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Pot Luck — Friday 31 May

The Metro Dining Newsletter

Pot Luck — Friday 31 May

May 30, 2024 Metro Eats

Kia ora — it’s been a while since our last newsletter! Two weeks to be exact. Largely, that gap is a consequence of having been on an ever-so-slightly drawn-out deadline for our Winter issue, which will be out in about a month’s time — more on that and what you might be able to find in it closer to the time. 

Being on a deadline has meant more than usually incidental, on-the-go lunches — quick, ready-to-go food that can be readily eaten at a desk by way of quick hungry bites while typing. This isn’t perhaps where you saw this newsletter going, but while eating one of these meals (to be specific, St Pierre’s teriyaki chicken on rice, the most convenient snack in the world), I began to consider the disposable wooden fork that had come with it. 

These presumably biodegradable forks have become ubiquitous since their plastic, non-biodegradable counterparts were banned in Aotearoa last year. And though I understood the environmental benefits, I’d paid little thought to how the eating experience had changed with the move from the little plastic fork to the little wooden fork. Now, as I took a carefully balanced scoop of rice, mayo and ultra-sweet chicken, I stopped to consider how using this slightly flattened, round-edged tool compared to using slick plastic, or even regular stainless-steel cutlery. 

The same ban that ousted plastic cutlery also saw plastic straws outlawed, which I think we can agree has made the experience of drinking a bubble tea or a cocktail far worse — even if we approve of the change in principle. But while the replacement straws seem less user-friendly, I’d argue that using the new wooden cutlery makes the experience of eating more fun — in their crude design, they’re much more tactile, textured and warm than other things we eat with. I actually think they make food taste better! Anyway, cutlery that you don’t have to throw away at the end of a meal is obviously the best kind of cutlery, but until we start carrying little sets of cutlery around like we do reusable cups, I think a little love for the wooden knife, fork and spoon is in order.


Comings and goings.


Paskatsu is a just-opened restaurant on Lorne St (in The Kimchi Project’s old spot) from the people behind Korean eatery Dong De Moon. There’s no menu online yet, but I had a peek when I walked past last night — there’s a heavy itameshi (Japanese and Italian fusion) vibe going on with pasta dishes, katsu and yosenabe (hot pots) for two at really competitive prices (around $35). Oh, and they have cheap beer.

I’m always on the lookout for new Vietnamese joints around Tāmaki to extend my (quite short) list of non-disappointing bún bò Huế in this city. From the photos I’ve seen of Saigon Garden Vietnamese Restaurant, a new Vietnamese spot in a Botany shopping centre, I’m hopeful I’ll be able to add another to my list.

Northcote has recently acquired a new Sri Lankan eatery called Kolombo, located in the food court at 6/10 Kilham Ave. Open for lunch through till dinner, they’ve got a range of more fulsome meals (curries, kottu, stir-fried noodles and stews) along with a selection of easily portable, ready-to-go options. I plan to make a trip there this weekend for the crab kottu.

When I lived in Kingsland, a suburb heavily populated by pubs and Italian restaurants, I often wished that a casual Chinese spot would open nearby for an affordable solo dinner. (I love Canton Cafe, but it’s hardly somewhere to eat casually or alone.) Now I’ve moved out of the suburb, exactly the type of place I dreamed would open has opened. Called Western Noodles, they’re in the lot next to Petra Shawarma and I have a feeling they’ve relocated from another suburb. The menu, which is quite long, has a bunch of well-priced noodle soups, cold noodles, dumplings and more. Also, the fitout is very cool.

Xi’an Food Bar subsidiary Xi’an Noodles (I’m not entirely sure what the difference is between the two brands — the menus, from what I can tell, look identical) has just opened a new branch at 152 Hobson St in the central city. 

I’ve heard only good things — both food and vibe-wise — about SangSang, a Korean restaurant that recently popped up in Glenfield at 111 Bentley Ave. Their signature sotbap (a kind of Korean rice claypot) comes in six styles and looks wonderful.

On Tuesday, while picking up some books from the Central City Library, I spotted two newish eateries in that corner of Queen St and Wakefield St with a high concentration of food spots. The first was Dosa Corner, a permanently situated food truck selling dosa (obviously), plus a pretty wide selection of other South Indian dishes — think vada, idli, uttapam and curd rice. It’s predominantly a to-go spot, but they do have a slightly covered bench with a few stools. And then there’s YGF Malatang, which presumably is an offshoot of the American chain. Here they run things the usual way: pick your own ingredients and pay by weight with the option of two soup-based flavours (tomato or beef) or a dry mala flavour. As an aside, if you don’t already have an Auckland Libraries card (plus the library app, and Libby for audio/ebooks, and Beamafilm for video streaming), I highly recommend you get in there.

The hearty Filipino noodle soup lomi is the star of the show at Papa Ben’s Lomi, a new food stall at WestCity Waitakere. Open from morning to night, every day of the week, there’s also a breakfast menu with tapsilog, longsilog and bangsilog, and a focused selection of other Filipino menu standards.

Noodle & Bistro is a cosy new restaurant that’s taken over the old Luna Bakery address on Chancery St. I’m yet to visit, so am solely relying on Google for information at this point, but I’m seeing a lot of winter-appropriate noodle and wonton soups in the images. Watch this space.

Cult burger-makers Lucky Gs closed their Onehunga branch earlier this year. Now, a Korean-style burger joint called Burgout has opened in the space with a refreshingly slim menu of five burgers: classic, chicken, signature, vegetable and prawn — currently a uncommon burger option in Tāmaki Makaurau, but maybe this is the start of a prawn burger boom.

TwoFold, a new brewpub in Parnell, opened last month. The focus is beer (of course), but they’ve also got a range of stepped-up pub fare to match, plus a range of wines, cocktails and non-alcoholic drinks. Their buffalo oysters (buffalo sauce and seaweed ranch) seem sacrilegious, but I also really want to try one.




The minimalist shopping trolleys at the new GoodFor store in Grey Lynn.

Samyang habanero lime buldak ramen — literally hot. (Jadan Supermarket is currently stocking them.)

The number 14 noodles at Ju Chang An on Dominion Rd.

Worcestershire sauce. 

The kao kuka pe at Chom Na.

Lake Hāwea Station honeycomb granola. (Disclaimer, I was sent a bag of this but it’s genuinely delicious — I’ve looked forward to eating it every morning.)

Jadan’s newly expanded produce area.

The peanuts at Eden Noodles .




Serving foods that require cutting alongside knives that are incapable of doing so.

The impending closure of Smith & Caughey’s. (I weep for the chocolate counter.)

Private equity firms acquiring restaurants.

The slandering of Devoney’s showstopper cake on The Great Kiwi Bake Off finale. Sure, this is a belated and niche thing to bring up, but I finally watched the final episode over the weekend and I’m still outraged. That cake was anti-gravity! Justice for Devoney!


Where we’re going.


Onslow is hosting a dinner with winemaker Janine Rickards of Huntress Wines on Wednesday, 5 June at 6.30pm. The evening will include a four-course menu paired with six Huntress wines which Janine will guide guests through. Tickets are $265 per person and you can book here.

Ragtag has just launched a pizza pop-up called Magnolias. Their inaugural pop-up will be at Saint Leonard’s Brewing in Kingsland this Sunday, 2 June, from midday till they sell out. The menu includes four types of pizza: cheese, mortadella, potato & leek, and mushroom; plus what I presume are a trio of sauces to dip the crusts into: basil ranch, stracciatella & Sichuan oil, and garlic butter.

Parnell fine dining restaurant Tala will be hosting guest chefs in June to celebrate independence month, which marks Western Samoa becoming independent of New Zealand, in 1962. The first event will be a collaboration with Alex Lam Cheung this Saturday, 1 June, with lunch and dinner sittings. Follow Tala for more.

Chef Ben Bayly has partnered with a new charity, the Young Onset Dementia Collective, for a fundraising event on Sunday, 9 June, at Origine from 5pm to 7pm. Tickets for the event are $89 per person. Producers Great Southern TV will be filming the event, with 100% of the net profit raised from the ticket price on the night going to Dining for Dementia — Origine will then match that amount. The menu includes dishes adapted from the current tasting menu, including freshly shucked natural Te Matuku oysters with Meyer lemon, pāua & blue cod pie, duck & black truffle parfait, and more. Tickets for the fundraiser can be purchased here

Bar Magda is turning three next month — and the team is marking the occasion with two collaborations. On Sunday, 2 June, from 5pm, co-owner Matt Venables will be heading to Acho’s to make cocktails. Then, on 14 June, from 7pm, Egor Petrov from Ahi will be serving three types of cocktails, two of which will be matched with four of Bar Magda’s sharing plates — and from 9.30pm there will be a DJ. Tickets are $60 per person (includes two matching cocktails from Egor and four sharing plates). Book here.


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