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!

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.

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.

Andrea Ristorante Italiano

I am back – finally. Hello everybody!

Anyway, I will start off this year’s blog in a bad note (trying to do the opposite of any articles). Andrea Ristorante Italiano is a nicely located restaurant in the “heart” of the ever popular Mission Bay. But after going to this restaurant, there is only one word – extremely disappointing to say it in a nice way. This is reflected on the no. of people going to their restaurants (almost none). Here were some samples from

Scallops ai funghi e pancetta ($19.50).

Pork Belly (to die for) – $28.50.

Seafood Pizza – $21.50.

The entre was actually not bad, but a little too salty. The pork belly was average, and NOT to die for. It was rather plain and overcooked for a relatively high-priced item. The seafood pizza had a very funny taste (and probably caused my bowel movement the next day). I’ve had better seafood pizza for half that price. Perhaps maybe because traditional items were not ordered on the night, but still very disappointed with the food, especially for the price we paid for.

Personally, I wouldn’t be going back here anymore, and they seriously need to review some of their menu items. Rating = 2/10.

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.

Gina’s Pizza and Pasta Bar

Gina’s restaurant is always an all-time favourite in Auckland. My brother told me about this place when I first came here, and I have to admit, the atmosphere is pretty good. I had the ol’ Entertainment Card voucher, so used it up for this particular occasion. For the ladies, they will enjoy the sight of the Italian men.  A table at Gina’s is difficult to find, so better book in advance through the online system (if it actually works) or the old fashion way (phone call).

For this particular occasion, a few dishes were sampled below:

Calamari Fritti ($15).

Fettucine Mare e Monti ($19.50).

Massimo Grande ($20).

Lasagna ($20.50).

Personally, all dishes were great and reasonably priced.  But I think Italian is no longer a desired item for me. I can find reasonably good dishes, such as pizzas and pastas at many places now. But I guess the reason for Gina’s is the environment. You can tell by the amount of noise, it is quite deafening. I have no bad things to say, everything is reasonable. It may take a while for dishes to arrive, so have many things to say!

My rating 8/10. Have a try.

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.

Eiji Japanese Cuisine

My first post for the year. I hope everyone had a good holiday.

I went to Eiji for lunch with a couple of friends sometime before Christmas. I didn’t even know this place existed especially in the suburbs (St Heliers). I guess you have to be living around there.

Unagi Kabayaki Bento.

Zangi Don.

Salad Side.

First of all the service is great, I guess Japanese restaurant staff tend to be more friendly. The food is quite good, although the price is a bit on the high side, we had the Entertainment card to reduce some of the costs.

The bento costs $22 and the don $14, which is quite reasonable. Although I have to admit, realistically it will be difficult for most people to go to Eiji as it is not “centralised”. But it’s worth a try especially if you’re at the beach in Mission Bay, or have friends / relatives in that area.

My rating is a favourable 8.5/10. Very good.

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.

Vietnam Cafe

Lately for the past several months, I’ve been trying to find alternative Vietnamese restaurants. And yes, there is one in Otahuhu called the Vietnam Cafe. I used to know the place because it was near my old work place (Mt Wellington). Ah, those were the days.

Vietnam Cafe is quite easy to spot, it’s off Atkinson Ave. It’s pretty much the route you’d use if you’re coming from Mt Wellington towards Otahuhu, or taking the Princess St offramp.  The parking is harder to spot because it’s at the back. You’d spot the cafe, but most likely miss the turn for the carpark!

The place generally looks dodgy because of the car park. And it certainly doesn’t feel like it’s owned by Vietnamese. You be the judge. =)

A few dishes were sampled as shown below:

vietnam-cafe-combination-noodle-soup-copy

Combination Noodle Soup.

vietnam-cafe-moong-copy

Vietnamese Noodle.

vietnam-cafe-curry-chicken-on-rice-noodle-copy

Curry Chicken on Rice Noodle.

vietnam-cafe-traffic-light-copy1

Traffic Light.

I’d say the best dish to try is the combination noodle soup.  The rest are OK. I even tried the “Traffic Light” drink which was somewhat disappointing. The dishes are cheap though, $10 for the curry chicken on rice noodle and vietnamese noodle. The combination noodle is $12. Traffic Light is $3.50.

Personally, if you do go there, just get the combination noodle soup. It’s not bad. The rest you’d have to cross your fingers. I found the curry chicken rice noodle a bit plain. The drink was also a bit plain. However, one thing I notice is the fried spring rolls which “looked” good.

My rating is 7/10. Good enough for me because of one dish. Perhaps they forgot to add MSG on my curry chicken. =) 

On another note, I believe there is another Vietnamese place opening very soon on Beach Road (near Foodtown/China Restaurant). Can someone confirm this? I’m interested to find out if it’s already open, or going to open. I knew about it because they sold a damn good Pho (noodle soup) during the Lantern festival.