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.

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Musashi Japanese Cuisine

OK – I’ve crossed the bridge again. So, a very rare occassion.  There is this place in Milford (North Shore). I believe it used to be called Eiji. It’s now called Musashi Restaurant. The other branch is in St Heliers. It is a bit far to go for Japanese, but thanks to their Entertainment Book voucher, this place was worth the visit. Some samples below:

Soft Shell Crab Karaage ($12.50)

Salmon Hooba Zen ($15).


Salmon Hooba Zen – zoomed in ($15).

Chicken Kushi Katsu Zen ($15).

To be honest, the variety in the lunch dishes are awesome. There is just so many side dishes. It’s great value for money, staff is great and depending on the dish you buy, you get to see or do some “action”. Presentation is great!

Excellent place. Highly recommended, rating = 9/10.

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.

Verve Cafe

While having a great meal at Thai Friends in Parnell, I noticed the Verve Cafe, which is right next to it. In fact, the guy who sits on the Verve Cafe can literally stare at Thai Friend’s food if they wish to do so. Not a lot of separation between the two if you sit outside. =)

Anyway, this is a rare Western meal in a  while, obviously not counting the numerous amout of fatty meals I’ve been having from KFC, Burger King, McDonalds etc etc. I know, I should stop eating there. It was a late day for me, so a very late lunch at the Verve Cafe. There was a property nearby that I wanted to have a look (it was too cramp if you’re interested to know).

The menu is not so forgiving (in terms of price), at first I thought it was a dinner menu. So, my girlfiend and I decided to go after the specials which were cheaper. Two dishes were sampled as shown below:

verve-cafe-brunch-special 

Brunch Special – Hash Brown stacked with Bacon, Roast Tomato, Rocket and Aioli.

verve-cafe-pasta-special 

Pasta Special – Penne Pasta with Bacon, Mushroom and Tomato in a white wine cream sauce with rocket and parmesan.

The brunch special was only $15, and the pasta special is $18.  The dishes were a good change from all the ethnic variety that I’ve had for the past months! But you just can’t deny that Western food, especially in the cafes are far more expensive. If you’re on peanut incomes like me, I know which one I’d pick. But once in a while, it’s good to try them out. =)

My rating is 8/10. It’s good but be prepared to pay at least $20 per head… for lunch.

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.