Sunday, February 21, 2010

Auckland's Next Top Meal

Thanks for the correspondence on my last topic: best ever Auckland eats. Food and food memories change regularly according to one's mood, so I promise I won't hold you to your current picks forever. Here's some of my favourite replies from email, facebook and Twitter:

Sharyn wakes up with her mouth already watering for the fresh salmon and avocado spring rolls at Nishiki. I know what she means: raw salmon can be quite addictive, fresh spring rolls are exciting and still quite rare (I had some amazing ones from a vegetarian stall at ASB Showgrounds' Chinese New Year celebrations before they sold out), and then Nishiki ramps the crack-cocaine dial up to 11 by drizzling this amazing Japanese mayo on top. Breathtaking.

Shazzer also gives a shout out to the eggplant with melted cheese at Zipangu in Ponsonby. I'm ashamed to say I haven't been there, but I have spotted a similar dish back at Nishiki. It tasted good but I must admit I was surprised to see something so cheesy at a Japanese restaurant – I could have sworn most Asians were lactose intolerant. (Yes, I know that sounds culturally dodgy but I used to work as PR for Rice Dream the rice milk company, and non-Caucasians were our bread and butter. Or should I say, our bread and churned rice pulp curd.

Tina, proprietor of the excellent Roar Prawn politico blog, has two equal favourites, both ducky. In her words: “Roasted Duck breast & confit leg, sweet Potato mash, red wine Shallots & Porcini jus at O'Connells.... unreal... it was so melty and tasty. I will never forget it. Also love the peking duck at Euro - as you can guess duck is particular fav we have it a lot but O'Connells is the best by a muscovy beak.”

Both quite flash places, and so is Clooney, home to my old flatmate MJ's best eating memory. On that night, he had crisp confit duck with sherry soaked prunes and an elderflower jelly. It was particularly memorable for him because of the staff's reaction to him and his hunky blonde Swedish colleague. MJ reckons they were treated like a gay couple due to the vibe the Swede was putting out, although to be fair it could well have been because the staff got word that when he was flatting with me, MJ used to get amped for a night on the town by listening to the CD single of 5ive's “Keep on Moving”.

Twitterer @ketiesha voted for the pork belly at Meredith's. Good call ketiesha. In his culinary bible “Meat”, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall picks roasted pork belly as his favourite recipe in the whole volume. So ketiesha, you're in good company. It's a pity you only had 160 characters to tell me about it, as I would have loved to hear more.

Incidentally, I haven't yet been to Meredith's myself, but I have a mental block that it's run by some woman named Meredith. In fact, I now know that the owner is a guy named Michael Meredith, but weirdly every time someone mentions the restaurant I still picture some slophouse run by the blonde mum from Family Ties.

I'll do another instalment of best Auckland eats down the track, so for those of you new to the blog, or those who've been promising me a reply, I'll look forward to hearing from you in your own sweet time.