What We're Eating and Drinking

From issue #102.May 30, 2022
What we're eating and drinking forka and knife

There’s no rest for the food-obsessed... when the dish team isn’t bringing you delicious recipes, we’re out there trawling far and wide in search of tasty fare. Below, we share our latest favourite haunts.

Sarah Tuck, Editor

Satya Chai Lounge, Auckland: I feel like I was very late to the Satya Chai Lounge party – but now that I’ve been once, I’m just looking for an excuse to head back. Tucked down a dark, beer can-lined alleyway off Sandringham Road, (one of five Satya locations), the vibe is laid-back, casual cool, with wooden stools, beer crates, relaxed seating and sacking festooning the ceiling. The menu is packed with vibrant Indian street food options, a few wines, tempting cocktails and an extensive array of craft beer. Predictably, I started with the Spiced Negroni, which provided a very pleasing kick to accompany the absolutely non-negotiable Dahi Puri bites – crispy chickpea crackers topped with potato and chickpeas, yoghurt, rich, tangy tamarind chutney, a dusting of spice and fresh coriander. Oh. My. God. Next up, CurryFlower (spiced, battered, flash fried cauliflower), Vege Dumpling Manchurian (twice-fried moreish morsels made from potato, ginger and onion) and grunty Chicken 65, with chilli, curry leaves and yoghurt. For two moderately hungry souls, four dishes was the perfect amount, and so very, very good. On the wish list for next time – Mushroom Magic: spicy, peppery tempura-style straw mushrooms. Excellent company, fantastic food and delicious drinks… happy days! satya.co.nz

Claire Aldous, Food Editor

Cazador, Auckland: It’s so easy to sit in this small but gorgeous emerald-tiled space with the coffee machine rumbling and the aroma of Dariush’s warm-from-the-oven, almond-stuffed croissants wafting over us. The space is stacked to the ceiling with local and imported artisanal products and a visit here wouldn’t be complete without perusing the cabinet. Think rillettes, wild boar and pistachio salami, prosciutto, game terrine and pâté, all butchered and processed in house, along with a mouthwatering selection of cheeses. Add in one of their tasty sandwiches, pastries or salads, and you’re good to go. But it’s the bad boy pies that have fans driving from across the isthmus. I’ve had one of every flavour since they opened and never a dud. Wagu beef with cheesy béchamel sauce, beef brisket and jalapeño, chicken, mustard and tarragon to name a few – all with serious pizzazz. It’s my local and I feel blessed! cazador.co.nz

Liam Carr, Digital Editor

White + Wong’s, Auckland and Queenstown: Fusion cuisine is like assembling the Avengers, where the very best join forces to deliver a formidable medley of dishes. And that’s exactly what you get at White + Wong’s. The combination of Chinese, Vietnamese, Malay and Thai cuisines is among the best foodie team-ups out there. Having visited both the Viaduct and Newmarket locations, I can honestly say that the quality of the food is excellent. I’m not usually one for sharing, but the menu is perfectly suited to a group of friends who want to sample a little bit of everything. And sample I have. The Gua Bao with Chinese Roast Pork Belly is an excellent starter – however, and I know it’s early, the Massaman Curry of Lamb Shoulder served on a bed of rice is the best dish I’ve eaten this year! whiteandwongs.co.nz

Maddie Ballard, Deputy Editor

Ombra, Wellington: During a quick stop in the capital over Christmas, we made time to visit this gorgeous Cuba Street spot. The food blew us away: spicy ’nduja pizza, umami beef ragu and a glorious burrata with fragrant orange. Of course, the menu has already changed as I write this, thanks to Ombra’s dedication to seasonality – but whatever you have, you won’t regret it. ombra.co.nz

Yvonne Lorkin, Drinks Editor

Piku Izakaya, Havelock North: I’m eating pretty much everything on the menu here. I love the Wagu Meatballs on ramen and their Volcano Sushi Rolls with Lava Sauce are a total mouthquake. For something more substantial, the Green Tea-smoked Ovation Lamb Rump is rather epic and the Yuzu Meringue is crazy-good. piku.co.nz

Conor Fox, Art Director

El Humero, Auckland: Do you like barbecue? Are you interested in eating a slab of ribs the size of your face, slow-cooked to perfection? Then boy oh boy, do I have the place for you. I went to El Humero first for a big family dinner about eight years ago and I never really stopped thinking about this Takapuna-based Colombian BBQ joint. I was very excited to visit again recently with one of my best friends and eat a ridiculous amount of super-yum food. elhumero.co.nz