Venture to Auckland's Mt Eden Village and you'll be delighted at what you discover.
This patch of prime real estate is home to some of the best brunch and lunch spots in the city – there's Rad, Corner Burger, Olaf's, Fraser's and Ralph's, to name but a few. The neighbourhood can now add Asian-fusion inspired eatery Wu & You to an already well-vetted line-up of culinary offerings.
Neighbouring the ever-popular Rad, this tasty little nook is as colourful as a stroll down Melbourne's Hosier Lane and literally basking in neon light. A graphic cityscope mural spans the wall, trickling out into a buzzing urban courtyard. It's a befittingly trendy space that suits a menu of dumplings, tacos and cheesecake, served on a popsicle stick.
The team credit "international inspiration" for Wu & You's innovative new approach to serving Asian fare, while head chef Ciaran Faherty has clearly had fun with the menu. There's the little guys, the bigger guys, the loners and the decadent "happy endings". We start where every good meal should, with a crisp and masterfully-mixed "Cocky T", the Rhubarb Sprits, a refreshingly tart medley of Aperol, rhubarb and strawberry shrub, orange juice and prosecco.
The menu here is designed to share, so be sure to bring your appetite and a gaggle of foodie friends. The 'Schnitty Bao', with ramen-crumbed chicken schnitzel, creamy kimchi tartare in a light, fluffy steamed bun, ties us over until the main dishes arrive, while the pickled shiitake dumplings bathed in chilli oil serve as bite-sized portions of our favourite Asian flavours.
For the adventurous, you simply can't go past the norigami salmon taco, served in a handy little pocket that reads "every now and then I fall apart". The tongue in cheek menu makes a conscious effort to steer clear of any pretentious, hard-to-comprehend or trying-to-be-fancy ingredients. The taco's puffed outer shell is filled to the brim with a combination of sushi rice, generous strips of fermented cabbage and melt-in-your mouth salmon, doused with chilli oil and dollops of Japanese mayo.
Don't be afraid to go big or go home. While the menu is designed to cater for every appetite, the sample-sized bites enable larger parties to experiment and go full Wu. We suggest saving room for the grand finale, the 'Golden Gaytime Paddle Pop'. If a twice-dipped chocolate covered slice of frozen New York-style cheesecake, drizzled with salty miso caramel sauce and sprinkled with cookie crumbs doesn't get your juices flowing, then we're afraid nothing will.
After bathing in neon for the better part of two hours, you'd be forgiven for losing track of time, settling in for the afternoon and ordering another round of cocktails (because they're that good).
Wu & You is well on its way to becoming a neighbourhood staple, and rightfully so. The vibe, playful menu and the killer cocktail list actually deserves the kudos.
Wu & You,
399 Mt Eden Road,
Opening hours: 11.30am–12.00am, 7 days
Kitchen closes at 10.00pm.