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.

The Happy House Restaurant

Thanks to a special reader for recommending this place – Happy House Restaurant in Northcote. It’s right next to the Tofu Shop. I don’t normally venture across the bridge – it’s actually quite a rare occassion, but apparently I do know people who live there. So once in a while, I make the trip across and combine it with a feed. I have to admit, Happy House is in a great location, it has lots of eateries and shops, and parking is damn easy to find. I think Happy House opens late – which is a good thing. Below are samples I tried:

Fried Pancake with Char Siew – $9.50.

Fried Pancake with Shredded Pork in Garlic Sauce – $9.50

Sichuan Fried Rice – $8.

Fried Cumin Lamb – $15.50.

I like this place. Food is cheap and the portion is generous. The dishes are really nice, especially the fried pancake with shredded pork and friend cumin lamb. A great recommendation from one of our readers. I’ve been here twice, and I’ve had to ask for a takeaway box. Great value.

Rating = 9/10.

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.

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.

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.

Turkish Cafe

The Turkish Cafe is a very noticeable cafe, next to Warehouse Newmarket, opposite the Skycity Cinemas (Broadway). It’s one of those cafes that I wanted to try out for a while, so I had my chance. Tried a couple of things – see below:

Donor Kebab.

Kiwi Salmon Delight.

I can’t recollect what the pricing of the above items were, but I think they were some part of a lunchtime deal, so should be reasonable. But I have to admit, the food was not memorable. Surprisingly, the place lacks people at lunchtime. I’m not sure why, stiff competition from the other cafes? I thought they had a decent location.

I do admit, it’s one place I’m not going back to. Food didn’t taste horrible and I think that was the problem, I couldn’t remember if it was good or bad, so probably one of those “average” places. Therefore, a rating of 6/10.

Herbal Legend

I heard this place was THE place to eat Shanghai food. Herbal Legend is located on Dominion Road at Mt Eden. It’s close to the shopping area where Foodtown is.  The first time I went to this place, I couldn’t get a spot and had to settle for somewhere else to eat. This time though, I didn’t have any problems finding a spot. However, it is noticeably packed for some reason and I wanted to know why.

Cumin Lamb with Bread.

Sweet & Sour Pork Rib.

Mapo Tofu

The prices for the dishes in this restaurant range quite a bit. The cumin lamb is $22 and appears to be the most popular dish. The sweet and sour pork is $16 and the Ma Po tofu is $10. Out of the 3 dishes, I didn’t like the Ma Po tofu cause it was kinda average, however the other two wasn’t too bad. I quite like the cumin lamb with the bread. One thing I realised is the ridiculous speed they made the dishes! I think it took less than 10 mins for them to prepare the 3 dishes above, which leads to the question – how so? Probably they had like 10 chefs in the kitchen or it was too easy to cook? Who knows.

Anyway, I did hear good things about this place but in the end, I found that it was alright. Perhaps it doesn’t suit my palate. The price is great and service not too bad (friendly I thought). Taste is OK as I said before. Ratings 7.5/10. Perhaps might suit some people, but not me.

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. 🙂

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.

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.

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. 🙂

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).

Sichuan Steamboat and Chinese Restaurant

I am not a big Sichuan fan. It takes a while for me to get use to the strong flavours from this special province. And they’re big on steamboat for some apparent reason.  Anyway, I found this restaurant in Panmure quite recently, thanks to a friend who was seriously into steamboat. Since then, I’ve been back a couple of times.

Some of my favourite dishes are shown below:

sichuan-steamboat-and-chinese-restuarant-chilli-chicken  

Sichuan Style Spicy Diced Chicken.

sichuan-steamboat-and-chinese-restuarant-cumin-lamb 

Fried Lamb with Fennel Seeds.

sichuan-steamboat-and-chinese-restuarant-eggplant-on-sichuan-sauce 

Sichuan Style Egg Plant.

Sichuan Steamboat and Chinese Restaurant - Sichuan Style Boiled and Fried Pork 

Sichuan Style Boiled and Fried Pork.

I have to admit there is nothing but praises for this place and apparently it has got affliation with HP8 in Newmarket. The meat dishes were all $18, and the egg plant is $16. My recommendation is the egg plant. The other 3 meat dishes are very good. I’ve also tried the steamboat which is also not bad.

My rating for this place is a rare 9.5/10. The restaurant’s price, flavour and authenticity accounting for its high rating. I highly recommend.