Masala

There was a time in my life when Mission Bay was the place I went to – all the time. Not now, maybe because I am old.

Anyway, if you’re keen on some Indian food – you can go for¬†Masala. If it wasn’t for the $10 lunch special, I would not have spotted this place. It’s on the 2nd floor which make it difficult to spot. So I guess a little marketing helps.

As usual, samples I tried are shown below:

Butter Chicken ($10 lunch special).

Lamb Saagwala ($10 lunch special).

These $10 lunch specials always come with a catch – don’t expect a lot of meat and expect plenty of sauce. Naan wasn’t too bad. I thought the paper-based table cloth was a bit strange. I have had dinner here before, and the portions were reasonable. Overall, not the best Indian in town but it’s in Mission Bay – so you could say the atmosphere compensates. They have live bands apparently, which is a bonus.

So if you’re in the mood for Indian in Mission Bay, it’s a good try, but don’t expect too much in terms of food satisfaction. Rating = 7/10.

Raviz (Ponsonby Branch)

I found this place thanks to another one day voucher. Raviz appears to be a franchise of some sort, with branches around the city. The voucher only applies for Raviz Ponsonby and this branch is located near-ish to Franklin road. I can tell why Raviz Ponsonby needed this promotion, it’s rather quiet on a Friday night especially in Ponsonby. But I think maybe it’s a highly competitive area. Samples below:

Mixed Platter – $16.

Lamb Saagwala – $16.90.

Butter Chicken – $16.90.

Keema Naan – $4.00.

To be honest, I’m a big fan of Indian food. This place is quite good. The banquet-discount-esque promotion is awesome. The more of it, the better. If I were to go to this place without any promotion, I think the price is little high compared to some places that I’ve been to. Overall, taste is great, portions are above average, service is good, I can’t complain.

Rating = 8.5/10.

Wagamama (Sylvia Park)

I don’t know what I was thinking, but I popped into Wagamama Sylvia Park the other night while waiting to watch a movie. From the outside it looked like a nice place to eat as I’ve been there before, and I think I had fond memories.

Samples I had below:

Chicken Katsu Curry ($17.50).

Chilli Ramen with Sirloin Steak ($24.50).

Overall, it’s quite average and too pricey. I guess the place does suit some people (apparently it’s fusion) and it’s popular. But I can find better tasting and seriously cheaper Japanese out there.

My apologies to all Wagamama fans, I don’t get this place. Rating 5/10.

Oh Calcutta

It’s not very often I go to Indian restaurants, especially for “fine dining”. So, this was a treat for me. Also, I’ve always wanted to try the place out as I drove or walked past it many times. Oh Calcutta is based in Parnell, very near Movenpick and parking isn’t too difficult to find if you know your way around the narrow back streets. I tried a variety of the food – see below.

Complimentary Papadums.

Oh Calcutta Mix Platter.

Dipping Sauce for Mix Platter.

Punjabi Saag Ghosht.

Prawn Malabari Curry.

Garlic Naan Bread.

I’d say before you go to this place, it’s not the standard foodcourt Indian and the environment is totally different. Therefore, be prepared to pay for higher than usual prices. Thank goodness I had my Entertainment card to soothe the pain. ūüôā

There was free Papadums when I was initially seated and I noticed the waiters were quite friendly. For the entre, I asked for the mixed platter which is $9 per person, very good I think and I get to try almost everything in the entre menu. I also ordered the Mango lassi and it’s not for the faint-hearted, it’s sweet and thick. I wasn’t sure how much it was, probably like $6. The mains we had were the Punjabi Saag Ghosht, $22 and the Prawn Malabari Curry, $23. A garlic naan bread was ordered as a side, $4. The rice came along with the food for no charge (I think), and I didn’t manage to finish the rice.

Overall,¬† I quite like the place. Although I have to admit the inside was a bit too dark for my liking. Perhaps some dimmed lights might have helped. The service was acceptable. The price was reasonable. The quality of the food were very good especially the entre. I wasn’t disappointed at all, only except the fact that I couldn’t finish everything. Personally, I think it’s worth a try if you’re bringing your partner to Parnell for a romantic dinner, and all you can think of is Indian food!

My rating, 9/10. Good food. No complaints.

Sri Mahkota

This is a quick one for the month. I have a few in the pipeline, but haven’t uploaded pics and stuff. I¬†was recommended to Sri Mahkota by one of the readers. First impression when I was there, a lot of people so it must be good! This was lunchtime in the weekend. It’s a small place, located in the industrial area of East Tamaki (ish). The food they sell is pretty much the standard Malaysian dish. However, I realised the fish head soup was quite popular – I see lots of big bowls.

However, keeping to my conservative side, I chose the same ol’ stuff. Samples below:

Sri Mahkota - Char Kuey Teow

Char Kuey Teow.

Sri Mahkota - Nasi Lemak

Nasi Lemak.

Sri Mahkota - Curry Puff

Curry Puff.

To be honest, I didn’t come out of Sri Mahkota with a “wow” and I forgot how much each dish was! But the dishes above wasn’t anything special (sorry). The food isn’t horrible, but not something I’d drive 10-15 mins for and wait outside. Perhaps the dish above is too common / bland.

My rating is a 7.5/10.

Nite Spice

Nite Spice is a discreetly located Indian restaurant on Khyber Pass Road, very near Selera. Apparently, it is one of four branches in Auckland. Of all the foods I’ve eaten and packed into my already bloated stomach, Indian food is quite a a rare one for me. Nite Spice apparently has a lunch time deal which gives you a curry, naan, rice and a drink! So I went there immediately for a try. Samples below:

Nite Spice - Butter Chicken

Butter Chicken.

Nite Spice - Lamb Saagwala

Lamb Saagwala.

The combo is $10.99, and I thought it was fantastic. The curry doesn’t appear to be mass-produced like the ones you see in the food court. Furthermore, they had a variety of curries which I can’t remember but all can be seen in the Menu on their website.

I was impressed with the overall package, you get a good drink, delicious curry, good ol’ favourite naan and rice. I can’t complain and will have to give this place a favourable 9/10. I think it’s a great option for lunch if they keep this combo deal going.

Food Junction – Tastes of Malaysia

If ya’ll didn’t know, today is the Malaysian National Day (Hari Kebangsaan), so I will post something Malaysian. ūüôā

I found this place thanks to a friend of mine. We keep in touch in the strangest ways; random texts at odd times of the year but hardly meet up. He’s probably a better reviewer and writer than me. Anyway, this recommendation of his is quite a pleasant surprise. My first thoughts of Food Junction – it’s in friggin’ Manukau! That’s far!

Although far, the Food Junction is located at the Te Irirangi off ramp on SH1, very accessible if you think about it. It will take about 10-15 mins from the city. The Food Junction is a food court with a lot of a variety, but for this occassion, I am targetting the Malaysian store – Tastes of Malaysia. The first thing I spotted is the fresh roti they make – which is the second time I’ve seen (after the Sri Lankan place at East Tamaki).

Samples of some of their dishes below:

Tastes of Malaysia - Mamak Mee Goreng

Mamak Mee Goreng.

Tastes of Malaysia - Roti Telur

Roti Telur.

Tastes of Malaysia - Murtabak

Murtabak.

The Mamak Mee Goreng is pretty good, and costs $9.50 It’s… dare I say it, better than the one at Sri Puteri in Panmure. It’s not wet, but not dry – just right and flavoursome.

The roti is probably their “flagship” product – the roti telur costs $9.50 and the murtabak costs $10. Both rotis are great, but I preferred the roti telur as it is not “heavy”. The curry sauce was fantastic, with at least one drumstick in there.

My rating for this occassion is a favourable 9.5/10. I am definitely going back again!

Angie’s Kitchen

I got recommended to this place and heard lots of good things about it. Angie’s Kitchen is located very near to AUT in the CBD. Parking is quite a pain to find, but on the weekend it’s alright. The place is also a halal restaurant which is pretty good.

Samples below:

Angie's kitchen - Kapitan Curry Chicken on Rice - Copy

Kapitan Curry Chicken on Rice.

Angie's Kitchen - Braised Beef Noodle Soup - Copy

Braised Beef Noodle Soup.

Angie's Kitchen - Teh Tarik

Teh Tarik less sugar (with a free apricot biscotti).

Angie's Kitchen - Kopi O

Kopi  less sugar.

I thought the Kapitan Curry Chicken was very good, but the braised beef noodle was plain. The mistake was probably not selecting “traditional” Malaysian food, i.e. Nasi Lemak, Laksa or whatever. ¬†The price of the food was above average, I don’t remember it being less than $10, so not a cheap option. The¬†coffee and tea drinks didn’t taste that great.

My rating is average, 6.5/10. The pricing didn’t help.

Eat Asian Food Hall @ East Tamaki

The East Asian Food Hall is one of those noticeable food court when you go towards Botany Downs. It’s on the right hand side when going towards Botany Downs. Most of the shops in the food court are standard i.e. Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Vietnamese etc. But this one has a Sri Lankan shop which makes roti!

The Sri Lankan and Indian shops were sampled. Pictures below:

Eat Asian - Roti Delight

Roti Delight.

Eat Asian - Curry on Rice (2)

Lamb Madras on Rice.

The Sri Lankan Rotti Shop sells a range of roti and for Malaysians, it does feel quite at home. ¬†The Indian shop is right next to it, but I can’t remember the name. Funnily enough, the Indian shop also sells kebabs.

The Roti Delight which was $8.50, came with some curry and had mutton filling. The Lamb Madras ($9.00) was not bad, the meat was tender. I have to admit, the standard is quite good. I wasn’t disappointed at all.

Usually I don’t give ratings if I can’t remember the price but for this occassion, overall they get an 8/10. Highly recommended, especially the Sri Lankan shop.

Wagamama (Newmarket)

Fusion is overrated. It’s a good excuse to charge double the price of a typical Asian meal. But that’s what I think. ūüôā

Wagamama seems quite popular as I see the Link Bus ads all the time (brainwashed?). This particular one I popped into is on Nuffield St in Newmarket. There are others in the CBD and Sylvia Park. Anyway, samples below:

Wagamama - Koumi Chicken

Koumi Chicken.

Wagamama - Ramu Kare Lomen

Ramu Kare Lomen.

Wagamama - Tori Kara age

Tori Kara Age.

Pricing-wise, the Koumi Chicken was $18 and Ramu Kare Lomen was $18.50. Note, first choice for the chicken meals weren’t available for some reason, so selection was limited for that night (not good).¬† The Tori Kara Age was $10. The Koumi Chicken was very plain, which was very disappointing. For the price, it was not worth it. The Ramu Kare Lomen was not bad, as I was a fan of coconut-based curry. The Tori Kara Age was also not bad. Overall, taste-wise, nothing to worship about.

I thought their pricing was a bit too much but they were fusion, so they could do anything they want in terms of price. Perhaps the environment was the reason to go to Wagamama, but I didn’t feel it.

My rating is 6/10. Wagamama ain’t worth it unless you have a voucher to burn, or you really can’t find anything else open (they seem to open quite late).

Saigonz


Finally, another decent Vietnamese restaurant in town. Saigonz is apparently a new Vietnamese restaurant on Beach Road. It’s quite near Foodtown, but parking is difficult to find like any place in the city. I think the place caters for the nearby businesses and residents. Just by initially looking at the place, which is small with only a few tables and with their dishes served in plastic bowls. Their menu is small, which makes decision making somewhat easier. They¬†have a website, and¬†¬†even an 0800 number (0800 SAIGONZ).

Anyway, the dishes sampled are shown below:

Saigonz - Beef Pho 

Beef Pho.

Saigonz - Lemon Grass Chicken Rice 

Lemon Grass Chicken on Rice.

Saigonz - Lemon Grass Chicken Curry 

Lemon Grass Chicken Curry.

Saigonz - Pork & Prawn Summer Rolls 

Pork and Prawn Summer Rolls.

¬†All of the above dishes¬†cost $9.50, except the rolls, which cost $7.00.¬† I have to admit, all the dishes tasted great! The only niggle is the plastic dishes they were served in. A bit too takeaway-ish for me, but I guess that’s what the business is catered/designed for. I was hoping the rolls would be cheaper, perhaps like $4 or $5. Perhaps we need more Vietnamese immigrants like Melbourne. =)

My rating is a very favourable 9/10. It’s something new, the flavours and pricing do not disappoint. The rolls could be cheaper but I guess they’re one of two Vietnamese restaurants in town.

Thai Friends

There is an odd-looking place on Parnell Road called Thai Friends. I say odd because it doesn’t exactly look like a big place at all when you pass by. I always thought it was a bit strange for them to run a business with tables and chairs (about a handful) outside.¬†Little did I know that they had more room/space at the back! But that’s probably reserved for dinner.

I decided to try out this place for lunch after a long day at looking for overpriced property around the area. Also, they’ve got awards and stuff like that. So I wanted to see what the big fuss was about. Initial observation of the menu will definitely give you a heart attack. It’s really odd, of all the Asian cuisine, Thai and Indian are always overly priced comparatively. Why is that?

Anyway, thank goodness they had a “Special Lunch Menu”. Two dishes were sampled as shown below:

thai-friends-thai-hot-green-curry-on-rice

Thai Hot Green Curry Chicken.

thai-friends-thai-seafood-laksa

Thai Style Seafood Laksa.

The chicken green curry is a traditional, all-time favourite and it costs about $13.50. It’s not bad. The Thai style seafood laksa was a unique one. I thought the laksa was very good. The seafood is quite fresh and the flavour of the laksa soup was delicious. For $17.50, I thought it was worth it. Of all the laksas I’ve forced myself to try, this was the best (I’m usually not a big fan of laksa). It’s not full of MSG, and the seafood is real seafood. It’s not frozen seafood like fishballs, fishcakes, surimi, etc.

Based on the two above dish, I thought Thai Friends is worth a try, for lunch that is. I am not sure about dinner. It may be a bit overpriced, especially during this difficult economic time. My rating, 9/10.