August is Auckland Restaurant Month and I have decided as of today that as a blogger it is my job to sample as many of the special menus on offer as possible.
Remember the New Zealand International Arts Festival? I attended something ridiculous like 16 shows in 8 days. It was a marathon effort. Now its time to do the same, but with food. Perhaps I won’t be quite as extravagant, but I do want to try as many options as possible.
So lets kick it off with a list.
The $25 dollar menu seems to be set at two courses and maybe a drink on the side. Perfect for those Friday lunch dates. Pay week Friday lunch dates are a solid tradition with my workmates and even though I’m leaving, restaurant month will be a good reason to stick together.
Starting with Fukuko, aka our favourite. We go there so frequently that I now even have a regular order – sole tempura taco, fried chicken to share and a Japanese gimlet (and sometimes a plum wine too when the afternoon is looking particularly wearisome). During restaurant month Fukuko are offering two tacos/pork bun and a cocktail for $25. It works out at around $4 in savings which is enough of an excuse for me.
But maybe it would be worth taking more of a walk up to Depot. Also known as my favourite restaurant. For the same $25 they’re offering 2 courses of either oysters, clams or sliders. The fishy bits don’t really draw my eye, but I think they’d be an attraction for the boyfriend. More my style is Al’s Fed Deli offering – ‘The Colonel’ – a quarter chicken with potato & gravy, creamy slaw and a side of gravy and a slice of any sweet pie.
‘Pie. Whoever invented the pie?’
– log lady, Twin Peaks
What I’d really like to do though is catch an Uber and head over to Miss Clawdy’s. Wynyard Quarter is a bit of a stretch for us to fit into a lunch break but I reckon that maybe, just maybe with Uber on our side it could work. And what better attraction than empanadas and a dough boy sundae?
The $55 choices kick it up an extra notch and there are two which look to me like a bit of date night.
My man is very much a seafood and Japanese boy so Masu‘s meal deal looks like a bit of alright. It features a spicy tuna tempura roll and salad to start, with main choices including master stock baby back pork ribs and red miso, and sesame elderflower pannacotta to finish. At Masu they bring you warm flannels to wash your hands at the beginning of the meal, so you know, it’s fancy.
Then there’s The Grove with 5 courses for $55. A changing list of 10 options, waiters helping you to build your own menu. This sounds right up my alley. The Grove always gets amazing reviews and I have never been. This needs to be fixed.
If you want to make it a tad cheaper but just as delicious Ortolana has three courses for $40 on offer. Yesterday I took Morgan there for lunch and died over the scents coming from the savoury dishes to my left. I had the granola which was as per usual delicious but I had major food envy. Their restaurant month meal sounds like it might just be the savoury goodness I was melting over – piadina with mushroom, mozzarella and mustard greens, fazzoletti with pumpkin, quark and hazelnut and gelato on a stick to finish.
Heading to a show in the Arts Precinct? Kura has a deal for you (which I will be utilising pre Terror Highway tomorrow evening thank you very much). Kura is part of the Tanuki’s group of Japanese restaurants and just quietly is my fave of the bunch. Their special menu is another $25 number and features a selection of sushi, sashimi, egg omelette and karaage chicken to start, then your choice of Ora King salmon or Angus steak with sides, with green tea or sesame ice-cream to finish. YUM.
I have a couple of friends who are always encouraging a ‘fancy night out’ or to be honest, even just going out so Waymouth and Josiah, these choices are for you.
Toto‘s metre long pizzas are always a crowd pleaser but I’ve only eaten in once – and that was for a 21st. Toto’s $25 deal featuring a range of starters like arancini risotto balls and crocchette potato croquettes, followed by pizza by the metre with your choice of two flavours and a rocket salad. Sounds to me like it would make a great birthday celebration dinner.
On the fancier side we’ve got Cafe Hanoi. I’ve only been here once and have always meant to return but somehow it just hasn’t happened. For $55 per head they’re offering a shared taste adventure – summer rolls, pho, grilled pork, shaking beef… It’s available for group of three or more people and is definitely a bit of alright.
Last but not least. Street Eats. Free entry. A range of Auckland’s restaurants serving up street food. I am stupidly going to be down at the snow so you guys have to enjoy it for me.
Have you checked out the list of special menus? What ones are must tries on your list?