close button

Pot Luck — Friday 5 April

The Metro Dining Newsletter

Pot Luck — Friday 5 April

Apr 5, 2024 Metro Eats

My short-term memory is like a sieve. Which means that before I write these newsletters, I often make a brief scroll back through my camera roll to find out where I’ve been, who I’ve seen and what I’ve eaten since the last time I was in your inbox, just in case anything merits a mention. Apart from an on-the-go onigiri lunch and takeaways from Spicy House , the meals I’ve thought worthy of taking pictures of in the past two weeks have all been soups (or are soup-adjacent): bún riêu cua, shoyu ramen, a pot of brothy lentil and olives, dal tadka, a cock-a-leekie soup and Alison Roman’s famous (and contentious) chickpea stew. Clearly, these numerous bowls of soup reflect the brisker weather that has settled over Tāmaki Makaurau in recent weeks. But they’ve also served as the perfect punctuation to the week leading up to our print deadline.

We went to print two days ago, which means that there should be fresh new copies of Metro in stores all around the city in a week or so. It’s our first issue for the year, and it’s also my first issue ever. One of the push factors for me in making the move to Metro (from a job I loved!) was the potential of working in print format. I had previously worked entirely digitally, and so I’ve long had a curiosity about — and a romanticised idea of what it might mean to make — a slower, tangible product that can be flicked through, and all the potential that might hold for the way stories are told and read. What I assumed would be a chaotic final week and then final days and then final hour before sending the magazine files to the printer was, for the most part, a calm and concise process. I’ve been told that this isn’t always the case, but there was something rather miraculous and cool about how this soon-to-be-tangible thing came together, thanks to the contributions of the very small Metro team and all the contributing writers and artists and designers. Anyway, a relatively short and sweet intro to the newsletter this week, as a result of that print deadline and two short weeks in a row, but weirdly, quite a lot packed into the sections below.

Hei kōnā mai



Comings and Goings


I’ve spotted two recently opened eateries on Queen St in the last week. The first is Miss Pancake, which serves jianbing, toasted sandwiches, crêpes and brightly coloured jelly cups filled with things like mango or taro or rose syrup to take away. Slightly further up the rise, in that famously charming row of restaurants, is the unfussily named Thai Food Queen Street, which, as the name suggests, does Thai food on Queen St. 

You may not have noticed but Eden Noodles has been slowly expanding its sites around the city — and bringing their dumplings with spicy sauce with them, of course. Along with the original shop on Dominion Rd, there are also shops now in the central city, Newmarket, Commercial Bay, Albany, Henderson and Ōtāhuhu. Plus as of sometime in the past few weeks, there’s now an eighth branch in Somerville.

The Albany branch of Mr Hao closed recently, but a new Vietnamese restaurant called Saigon Commune has since taken over the space — seemingly by the people behind Mr Hao, Jungle 8 and Lucky 8, too. As you might have gleaned from the name, they’re very much riffing on the aesthetics of Communism, and I’m still not sure how to feel about the titles “oppressed mains” and “socialist sharing plates” (those are actual headings from the menu), but okay. I am, however, excited by the presence of so many fresh herbs in the photographs of their dishes. 

Little Sicily , which operated from a food truck parked up next to the train tracks in Penrose until it shut at the end of 2022, has finally found a new home at 190 Onehunga Mall. My fingers are crossed that they’ve brought their excellent granita recipes with them. 

Nuuna is a new lunch and dinner spot at Wynyard Quarter. The website describes the place as a “modern Asian restaurant”, and that’s evidenced by a menu which bounces around the region for culinary inspiration: to Korea (see “market fish maeuntang”), Japan (“XO don”) and China (“Shanghai duck egg noodle”).

Korean fried-chicken purveyors My Fried Chicken have recently opened their fifth outlet, this time in Britomart. The menu looks much the same as its sibling spots, with nine flavour variations, a selection of “Korean tapas” and cocktails. 

There is a new Indian supermarket called Fifo Supermarket in the old Warehouse car park on Rocklands Ave in Balmoral (behind the Capitol Cinema and across from Kiss Kiss). They have a fairly active TikTok presence, too.

The Three Kings shopping centre is admittedly an unusual complex — but it’s also one of my favourite places in Auckland for how surprisingly useful it is and how surprisingly often I find myself mooching around there. It houses my favourite $2 shop, a decent op shop, a chemist, my (old) doctor, a supermarket, good yum cha, an MSD office, an Animates and, until recently, Malaysian restaurant Jalan Alor. The last two times I’ve passed by, Jalan Alor looks like it’s very much closed. Their Google profile says it’s temporary but it’s been at least a month since they’ve opened their doors. Watch this space, I suppose.

Today (Friday, 5 April) marks the last day you’ll be able to order a pizza from Calimero’s Sandringham store. They’ve still got their stores in Ponsonby, St Heliers and Devonport, though, so all is not lost — and a new pizza shop called Pizza Boys will be moving into the site. If you haven’t already done so, have a read of Tess Nichol’s ode to Calimero’s weekly pizza discount email newsletter (from Metro 441).

Last week, Peter Gordon’s restaurant and cooking school Homeland announced its imminent closure, citing a new development by Winton Land going ahead on the site. The dining room is due to close at the end of April, followed by the cooking school at the end of July. In an email sent to customers and media, the restaurant said: “We didn’t expect our landlord selling the site to a property developer that doesn’t see Homeland in its vision. It is renovating our building, beginning huge construction works around us and won’t renew our lease.” 



Eves Pantry’s cherry blossom tart

Buying discounted Easter eggs 

Cock-a-leekie soup. An oldie (literally, the first recipe was published in 1598), but a goodie

Lebanese Grocer’s tabbouleh




Sandwiches that are too tall

Crookies — leave croissants be

Complaining about Easter trading hours (unless you are a worker who isn’t entitled to holiday pay on Easter Sunday, in which case, complain away)


Where We’re Going


This Saturday (6 April) there’s a food truck night at Narrow Neck in Devonport, 5–9pm. There will be a variety of food trucks and a pop-up bar with alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks.

Also on Saturday, but on the opposite end of town, there’s a free dumpling-making workshop at Franklin: The Centre in Pukekohe, 10–11.30am. Open to adults and children (with supervision).

The New Lynn Community Centre will be hosting a Ramadan night market on Saturday, 6.30–8.30pm. There will be halal food and pastries, and a variety of stalls selling clothing, gifts and more.

The Greek House in Point Chevalier has a buffet from 7.30pm every day (except Tuesday, as they’re closed) until the end of Ramadan. It’s $50 for adults and $25 for children and includes a range of dishes from traditional Middle Eastern to Mediterranean. The dessert options look especially good in my opinion: om ali, baklava and kunafa — yum!

I’ll do my best to pop another reminder in here next week, but an advance warning that there are two international food-based festivals next weekend. On Saturday, 13 April, World of Flavours International Food Festival will be on at the Auckland Showgrounds in Epsom from 10am to 4pm. There will be food from “the Philippines, China, Korea, Japan, Mexico and so much more”, plus cultural performances. Then on Sunday, 14 April, CultureFest will be taking place at Mt Roskill War Memorial Park from 11am to 5pm. There will be more than 100 stalls offering traditional foods from around the world, arts and crafts, clothing and fair trade goods.

Andiamo is offering a special set lunch, Wednesdays through to Sunday, 12–3pm. For $40 per person, the lunch starts with a glass of 2023 Vavasour Sauvignon Blanc, fresh focaccia with red pepper and parmesan butter, and the choice of either market fish with ajo blanco or a tomato risotto with soffritto, stracciatella and basil.


Metro x Gao




We visited Gao shortly after it opened in 2018, before the pandemic, before the workforce shortages and before the cost of living crisis which have wreaked havoc across this city’s dining scene . On this first visit, what we found at this restaurant was impressive (not to mention delicious). So, after being hosted at Gao for a visit last week (thanks!), it was both unexpected and pleasing to discover that their commitment to quality and warm, insightful service had only deepened. Gao has weathered its fair share of challenges over the years, including workforce shortages and the cost of living crisis. This perseverance and dedication of the owner, Brian, and his passionate team have undoubtedly played a crucial role in maintaining the restaurant’s high standards and creating memorable dining experiences for customers. This collective spirit of belief and love among the staff has likely contributed significantly to Gao’s enduring success and positive reputation within the community and with the addition of head chef Rupert Palaroan last year, there’s also a welcome addition of Filipino flavours which adds a fresh, new dimension to the already stacked and playful menu.

If you’re going (and you should) it seems judicious to wrangle a few dining companions so you’re able to try as much of the menu as possible – many of the dishes are designed to be shared. And although we tried a lot, somehow we didn’t find anything we wouldn’t order again in a heartbeat.

In an effort to help you navigate things a little though, we particularly recommend the Sichuan Salted Cucumber which is bright, fresh and paired perfectly with the cashew cream it comes sitting in; the Tuna ‘Kinilaw’ (ceviche with spiced coconut and salsa); the Peking Duck which comes pre-assembled with an excellent cherry hoisin sauce and wrapped in a roti rather than the traditional thin pancake; the Cheese Burger Spring Rolls and the Garlic Beef Longganisa Skewers which arrive lying on a flat bread and garlic confit aioli – you’d be doing yourself a disservice if you left without tasting them.

It’s hard not to be a little jealous of the North Shore locals who have a place like Gao to drop into at a moments notice. But for everyone else, it’s definitely worth the short trip over the bridge – head over, park up, and, we cannot stress this enough, order the skewers. And the cucumber. And the kinilaw. And the spring rolls.

Go to Gao!

Pot Luck delivers free to the finest inboxes of Auckland every week(ish)!
Sign up to get it here


Latest issue shadow

Metro N°442 is Out Now.

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.

Buy the latest issue