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!

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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.

Fish Pot Cafe

This is a deviation of dining I would normally have – that is cheap! Fish Pot Cafe is located in Mission Bay, and conveniently near all the fancy cafes and dessert joints!

For them, their corner is a gold mine. So, like any normal business, they hike up the price for fish & chips etc. For me to step into this place was weird and out of character. Just by looking at the menu, you’d probably gauge your eyes off. A dish (for lunch) could set you back $22!!! And that’s just fish & chips! However, I had a sixth sense and (easily) quickly spotted a bargain (the specials) as shown below:

fish-pot-cafe

Fish of the Day.

fish-pot-cafe-2

Hoki Fillets.

Generally the dishes come with chips and their special sauce. It’s quite nice and all up, cost about $30 which is not bad. The Fish of the Day was $15.90 and Hoki Fillets was $13.50. As you look clearly at the pictures above, you’ll realise the Hoki Fillets have more portion. That’s because the Hoki Fillets are snap frozen, while the Fish of the Day is fresh.

Both dishes are quite good but you’d really need to spot the specials if you wanna spend below $20 per head. I really see no point buying a burger there, but they look good as well.

My rating for this place is a 7/10. I’m considering their pricing which is a killer! The service is not bad, and I’d suggest coming to this place if there is a special.

Sri Pinang

Ever wondered if there’s anything good at all on K Road? Well, there is. I’ve always been quite afraid to go there after dark – for many reasons. When I was younger, it was no problem. Now I’m just old and afraid! =)

356 K Road is the place to be (click the link!). It’s near the bridge (not Grafton bridge) where all the bus stops. Sri Pinang is near some pubs and adult shops so it is in a strange place.

Sri Pinang is a small place, but the atmosphere is great. BYO is something they emphasise. Another thing, the host (not sure about her name) is very friendly. Usually, it pays to book, just to be safe.  For this occassion at Sri Pinang, we got a few interesting dishes as shown below:

sri-pinang-char-kuey-teow

Char Kuey Teow.

sri-pinang-sambal-eggplant

Sambal Eggplant.

sri-pinang-rendang-chicken

Rendang Chicken.

sri-pinang-pinang-curry-fish

Fish Curry.

All dishes are generally not too bad. I’d say the thing to try is the fish curry. It’s something I haven’t had for a while. I do have a feeling they cater for the Europeans because it’s not very spicy. Also by observation, it seems like the Lemon Chicken dish is a popular one. So you get the drift!

Price-wise, it hovers around $15-$20 per dish. So not bad for dinner. Not sure about their lunch menu.

My rating for this place is 7.5/10. It’s not authentic enough for me, but it does a good job in terms of service. I did see some very good reviews for this place and justifiably so, because of its location and target market.

Go have a try and see what you think.

Zap 4

Zap 4 is like the evil twin of Zap 2. Nah, I’m just kidding. It’s the other branch.

As I was waiting in line to buy my lunch at Zap 4, I keep hearing the same thing ordered from menu. Yes… yes, that’s right. Friggin’ Pad Thai!!! I’m gonna shoot myself if I hear someone say, spring rolls, wonton soup, pad thai and fried rice!! ARGGHHHH… just kidding!

Zap 4 is a good place for Thai to be honest. A bit dodgy at times for charging for rice though, which ticks me off a bit. They charge extra for rice, so if you think you’re ordering a curry, you do get a curry just without the rice!!! How the heck am I gonna eat my curry without rice.

Anyway, the usual. Here are pictures of what was sampled. Very similar to Zap 2.

zap-4-roast-duck-curry

Roast Duck Curry.

zap-4-pad-ped-fish

Pad Ped Fish.

zap-4-green-curry

Green Curry.

zap-4-larb-gai

Larb Gai.

In summary, the roast duck curry and pad ped fish was $12 (premium dishes??), and the green curry and larb gai was $10. For the rice, it’s an extra $2. DODGY!!! But anyway, the curries are good – can’t complain. My favourite would have to be the pad ped fish. It’s lovely. Larb gai is an interesting dish, some people like it, some people don’t (like me). Zap 4 also sells the usual, pad thai, fried rice etc. One thing they do sell that’s somewhat familiar to me is the Guay Jab (not sure if I spell it right). It’s thick rice noodle in a pork soup/broth. It won’t suit some people because of the strong pork flavour. On top of that, there’s intestines, liver etc. A good try if you don’t mind those body parts. =)

Anyway, if Zap 4 weren’t so dodgy with the hidden cost (extra rice!!), I’d give them a very high rating. But they are reasonably priced. My rating for this occassion, 8/10. Not absolutely fantastic. Where’s my next 9/10??

Zap 2

Ah, the infamous Zap 2. It’s always featured in the Metro Magazine or the NZ Herald, yada yada yada! And I can see why – it’s popular because of its reputation for bringing out some of the best dishes.

It was a random day at work when a friend from Christchurch called me. He was up here for training and wanted to catch up. I thought “Cool”, why not bring him out to have good Thai food. So, I thought Zap 2!!! This Thai place is located on Dominion Road, in the suburb of Balmoral. The first thing when we came into the restaurant, it was pretty much packed and this was mid-week. I guess if you’re keen on trying this place out, booking is a must during the busy nights. Below were some of the dishes we tried that night:

Pad Ped (Spicy Stir Fried Fish).

Roast Duck Curry.

Phuket Island.

One thing I noticed while dining was that some tables were having their dishes individually. A bit strange when you can share – something I do encourage. If you’re worried about hygiene and all, use a common spoon. It’s not hard!

Now to the ratings, the roast duck curry is quite the bomb. It’s got fantastic flavours with the tomatoes and pineapple. Although I think that they should put a bit more duck in that meal as it was seriously lacking meat. The Pad Ped is also very nice for $14. It’s fried fish, stir fried with other vegetables in spicy sauce. A great meal and one I strongly recommend. The Phuket Island was a strange one. It’s stir fried chicken, squid and prawn with vegetables. It’s got a lot of variety but to me, it’s just got that hint of “standard” dish. The word “Phuket” is most likely used to target (market) a certain group of customers – if you know what I mean =) For $15 it’s OK but not something I’d buy again.

A couple of negatives about this place. The table that we sat in was very low as if they bought it from a 2nd hand shop. I felt that I was still in kindergarten, and personally I had to hunch to eat my food. Also, they charge additional $2 for rice which is quite uncommon for a lot of Asian places. The least Zap 2 could do with the extra cash they’re earning is buy some decent tables and chairs. Anyway, it’s still good food!

They have a website and you can check their menus. They also have a branch in the city called Zap 4 and it’s not bad. My rating for this place is 8/10. Try the curries and beware of the “extra” cost for rice. If you get a low table, get it changed as it is quite uncomfortable.