Sunday, February 28, 2010

Auckland's best-catered bus stop

Two Fifteen isn't a marquee name on the Auckland restaurant scene, but after seeing it in the Metro Top 50 last year, and hearing Dine's senior chef name it among her top three favourite restaurants in the city, I was most looking forward to trying it out last night. The restaurant is named after its street number on Dominion Road, a part of town where the competition for upmarket dining comes from Pizza Hutt, Burger Fuel, and a suspicious looking noodle house called Two Monkeys.

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:

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Feeding Doug the Builder

Taking an out of town guest to dinner requires a careful balancing act. You want to impress them, sure, but you want them to fell comfortable and happy too. It's all very well taking your mate from Hamilton to Prego for pizza, but if he asks for a stuffed crust and the waiter is anything but cool and accommodating, your friend's going to wish he'd stayed in with takeaways.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Best Japanese in Freeman's Bay

My friend Grant's favourite sort of restaurant is one that no one else goes to. He likes nothing more than sitting in a giant, empty room with his long-suffering wife, free from all the annoyances that come with a crowd – such as ambience, social interaction, and a shared sense of community. Predictably, as soon as he finds a suitably under-patronised restaurant, it closes down – but presumably only after the owner has retrieved the very last piece of expired produce from the back of the about-to-be-repossessed fridge and served it up to Grant as “Tonight's Special”.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

A Festivus for the rest of us

Food and wine festivals. They sound great, but are they? Before purchasing your ticket, it's worth doing a quick calculation to work out exactly what it is that you're getting for your money. The Auckland Seafood Festival cost me $17 or something last year, and what did I get in return? The privilege of queuing to pay for food slightly worse in quality than if I'd got it at the local fish and chip shop. Who is that festival for anyway? Is there anyone in New Zealand who hasn't tried prawns before?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Mex and the City

You could list 100 things any given Auckland restaurant could do to improve the dining experience, but approximately 87 of those problems could be solved by simply hiring staff that care about the food they're serving. This was highlighted to me last night at Mexicali in Newmarket, where my purchase of a $13.50 takeaway burrito came with a free lesson in vocational passion from the young man behind the counter.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Eating in

You won't see many recipes on this blog: I'm not a chef. I am, however, a show-off - which is why I couldn't resist telling you that the best eats in town tonight are at my house. Pictured above, slices of Wagyu topside, filled with pinenuts, raisins, parmesan, garlic and parsley. They're about to be strung up then browned, then braised in red wine and tomato for about three hours. Thanks birthday Italian cookbook.