.

Roses’ latest chef in residence is Quentin Ville-Renon who usually works at Margot in Wellington. He’ll be taking charge of the kitchen for the next month, with a focus on low waste and seasonal dishes.

Caretaker is hosting their fifth waiata singalong on 23 June from 8.30pm at Rocketman (directly above Caretaker). There will be a live band, plus a special menu of Matariki-inspired cocktails. Bookings are encouraged and can be made by way of this email:

Oh, and Dear Jervois (one of this city’s early adopters of photogenic brunch culture) is now open for dinner on Fridays and Saturdays with a Mediterranean-influenced menu.


Something you didn’t know you needed.


For the vast majority of my life, the annual truffle season, which runs from June to August, has passed by without even a glimmer of recognition on my part. Mostly because, in my world, the word ‘truffle’ has been limited to infused oils poured on chips — which means taking something perfect (a chip) and adding unnecessary complications… No thanks. Though truffles (extravagant) might be antithetical to how I ordinarily eat (usually quite inexpensively), because I am a food editor and therefore should probably make an effort to embrace this type of high-brow fare more often, I decided to venture out and splurge on some of the fleeting black gold. What I discovered is that, in the right context, truffles can be quite fun — like a savoury, earthy and intensely moody form of sprinkles — even if the price tag on them looks a little absurd. 

Anyway, here are my top six picks for (fun) truffle pit stops in Tāmaki Makaurau this season:

Beau : Add a generous pile of truffles to a serve of their burrata for $16.

Apéro : Riwaka truffle and comté toastie ($29).

Forest : Olive oil ice cream, sherry vinegar caramel, vanilla sherbet and fresh black truffle.

Pici : Add truffle to their cacio e pepe.

Esther : “Truffle love lunch” (from $69 per person).

Osteria Uno: Tiramisu topped with truffle.

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