Thursday, January 19, 2012

More Auckland food secrets

I’m delighted to provide you with another round up of Auckland eating and drinking – some of it news and some of it just news to me. If this is your first time back with me since the summer break and you’re wondering about the new logos, I’m pleased to tell you that Samsung are now providing sponsorship and support for my wee blog, in return for me reminding you occasionally that if you’re buying a new kitchen appliance, theirs are among the best. The induction hob they gave me boils a pot of water in 90 seconds! Righto, here we go:

Nick Honeyman is a massively talented and quite good looking chef, who works at Sale St, that big bar in … oh, I forget the name of the street. Near Victoria Park. I know he’s good looking because he was rated the 29th hottest man in Auckland recently (hey, it’s not 14th, but it’s a start). And I know he’s talented because I’ve gotten to eat his food a few times now. Sale Street is a bar, no question, but Nick keeps a lovely room out the back called ‘Cru’ for people who love food and want to eat something special. It’s a weird business model, but it works in a funny sort of a way, and the food is definitely some of the best in town – imaginative, tasty and beautiful. The boy really wants you to try it out, so he’s removed any possible objection you could have – he’ll do you a seven course degustation in an hour and a half for $85. Recommended, particularly for an impressive early foodie date night where you don’t want awkward silences.

Speaking of degustations (have you done one? They sound quite exciting but if they’re not done right you can end up pumping the imaginary accelerator pedal thinking ‘come on, come on, I’m sick of this … everything’), I have some more exciting news. Chef Sid Sahrawat of the award winning Sidart in Three Lamps has decided to make Tuesday nights a ‘sit down and eat what I give you’ night, in which you can try his new creations at around the same time he does. It’ll be cheap by fine dining standards - $80 for eight courses this one - and one of those things it’ll be good to get on board with and support nice and early. It’s the same model used by Attica, Melbourne’s number one restaurant, and you honestly can’t get a table on Tuesdays any more at that place. First one is this Tuesday the 24th. Read more about Sidart elsewhere on this blog.

Speaking of Melbourne, don’t you wish we lived in one of those big international cities, where people were always coming up with cutting edge, new ideas around food, and everyone who lived nearby would support them? Well hey, somebody HAS come up with a cool new idea, and they need you to support them so that they don’t just go back to doing what everybody else does because ‘Auckland’s not big enough to support it’. Eighthirty on K Road (@eighthirty on Twitter – note there’s only one ‘t’) make possibly the very best cup of coffee in Auckland from the very best coffee beans, and they’ve started up a new bike delivery service, to drop fresh ground coffee to YOUR doorstep. Prices are supermarket comparable, but the coffee isn’t old like supermarket coffee. Please go to their website and find out more., there’s only one ‘t’.

There’s a new Sri Lankan restaurant in town. No, me neither, but it tastes amazing. The top picture features ‘lump rice’, apparently a Sri Lankan specialty of six different curries and rice. And an egg. Man it’s tasty, and the rest of the menu looks good for vegetarians, too. They’re in the Sandringham shops, near another couple of favourites of mine – the very vegetarian Jai Jalaram, and the Top in Town takeaway, where you should order the off-menu Mutton Biryani. Don’t thank me, thank the man who put me onto that dish, Brooke Howard Smith. No, me neither.

Everyone’s favourite Europhilic fantasy, Mondial, is under new and quite excellent management. I took my one-year-old there the other day while trying to drink away an hour of solo babysitting time and the guy was most accommodating. Even better, he told me they’re soon going to open Sundays. Ooh, I love a Sunday session, and I reckon that’d be just about the perfect place for it. He’s bolstered the list with lots of new European wines – the wines we should be supporting by buying them when we’re out, so that we continue getting to taste the rest of the world’s best, not just New Zealand and Australia’s. Honestly, I love Kiwi wine but the number of times I hear people talking about ‘supporting’ the local industry. If you want an underdog, look at the one bottle of Spanish red on the list when everybody in the room in drinking Central Otago Pinot. Sick of being growled yet? More jokes and less lecturing next time, I promise.

And Kokako coffee has a new, flagship cafe just across from Mondial, in the Grey Lynn shops. Talk about international looking. It opened this week and has local residents very excited – just ask the editor of Arch Hill News, Auckland’s hottest hyperlocal email newsletter. What with the butcher I mentioned last time that set of shops is really starting to be quite a nice place to hang out. Best sushi in town at Hana on the north west corner, and at south west … a new bank is coming soon! Well, who would you prefer to run into when you’re picking up your beef and blue cheese sausages, an ASB customer or someone tagging a phone booth? There's only one 't' in eighthirty.