Cafe Melba (Ellerslie)

Cafe Melba in Ellersie is one of those “Entertainment Book” places to go. Without the book, I wouldn’t even know if the place existed. It also helps that I get some form of discount. Samples below:

Salmon Benedict – $18.70.

Steak Sandwich – $19.00.

First impression, place is good. Parking is easy to find as Ellerslie is not so busy, food taste great, staff friendly and toilet is clean. Personally, I can’t complain about this place, and worth a try if you have the Entertainment book voucher since price-wise, it is kinda on the high side 🙂

Rating = 8.5/10.

Nutmeg Cafe

Sorry about the lack of updates. Excuses, excuses, excuses. I can blame the PS3, RWC, my wedding preparation, but really, I do muck around a lot and do have time update. I just forgot!

Nutmeg Cafe is located at the intersection of Remuera Road and Middleton Road, near Dick Smith Electronics. I decided to go because it’s near where I live and I had a Living Social voucher. Samples below:

 

Big breakfast with four sides ($23.00)

Eggs Benedict with Cured Salmon and Spinach ($17.00)

Mocha in a bowl.

To be honest, fantasic food, delicious and I think reasonably priced for the quality and service. With the voucher, it just makes it even better. Highly recommended for a try.

Oh it’s organic too. Rating = 9/10.

Market Seafood Braisserie

Sorry for the lack of updates.

I’ve been pre-occupied as usual. One of my recent favourite visit is the Auckland Fish Market. It’s now very nicely done up – thanks to the Rugby World Cup. There appears to be lots of eateries there, and Market Seafood Braisserie caught my eye. It was the obvious cafe as it’s smack in the fish market. The menu looks good with easy-to-pick choices. Some samples below:

Crumbed Salmon with Baby Caesar ($14.90).

Crumbed Snapper with Salad Green ($15.90).

Gourmet Fish Burger with house tartare and fries ($14.90).

Great price and great taste! Good variety and love the salmon. They can get quite busy during weekend lunchtime – so try to come early. With the area being done up, it’s a good place to visit, eat and stock up on seafood. 🙂

Rating 9/10. Highly recommended!

Circus Circus

I guess I was bound to put this one up. Who wouldn’t. I’ve seen blogs outside of NZ talking about this place! It’s Circus Circus, located in the  heart of Mt Eden Village. It’s easily noticeable and parking is not hard to find. I’ve been here a few times already and tried many things – particularly breakfast-related food. Here are some of the samples:

Baked Beans with Poached Eggs ($14.90).

Panfried Field Mushrooms ($16.90).

Gourmet Beef Burger ($17.90).

Mixed Grill ($17.90).

As you can see, presentation-wise, it’s top notch. Taste-wise, I can’t complain. It’s the usual cafe-style food. I think the the price is very reasonable. The atmosphere is great with unique decor. It can be quite deceiving seeing the place from outside and think it’s small, when in fact, it’s very deep. So, don’t worry if you see lots of people, there’s plenty of space inside. I’m a big fan of baked beans, so always like to have them for breakfast. Mixed grill is always going to be my favourite because it has everything. Otherwise, you can go for smaller options.The beef burger is not too bad. Coffee is 4.90 (a bit of the high side, but good coffee).

If you have the Entertainment book – use it! You get one free meal.

Overall, great place and worth a try. Rating = 8.5/10.

Bistro 65

Bistro 65 is the neighbour of two very good restaurants (Safran and Archie’s Pizzeria). I say good restaurants, because they’re always busy, especially Archie’s. It was one strange afternoon (lunchtime obviously) that I passed by the area and decided to give this place a try. It’s awkwardly placed, as it is squeezed in between the two restaurants mentioned above. The inside is kinda empty and hollow, so I decided to eat outside.

Had a look at the menu and ordered the selections below:

Vegetarian Lasagne ($12).

Mixed Seafood Platter ($28.50).

Chicken Pizza (cashews cranberry finished with an avocado aioli) $12.

To be honest, the food is pretty good. The platter is really nice and tasty.  The lasagne not bad. The pizza also not too bad, a bit too cheesy / salty. For the price, it’s actually quite reasonable and if you sit outside, you won’t feel so lonely. If you are confused what to have here, go for the platter. The service was good too – friendly manager (I think).

Rating = 8/10.

Kermadec

If you’ve been to the viaduct, you could easily miss this place out. It’s a bit out of place so need to spot it, but I have heard good things. Kermadec is located at the Viaduct, right next to Degree. The restaurant is apparently quite high up, so you sorta get a view of the viaduct. The interior is OK. Anyway, since this was a “seafood” restaurant, a seafood bias was taken, although I do prefer my land animals. =)

Big Glory Bay Salmon Tartare ($16.50).

John Dory “Saint Peter’s Fish” ($37.00).

Slow-Cooked Perendale Lamb Shoulder ($36.00).

The food is pricey as you can see above. It’s not for the light-pocketed, unless you have some form of discount vouchers – or you feel like splashing out. The salmon and John Dory was very good. I was impressed with the presentation – so it was good to see that. The lamb shoulder is OK, rather fatty, maybe it was suppose to be that way(?). Who knows, fine-dining to me these days are small portions and pricey – and this was the case. But I am not complaining and it was worth a try.

Unfortunately, for this case, I am not coming back to Kermadec. It didn’t leave an impression at all. The environment was OK, I think Hammerheads feels way better. For fine dining, I think maybe it’s worth a try – only if you feel like seafood and you are stuck in the viaduct. The final thing, I was not impressed with the manager during my visit and from my own opinion compared with other places, Kermadec is hopelessly at the bottom of the pile in the customer service department – only because of their manager.

Rating = 4/10. Sorry Kermadec. If you do like this place and would like to try it out, I hope you can avoid the manager I had to deal with.

Cock and Bull (Newmarket)

I haven’t had a bad stint for a while, so it’s about time I got one.

I decided to pay a visit to a very common pub around the Auckland area – Cock & Bull, this particularly one in Newmarket. It always seems lively in Cock & Bull, with lots of people, probably due to the beer and SkySports. This is a good thing. Obviously, I wasn’t here for the beer. I was here for some good ol’ pub food. An Australian tourist once told me it’s the kind of food that fills you up – I guess the word is hearty? I was going to say wholesome – but things like chips, beer, deep-fried isn’t exactly healthy. =)

Some of the pub food I tried:

Scotch Fillet ($29.95).

Cock & Bull Platter ($19.95).

Caesar Salad ($20.95).

Scotch Fillet wasn’t too bad, and I think a great dish to have when you’re watching a football match etc. However, the Cock & Bull platter and Caesar Salad (with smoked chicken) were quite disappointing The platter was mostly full of the cheap stuff – wedges and onion rings. It wasn’t horrible tasting, it just lacked a lot of creativity and variety. The caeser salad had a pungent smell, maybe because of the parmesan or anchovies. Something wasn’t quite right with this all-time favourite of mine. The pricing was OK, I guess it’s standard price.

I’ve always liked pub food, and it’s everywhere in Auckland. Perhaps if you do pop into Cock & Bull, better stick to the basics like chips or pizza. I wasn’t quite so engrossed with some of the selection above.

My rating =5/10.

Ka Pai Mussels

Ka Pai Mussels are a regular at the Auckland Lantern Festival. In the last 4 years, I’ve never tried them until this year.

Sweet Chilli Mussels – $10 (for eight).

There’s other flavours like garlic butter, and coriander and coconut. It’s very nice and must try. But the line is long! I’m sure these guys will be around at other festivals.

Murder Burger

Another burger joint I encountered courtesy of a GrabOne voucher. I love their promos. =) Murder Burger is quite a noticeable burger joint on Ponsonby Road. I do love gourmet-ish burgers and this place appears to fit the bill.

They have various types of burgers, for e.g. beef, chicken and fish. Their website have more details on the menu items. Samples below:

Gourmet Beef Avo and Bacon- $12.90.

Gourmet Sirloin Steak Angus – $14.90.

First impression was not up to par, the serving staff (female) was quite emotionless, and not really friendly or helpful at all. Maybe that time of the month, who knows. I would strongly suggest the staff to reconsider her career path in hospitality, or her selection in jobs, perhaps less customer facing.

Regarding the food, I thought the gourmet beef avo and bacon was fantastic. Delicious! The gourmet sirloin steak angus (from the “cult burger” section) wasn’t really cult-like unfortunately. It was average.

Overall, based on this small sample size, I think Murder Burger has good burgers, you just gotta choose the right one. Price is good for the beef burger, but not worth it for the sirloin steak burger.

Rating = 7/10. Worth a try.

Mecca Stonehouse Cafe

It’s not common I drop by in a place like this very often, primarily because the food is expensive but the place is nice. I guess that’s the price you pay for fine dining. Mecca Stonehouse Cafe is located in Mission Bay, it’s not at the row of shops that people tend to walk pass by, but on the other side where the fountain is.

As you have may have probably guessed, it was an online voucher that got my attention to this place. The menu is not bad, and here are a couple of samples below:

Lamb Shank $35.90.

Prawn and Scallop Fettucine ($34.90).

I found the lamb shanks OK, but surprisingly have had better at another place (BlueStone). Perhaps a bit too wet? The fetuccine was kinda rich, i.e. too much cream but otherwise, still nice.

I can tell this place is where you splash the cash for a date, so I recommend for that. Because afterthat, you can take your date our for a walk and ice cream =). Otherwise, I doubt I’ll be returning. Sorry.

Rating 7/10.

Jervois Steak House

It’s that time of the month. My lack of updates is getting quite common, and for that I apologise. It’s not often I go out and eat at fancy places, and this was a special occasion obviously =)

Jervois Steak House is the place, apparently known for their steaks. JSH is located in Ponsonby, and restaurant environment is quite romantic. Some samples below:

Entre – Alaskan Red King Crab $26.00.

Main – Signature Prime Rib (Queen Size) $43.50.

Main – Savannah Petite Angus Eye Fillet $39.50.

Sides – Creamed spinach with a hint of nutmeg $6.50.

Sides – Candied kumara baked New Orleans style with pecans $6.50.

Sides – Onion rings $8.50.

The thing I was quite impressed with are the partners, which are the sides. It’s well presented and tasty. The Angus eye filltet was very nice. The signature prime rib was a bit of an anti-climax since we had to pre-order it, and in the end, it was OK. However, the portion is quite generous – I have to give that and it was just the Queen Size only.  The entre – crab was difficult to eat and I wouldn’t recommend it. Too expensive and may cut your fingers =)

It’s not somewhere I’d go back again to be honest, but some people would find it great. My stomach is not that big to handle all that food unfortunately. Otherwise, for the steak, the sides, the service and the environment, it’s got good points.

Rating 7.5/10.

The Bluestone Room

In an attempt to update the blog in a regular fashion, here you go!

Bluestone Room is a local pub for my workplace. I rarely go here in fact, but it’s favourite hangout for some of my work mates (little do they know, they have a problem with alcohol). Just kidding =) Actually it’s a favourite hangout because of it’s generous Happy Hour Deals. They serve the Tower for only $20 or a pint of beer for $4 during Happy Hour.

One of the great deals they have here is a 2-for-1 meal deal (need to apply for a loyalty card), at the moment, the deal is on Monday and Saturday. Not bad to be honest. One night, I decided to give it a try, here are two samples:

Bushwacker’s Boar ($24.50).

Double Lamb Shanks ($24.00).

To be honest, the lamb shanks are great. The boar isn’t too bad, but a bit tough. One meal worth mentioning is the Bluestone Burger; and that is a work of art! Most of their dishes doesn’t really need any sides at all. For all the good things they have, they achieve a higher rating in my books. 9/10.