Prepare to drool! Dining at Lava

It’s August and that means Auckland Restaurant Month!

I love this month. I save up all my dining envy from my Facebook feed (pun intended) and roll it out in August when I can make huge savings at the city’s best restaurants.

Last week I kicked off the month in Sofitel style at Lava Dining in the Auckland viaduct. An award-winning chef, a new innovative winter menu AND a restaurant month deal!

Here it is for your drooling edification:

Sofitel lava dining auckland
Our view from our table at Lava Dining across the viaduct
Sofitel Auckland
Ora King Salmon

I started with this dish of fresh salmon served with halved grapes, ribbons of cucumber, fresh wasabi (which didn’t blow my head off like I find it usually does), shiso and rice crackers matched with a crisp Nautilus Estate Marlborough Sauvignon. Happy place.

Sofitel Auckland scallops
Scallop entree

My husband did not do the tasting menu, preferring to go for three courses a la carte. He started with these delicious, warm seared scallops with proscuitto, red onion jam, cauliflower puree and decorated with little beet leaves. Yes I had a taste and yes it was great! *plateenvy

Sofitel Auckland ox cheek
Braised ox cheek

Then he waited while I tucked into this generous serve of melt-in-your-mouth braised ox cheek with crispy beet chips, beet puree, black garlic and parsley and scattered with nuts for some good crunch. Pierre paired it with the only Australian on my menu, Yalumba Coonawarra Cigare Cabernet Sauvignon. I was excited now.

Sofitel Auckland degustation
Gnocchi with mushrooms

Then it was time for the gnocchi course. Pillows of potato gnocchi on a pumpkin puree with smoky mushrooms, sliced truffle and kale chips. The smokiness was amazing and it came paired with the Nautilus Marlborough Chardonnay which was so good. And I’m not normally a Chardy girl!

Sofitel Auckland restaurant month
Venison with leeks

Then back together we came with me having this little Raukumara wild venison dish – which was plenty generous for course number four! Hubby had a larger version, served medium rare with parsnip puree, sauteed leeks, red cabbage gel, hazelnuts and cocoa nibs on a rich jus. But the Nautilus Pinot Noir made the whole thing come together on a romantic rainy Auckland night!

Sofitel restaurant month
A little palate cleanser!

This carrot and orange sorbet served on Greek yoghurt was a sneaky little dish in and of itself! One you should definitely serve at home – but for pudding not just a pause 🙂

Sofitel Auckland restaurant month
Chocolate upon chocolate!

No I didn’t have room for this dish so we shared it! Valrhona chocolate mousse with salted caramel, macarons, and peanut butter ice cream paired with the delicious Greywacke Marlbough Late Harvest Riesling. I managed the sticky all by myself 🙂

Sofitel dessert auckland
Coconut panacotta

And just to be sure we were absolutely satiated, hubby ordered this yummy coconut panacotta with poached rhubarb, berry sorbet and pistachio.

So there you have it. Hungry?

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Thanks to the great team at the Sofitel for hosting us! Jump here to book in for your turn at Lava Dining >>

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Auckland’s best Indian restaurant

Google Auckland’s best Indian restaurant and it’s no surprise that Oh Calcutta comes up #1.

It’s been my favourite for over 15 years and last night I went back after a long time (I moved out of the ‘hood and Parnell seems so far away now…). Meena, the gorgeous owner and creator of the fabulous dishes, still remembered me and our table of 5 were mightily impressed.

We started with tender tandoori lamb cutlets with little silver foils on the bone to eat them from. And onion bhajis that come in a large plate to consume by fork rather than as individual balls. Great sauces to accompany each.

Oh Calcutta Parnell
Mmm oh how I love butter chicken!

Then comes the reason we are here: Oh Calcutta’s Butter Chicken is to die for. Seriously, if you are about to order your last meal before you go to meet your maker, make it Meena’s butter chicken! It’s rich, tomatoey and creamy and the tandoori spiced chicken is always tender. There is so much sauce that sopping it up with a roti or naan is my most favourite thing to do. (Note to self: never come here on a date. It’s not a good look)

On the menu is a Lamb Nawabi, but as I prefer the tender chicken pieces, I ordered it with chicken – and they are always happy to oblige. This is a mild curry with onions, tomatoes and fenugreek in a spiced coconut sauce.

We also had the Lamb Roganjosh which was pronounced the best he’d eaten. He’s been away from Auckland for about a year and reckons he forgot how good Oh Calcutta’s Roganjosh was.

Our Weight Watchers companion dined on Tandoori Chicken which she enjoyed – but was clearly robbed by not being able to sop up the copious and delicious sauces with a freshly made Roti. The other dish on the table was Chicken Tikka Masala – tender chicken pieces smoked over charcoal and finished in Meena’s classic rich tomato, onion and coriander sauce.

A bottle of wine, an extra glass and a beer and all up we paid less than $45 each and rolled out of there chewing a Minty from the cashier (trying not to wreck our dentures) and all agreed Oh Calcutta is the best curry house in Auckland – if not the world!

151 Parnell Road | Auckland | ph 09 377 9090.

Waiheke Island: lunch at Cable Bay

There is nothing more sublime than taking the ferry from downtowb (about 30 minutes from either downtown or Halfmoon Bay) and landing on Waiheke Island for lunch in the sun.

I popped out on New Year’s Day and the aforementioned sun was smiling. It clearly knew we were going to be seeing a lot more of it over this classic kiwi summer we’re currently basking in.

From the ferry you can catch a cab or a bus. We had arrived at Half Moon Bay and there a ricketty old bus owned by the unlikely named Jaguar Tours charged us $5 per head to take us where we’d like. Cable Bay please.

Cable Bay Waiheke Island
From the carpark, descend the stairs and the view is through the foyer
Cable Bay foyer
Restaurant to the left, wine bar and tasting to room to the right

I’ve never been here before, but owner and winemaker Neill Culley produces a mighty fine drop here onsite and new co-owners Loukas and Caroline Petrou have added some new touches when it comes to style and relaxing. Cue bean bag chairs arranged on the infinity lawn that drops into the view of Auckland city’s skyline and a sunken outdoor dining area under umbrellas for a cheeky wine in that sun instead of the fine dining restaurant.

Cable Bay bean bags
These are so popular you need to jump quick to get one!
Cable Bay outdoors
A glass of wine outside under an umbrella is just the ticket

Herbs and veges are grown in a garden out the front and sculptures dot the lawn making a great photo op – or play thing, depending upon your age.

We had a good look around, checking out the private cellar in the low-lit basement where small groups can dine or taste Neill’s wines under a chandelier and surrounded by his best drops in bottle and barrel. Another meeting space is available upstairs for private functions. And before or after lunch – or instead of – you can hang out in the bar and tasting room, and order small plates for that outdoor dining area.

Cable Bay wine cellar
The wine cellar is perfect for a really special dinner

But it was the main restaurant we had a booking for. A table for 4 was set up in the window of this large dining room. It’s lighter than it was with a new paint job freshening up the walls. Chef Sam Clark has been here about 3 years and his tastes and presentation are perfect. Expect to pay $25 for an entre and $45 for a main.

Cutting to the chase, here’s what we had:

Cable Bay starter
The smoked venison was our pick for entre – although their pate was to die for!
Cable Bay snapper
Our table had steak, lamb and pork belly, but this snapper dish was our pick for fave
Cable Bay dessert
This chocolate mousse dessert with sorbet and apricots was perfect

Expect to hob nob with Auckland’s elite (those who have homes on Waiheke – you know who you are), and a few internationals have been known to helicopter in too. Cable Bay is really popular for weddings, for obvious reasons. I’ll definitely be back!

Click here to visit the website of Cable Bay Vineyards

How to eat at Eight, the Langham’s buffet!

If you’re going to Eight at the Langham, you need to know how to strategically tackle what is quite possibly the best buffet offering in Auckland!

The Langham Auckland’s “new concept in dining” is made up of eight different food stations. Don’t call it buffet, call it fine dining self service.

Eight at Langham

The eight themed ‘kitchens’ each have their own chef, and carry a daily changing signature dish or you can ask the chef to whip you up your own personal delight.

We went for my birthday and had a great seat right beside the window, pretty much in first place as far as nipping back and forth is concerned. The very helpful staff gave us an orientation tour and we did a figure of eight (see what I did there?) seeing, smelling and drooling over all the possibilities. Well not literally as that would be gross.

Pad Thai starter at the Silk Road

Tip: To do buffets well, or even, I shall assert, correctly, there are definite strategies one must employ.

Firstly, don’t take the biggest plate and put a little bit of this and a little bit of that on it until you have a mountain of greed to take back to your table. What you’ll end up with is meat juice blending with your raw oysters and curry sauce on your salad.

The concept of Eight is already rolled out in the Langham Melbourne and it’s a new way of eating. A do-it-yourself degustation where you get to choose all your tiny plates and resist the urge to be a glutton. It’s hard I know, and probably takes more than one visit to get it right.

Vegetarians avert your eyes!

But on your tour, while salivating your way round, mentally design your meal. Maybe you’ll start with raw oysters. Personally I say ick, so I started with salmon and tuna sashimi sliced to order by the chef at Tokaido. Sushi is also there standing in little orderly lines. Or maybe the dim sum or pork buns will entice you.

Next I went to Route 66 and chose my pound of flesh from the raw meat cabinet. Venison, thanks, medium-rare. And a marinated Portobello mushroom thrown on the grill. While that was sizzling I tried the cream of mushroom soup (an unnecessary filler, but delicious all the same). Beside the raw meat is some pre-prepared Le Crueset dishes bubbling away with beef stroganoff, creamy mashed potatoes, crunchy veges and a huge rib-roast under a heat lamp waiting to be sliced. But when any meat you like, including wagyu (for an extra charge), can be cooked to order why go old school buffet?

Great Ocean Road

The Great Ocean Road is the seafood bar with teryaki salmon, fish skewers, prawns and other many kinds of neptune’s fancy. I by-passed however and headed for the Spice Route, aka curry house. My Bloke dallied at Silk Road with a little dish of Pad Thai noodles to start him off. But the Indian kitchen here is great. Two chefs making naan bread to order and tandoori chicken being whipped off their skewers. Le Crueset (I have a fascination with these expensive pots) dishes of tasty butter chicken, lentil dahl, saag and potato, rogan josh and little dishes of accompaniments beside the rice.

Start at dessert and work backwards…

The Garden Route, aka salad bar, is either help yourself or the chef will toss you up a speciality – like a Caesar or Greek and put a little nasturtium in it.

Move on to the Champs Elysees for French pastries, crepes made by the chef, cheeses and when we went, little warm bread and butter puddings.

Then the ultimate event: Dessert Road with teeny plates of lemon meringue pies, chocolate brownies, pannacotta, cheesecake, fruit salad and ice cream with toppings.

Come hungry, because even if you pace yourself getting through Eight is no mean feat.

An afternoon at Riverhead Pub

Whether you’ve got your own boat and want to brave the tides, you take a ferry from downtown Auckland, and cruise the upper Waitemata harbour, past the Chelsea Sugar Factory, Kauri Point, Hobsonville Airbase, Herald Island, the Poremoremo inlet and Huapai Golf Course to the Riverhead Pub, or just drive, it’s a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Auckland harbour bridge
Tootling past Westhaven Marina and under the Harbour Bridge

If you don’t have your own boat, book a ferry with The Red Boats or the Riverhead Ferry which depart from downtown Auckland.

Chelsea sugar works
It was a bit lumpy out here so my pic is not that clear!

Meanwhile, I travelled in convoy from the Outboard Boating Club in Orakei on their family day out with my cousin and her family, and 166 more of us. Although some took their cars, which in hindsight was a great idea as the wind and swells really got up!

Riverhead
Cruising past the Hobsonville Airbase around Herald Island

After about an hour and 3/4 we see the Riverhead jetty where we waited our turn to stop and clamber out while our skipper went off and anchored in the muddy water and waited for the tender to pick him up

Riverhead jetty
The Red Boat is docked out front

Riverhead jetty signRiverhead boats moored

Riverhead smokey bbq
It’s BBQ time! On sunny Sunday’s the Riverhead can do 2000 covers.
Riverhead bbq guy
It’s non stop sizzling – except for a quick photo

Live music starts at 2pm on Sundays at the Riverhead Pub which is one of the coolest places to spend an afternoon. In 2010 new owners Stephen and Paula bought the pub which was in receivership and frequented by a rather shady clientele. They had been sailing the world for 9 years in a boat they had built themselves before becoming landlubbers. It’s been such a successful venture, they haven’t had time to look back!

Riverhead entrance
If you come by car (or hog) this is the pub entrance
Riverhead pub
There are several bars, nooks of restaurants, outdoor seating – it’s huge!

The Riverhead is the 2nd pub in New Zealand to have applied for a liquor license and Stephen and Paula have done a ton of research and printed out century-old newspaper articles mentioning the pub and its sometimes dodgy past!

Riverhead pub martini
Andy whips up a chocolate martini with a flirty smile

Quirky decor and historic documents as art adorn the walls providing an insight into this pub’s skulduggerous history

Riverhead pub
This boar watches over one of the dining rooms
Riverhead
Gardens sprawl all the way down the water – and kids are discouraged from playing in them!

We set off just on high tide where the upper harbour was nice and calm. It was a different story heading into the wider harbour with an extreme wind warning in force, swells and gusts of up to 40 knots!

Riverhead Red Boat
Home time

Next time we have visitors from out of town, we’ll be bringing them here for sure.

Dinner at Auckland’s Sofitel

I recently spent some pillow time at the Sofitel in Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter in a room with a fabulous view of the harbour – and I am now an evangelist!

I also did the sabrage. What on earth is sabrage, you ask? Why, it’s only whipping the cork off the top of a bottle of champagne with a sabre! Here’s my video here >>>

But before we did that, we ate at Lava Dining. The restaurant has a unique interior design with marble walls that are lit yellow/gold at night like molten lava – and the food! Scott Brown, ex chef from Huka Lodge is in the kitchen so I was expecting great things:

Sofitel lobby
The watery lobby with fresh flowers that change each week. Just on dusk 125 candles are lit in the lobby each night too.
Sofitel Auckland
The junior suite with apartment and marina views
Sofitel Lava Dining
Loving the fresh flowers! Note the marble wall above the bar by day…
Sofitel lava kitchen
Lava kitchen – by night
Sofitel entree
This was my entree: clams and crispy chicken in a creamy garlic broth served on basmati rice with crisp chili toast. I would definitely have it again. The pic doesn’t do it justice.
Sofitel entree
The Bloke ordered this: Pig’s Head. What possessed him I have no idea because the name had me screaming. However it was pressed cheeks slow cooked with kimchi, tomato, garlic, pickle and kewpie (Japanese mayonaise). He loved it.
Sofitel hapuka dinner
My main was this hapuka dish. I nearly didn’t order it as I don’t usually go for fish when I’m out, but thanks to our waiter, Khoi’s recommendation, this is probably the best fish I’ve ever tasted. Hapuka on pureed mash with chorizo and a rich red wine viniagarette. I dream about this meal!
Sofitel lamb
The Bloke had this tender and juicy lamb rump with Jerusalem artichoke, soy bean, pine nuts and olives.
Sofitel dessert
This was a yummy way to end the night: cold coconut rice pudding with rhubarb, yoghurt and digestive biscuits
Sofitel dessert
The quirkily named Fruit and Nut Bar is a deconstructed ice cream dessert with chocolate crackle, black doris sorbet and soft Manjari chocolate. The Bloke had this – and I helped!
Sofitel breakfast
While we’re on food, I thought I’d also show you my breakfast the next day: these crunchy corn fritters with bacon and chipotle sour cream. Gooood!
Sofitel jacuzzi
The Sofitel also has a gym and lap pool, but I decided to include the jacuzzi for your viewing pleasure
Sofitel view
The view from my harbour-view corner room the next morning.

Disclaimer: while I was hosted by Sofitel, my opinions about dinner and the views are entirely my own.

 

Yum Yum Tanuki’s!

Tanuki’s Cave is a longstanding favourite with Auckland dinner crowds – I mean, who hasn’t pranced downstairs into the Cave full of hope and expectation that you’ll get a table for the amazing cabbage and mayo, only to be crushed with a 40min wait time? Not unusual, because the place is packed with moviegoers, theatre bods, corporate suits and this month, comedy festival patrons! But equally delightful is the above ground, grownup Tanuki Japanese Yakitori and Sake Bar upstairs! So, when stomachs are rumbling and you can’t stand the thought of waiting that long – take heart! The delicious menu extends up top so you should calmly take a seat.

Firstly – no high tables upstairs, they’re all regular height but you can still counter-top dine if you prefer as we did. We ordered the customary Asahi (available in a range of sizes as befitting any truly Japanese experience), opting for the on-tap version – which actually just means pouring off the small kegs via the strangest piece of bar equipment I’ve ever seen!

But then – onto the food. Unbelievably enough, my dining companion had never tried the edamame before, so they were a must. Those juicy, cold salted young soybeans burst with flavour in the mouth and are the perfect complement to the dry beer, kind of a Japanese version of peanuts! Whilst some of the Cave specialties appear on the menu, there are plenty of other options to be tried and shared – more small plates options, whereas the Cave is predominantly yakitori. We started with the broccoli with sesame & miso sauce (my companion said “broccoli had never tasted so good!”), grilled scallops wrapped in thinly sliced pork belly with greens, vegetable tempura and beef tataki.

Beef tataki at Tanuki

A perfect way to enjoy a range of flavours, the tempura was perfectly crisp with a satisfying batter and dipping sauce that wasn’t too vinegary. It’s always a good sign when you don’t go reaching for soy sauce to add a little kick to the dish. There was a sneaky little piece of fish in our tempura, but seeing as we’re not vegetarian it was more of a treat!

The scallops were well cooked, the pork belly sliced more like pancetta, tender around the scallop and crispy on the edge. Enough to split without arguing over, which is always key! The basil hit the right note to finish off the scallop/pork combo, although not a traditional Japanese herb! Then the beef – well I can always squeeze in a little more beef tataki – the crispy rice noodle on top is just delicious and the greens just substantial enough to make you feel slightly healthy!

Ever tempted (after soaking up the rest of the sesame sauce with edamame beans), we ordered the waffle to share and both agreed it was extremely pretty but more satisfying on the eyes that the taste buds! However, for four dishes, 3 500ml beers and dessert – we were pretty happy to spend just under $100 for two, and enjoy plenty of atmosphere.

Next time you’re in town – give upstairs a go and be pleasantly surprised! Plus, you can eat guilt-free without all those hungry faces longingly waiting for you to finish with your table!

Tanuki
Dinner : 17:00 – 23:00 (Sun to Thu) / 17:00 – 23:30 (Fri & Sat)
319 Queen Street, Auckland City / Ph (09) 379-5353

Euro: judging the master chef

EuroIt’s been a few years since I darkened the door of Euro on Princes Wharf and The Bloke had never been so we decided to go there for my birthday dinner. Master Chef judge Simon Gault has always had me at ‘signature chicken’ and this night would be no exception, but it was the tastes before that had me swooning.

Happily for us we were shown to the private champagne booth down in the Pasha end of the expanded and busy restaurant. Two large groups were booked for 7.30 so we’d been advised to slide our order in before they sat they well heeled selves down. And you do need to be reasonably well-heeled to sit down here. Sadly Mr Gault’s restaurants (he also own Jervois Steak House) are not featured in my Entertainment Guide, not that The Bloke was going to let me clip a coupon on this auspicious night anyway…

Euro
The Peking duck

The paper menus have been replaced by bright yellow laminated posters which belie the quality of what is written on it. Our waiter introduced himself as Raz and gave us typically great Euro service – attentive, an ability to banter with my attempts at engaging him, and a thorough knowledge of every tiny nuance on the yellow sheet.

Being the birthday girl, I wanted to share entrees (do guys do that?) so we started with Peking Duck on a platter with 5 little Chinese pancakes that arrived in a dumpling basket, a heap of shredded duck and pieces of crispy skin, a little dish of crunchy coleslaw, another of cashew dukka, and a bowl of hoisin. Make yourself a little burrito and eat in two bites. Outstanding.

Euro
S.G's crab and prawn delight

We also went for S.G’s crab and prawn which is a thick and rich chowder with jalapeno creme fraiche sauce and tuna wafers which are sliced so thinly they wave about on the plate looking like they’re alive. Two spoons thank you and I was happy as a clam.

You already know what I ordered for my main, and in fact could have placed my order from the car on the way there, but here is why I do love Euro’s signature chicken.

Euro
The 'signature chicken'

It is rubbed with herbs, slow cooked on the rotisserie and served with a ridiculously creamy and flavoursome mash with a crunchy slaw sprinkled with roasted peanuts. (I try this at home.) The portion was generous – a breast and little drumstick.

Euro
The eye fillet with extra morsels

Wagyu was on the menu for $65, but The Bloke went for a medium rare eye fillet which was also a generous serve accompanied by some melt-in-your-mouth braised rib and a slice of mushroom and bone marrow terrine. We added a side dish of green beans with sliced almonds and goats cheese.

Euro
Just enough room to share....

And yes we did manage to keep our pudding stomachs free. Well relatively so – we shared a hot and melty chocolate pudding (which took 15 minutes to bake, just enough time to finish our bottle of Church Road), served with bannoffee icecream and a sweep of raspberry couli.

No coffee thanks, not even a wafer thin mint.

Total bill, including breads and dips to start and that bottle of red – $235

 

Al Brown’s Depot is worth pulling into

Al Brown Depot
Al Brown's Depot

If you slip down Federal Street between the Sky City’s valet parking entrance and Sky Grand’s entrance you’ll see a raft of new restaurants and bars spear headed by celebrity chefs and bursting with happy diners. It’s easy to miss though if you’re not a regular to the casino or one of the inner city commuters who hot foot it down Federal. Buses line the street like a train at any given time and a taxi rank stretches for at least half of it. But when they “move that bus” (Auckland Council please make it permanently so!) the big reveal is quite simply fabulous.

Today I lunched at Al Brown’s Depot. He opened his doors at the same time Luke Dallow opened Hummingbird (read our opening night review here) next door and Sean Connolly opened The Grill just on the other side of the Sky Grand’s new entrance. Like Hummingbird there is outdoor seating for those brave enough to sit amongst the bus fumes, but we decided on a table next to a new window that has been blasted through the Sky Grand wall to reveal their swanky lobby.

Tuatua
Just slide these suckers off the shell in one

Nick (from somewhere in the north of England by the sounds) was our waiter and after hearing about the Depot’s most popular dishes until a little pool of drool collected on the table in front of me, we let him come up with a selection of small plates and one main for us to share. I was also keen to try the wine on tap. Yes, pinot noir out of keg from Mt Edward in Central Otago’s Gibbston Valley. It was 17.5˚ (which I find quite suitable for a red) and is done especially because Al is a mate. It pays to be mates with Al, who was sitting behind me, because he’s been selling barrels of it. That and Spy Valley sauvignon blanc and Mt Edward rose, also on tap but chilled like beer.

While poring over the menu a little plate of complimentary and deliciously smooth babaganoush arrived with flat bread. But it was the raw seafood bar that grabbed my attention.

Depot peach and proscuitto salad
The fabulous warm peach and proscuitto salad

I’ve never seen tuatua just sitting on ice like oysters before. Let alone tasted them. The only way I’ve eaten tuatua (after doing the hip swivel in the sand at low tide) is to throw them on the barbie in their shells with a little white wine when they pop open. But no. Here they come raw and shucked with a little vinagarette to drip on and “schloopp”. That’s the sound you make when you suck them off the shell. (NB: Not first date fodder). The texture is tougher than an oyster, but the flavour mild, like a scallop maybe? You’ll have to try them and decide for yourself. $2.50 each.

A plate of raw salmon sliced thinly was our next dish with wasabi mayo, $15. Nice but not as wow as the rest of what was about to come.

Turbot sliders
These tiny fish burgers are FAB

The plate of the day for me was the white peach and proscuitto salad. It was a surprise and I have already tried to emulate it at home putting peach slices on the bbq. This was sublime: warm charred peach slices, salty proscuitto, rocket, toasted macadamia nuts and tart blue cheese with a cab sav dressing. I think it’s only a special so you’d better get there quick.

Next was also fab and I’d already read Tweets about it: Turbot Sliders, 4 for $15. This light fish is similar to flounder, lightly egged and pan fried, served with aoli in tiny burger buns that are a little sweet. But we still weren’t done.

Depot pork
Slow cooked pork and potato skins

A swig of my tumbler of pinot and the 6-hour cooked pork hock which fell off the bone served with crispy skin, grated apple and a parsnip puree arrived. This is a main dish ($29) and would be great to share with a wine for two.

I’d almost forgotten that we also ordered the potato skins – most likely deep fried, they were that delicious, with shaved chevrago cheese and dusted with porcini powder giving it a truffle taste, $10.

Done and dusted and heading home for a lie down! I’m going back with my Bloke as soon we can 🙂

 

Depot Eatery and Oyster Bar, 86 Federal Street. Ph 09 363 7048. But you can’t make a booking, so just call if you’ve left your wallet!

www.eatatdepot.co.nz

Auckland Night Market

I’d seen the billboard advertising the Auckland Night Market at Pakuranga on my way to and from work for weeks now and keep meaning to pop along. It happens in seven locations, seven nights a week and on a Saturday night it’s under The Warehouse at the Pakuranga shopping centre.

Auckland night market
Mmm, dinner!

With The Bloke away and me enjoying a sunny Saturday pottering about, my big outing was a visit to said market. And I wasn’t disappointed. They’re open from 5.30pm till midnight every Saturday, rain or shine because they’re under cover.

Not sure what Bunch of Mutton is…

Since I first wrote this post in March 2011, the market has quadrupled in size.

Come hungry because you’ll find all sorts of food sizzling away from Malaysian satay to Pad Thai noodles to dumplings, Hangi pies, steamed pork buns, curry and plenty of sweets in the form of churros, donuts and even a cupcake stall.

There were a couple of stalls selling antiques (read second-hand), some cheapie jewellery stalls (which will be perfect when I bring my 8-year old god-daughter here for her birthday treat). Artists painted kids names to be framed, and kids $2-shop style toys make it fun to bring the kids with a bit of pocket money. People were selling soaps, others socks and pantyhose. A candyfloss man was making floss on a stick bigger than a kids’ head, the Avon lady was there and so was The Coffee Guy. There are clothes for sale and fresh fruit and vegies. A sound system was being set up which I presume was for some markety tunes, but I’d had my fill by the time he got it all plugged in.

Auckland Night Market
An octopus anyone?

I bought The Bloke a battery powered fly swat from a stall selling toys and electronic games, and I’ll be grateful not to consume any more giant puffs of Raid every time a fly enters his personal space.

Oh and I also bought a bag of fantastic seasoned salt mixed with smoked garlic and chilli which will go just grand on roast chook, barbecued salmon or as a dip with bread and oil. In fact this was the purchase of the night and I am now an internet purchaser of the stuff.

If you’re in the area, pop in one Saturday, The Auckland Night Market, Westfield, Pakuranga Plaza, Auckland.