Dear Jervois, Herne Bay

Dear Jervois, Herne Bay

Dear Jervois Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

If you are looking for a laid back cafe to make the most of your weekend (or week day), then Dear Jervois should be at the top of your list.

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It spreads out onto the sidewalk and is the perfect location for breakfast or lunch on a sunny day.. If however the weather is not holding up, like it can in Auckland, then head on inside as is just as inviting. There is a cute little back room that gives you an outdoor feel, whilst you’re snug and warm inside.

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The food is unpretentious and wholesome and whether you are a fuss-free eater like me or a gluten-free/vegan/dairy-free fairy, there is something for everyone’s taste. They serve an all-day menu up to closing time at 4pm and prices are mid-range, mostly in the early $20’s.

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Donkatsu chicken poke bowl

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Smashed avo on swedish-rye with poached eggs and dukkah

I love feeling emerged in my suburb, watching as people doing their thing. It buzzes with families, singles and everyone in-between and is a true gem in the heart of Herne Bay!

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  • food – 4/5
  • price – 3/5
  • service – 3/5
  • atmosphere – 5/5

Euro Bar and Restaurant, Princes Wharf

Euro Bar and Restaurant, Princes Wharf

Euro Bar and Restaurant Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Restaurant month is running for the month of August, so there is still some time to take advantage of this amazing special!

To take part in Auckland’s restaurant month, we headed down to Princes Wharf to try out their 3-course, NZD 40 dining experience offered by Euro Bar and Restaurant. The restaurant is in a great location along the waterfront and the weather was perfect for a night out!

We were offered bread for the table which came with the most decadent, silky smooth burnt butter (be warned, they charge NZD 9 for it), something I would order again given the opportunity. The set menu came with 4 options for starters, 3 for mains and 2 choices of dessert. Our waiter was courteous but to the point, so we quickly got on to ordering our meals.

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To start we ordered the Jerusalem artichoke, egg, pecorino and buffalo curd as well as the salt and chilli squid. The artichoke dish was outstanding with an oozing soft yolk, creamy and rich cheesy flavour and a burst of crunch and sweetness – it was not something I have tried before, and was my favourite dish of the evening. Overall the squid, which had quite a bite, was the least exciting dish of the evening but good nonetheless.

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Jerusalem artichoke
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Squid

For mains we opted for the chicken and the fish of the day. The chicken portion was hearty and the chicken was soft, pink and juicy. It was accompanied by lots of different flavours – roast mushrooms, thinly-sliced fresh mushroom, mushroom puree, rich gravy and roasted, baby onions with the layer of chicken skin in-between to add a hint of salt to the dish. The fish of day was the overall winner for my husband who did not stop raving about the flavour combinations. Crispy skinned fish, thinly-sliced celeriac, a celeriac puree and a pernod butter sauce – divine!

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Free-range chicken
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Market fish

The restaurant is split between a more relaxed outside area and a smarter interior. The kitchen is off to the side but incorporated into the setting of the restaurant, so one can see the head chefs and their team at work.

For dessert we shared a deconstructed cheese cake and a chocolate tart with salted, milk ice-cream. Both dishes were fantastic! The carrot cake tasted different with each bite, as there were so many elements on the plate – dehydrated pineapple for crunch, walnuts, pickled raisins, cream cheese, pineapple sorbet, and a concentrated puree. The brownie was my favourite dessert with a salted-milk ice-cream that was a perfect accompaniment to cut through the sweetness of the chocolate and caramel blobs on the plate.

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Deconstructed carrot cake
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Chocolate tart

To say that we indulged, is an understatement. It was fine-dining at its finest!

  • food – 5/5
  • price – 4/5
  • service – 4/5
  • atmosphere – 4.5/5

Fabric Cafe Bistro, Hobsonville Point

Fabric Cafe Bistro, Hobsonville Point

Fabric Cafe Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

It feels to me like a destination location when I get out to visit Hobsonville Point. A quickly expanding suburb that is part of Auckland, yet is more like a small town with cosy farm surrounds and a distant view of the ‘big smoke’.

The new kid on the block is Fabric Cafe Bistro, located on the water’s edge near the ferry terminal. I’d describe the interior as minimalist-contemporary with a high ceiling and a gently-lit interior which was rather inviting on a cold winter’s evening.

The menu is a one-pager that offers 3 courses and a few options for sides. Starters (NZD 17 – 23), mains (NZD 24 – 36) and desserts (NZD 12 – 18). Having only opened a few weeks before, our waitress was polite but lacked in-depth knowledge of the food when we asked her questions about the dishes. We eventually decided on our choices and settled in for the evening.

To start we shared some confit mushrooms with some parsley, basil and pumpkin seed pesto (NZD 10). For mains we tried the Potato gnocchi with ricotta, mushroom drizzled with sage and almond burnt butter (NZD 25), Duck leg ragu with homemade pappardelle, rocket pesto, pine nuts and pecorino (NZD 28) and Lamb rump, pumpkin, baby carrot, dukkah, coriander and goat’s cheese (NZD 32).

We were absolutely blown away by our main meals! Every detail was carefully thought out and the taste and presentation of the dishes could not be faulted. The gnocchi was the overall highlight for me, as they were the lightest and most fluffy gnocchi I have eaten, ever. The portion sizes aren’t big though and I was rather disappointed to still be hungry at the end of the meal.

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Gnocchi
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Lamb Rump
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Lamb Ragu

We decided to draw out the evening with a cheese board and it was pretty much what one would expect from a standard board (NZD 18).

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Cheese board

For dessert, the highlight for me was the Rosemary creme brulee served with lemon sorbet (NZD 14) (a rather odd combination which somehow worked). The Chocolate profiteroles (NZD 12) looked the part and were pretty good. I had high hopes for the Panna cotta, poached rhubarb and thyme crumble (NZD 12) but it didn’t deliver the rich flavour I was expecting and I was equally disappointed with the Manuka honey ice cream (NZD 12) which was soft and had started to run by the time it got to the table.

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It wouldn’t be considered a cheap night out but the quality and taste of  the food will have me spend the money and definitely pay them another visit. As the restaurant is just in its early days, my hope is that they focus on producing desserts that match the flavours and finesse of the main meals as well as increase the portion sizes of a few of their signature dishes.

If you haven’t been, it is seriously worth trying and I look forward to returning to test out their outside deck when the sun is shining!

  • food – 4/5
  • price – 3/5
  • service – 3.5/5
  • atmosphere – 4/5

FishSmith, Herne Bay

FishSmith, Herne Bay

Fish Smith Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Our very first meal in New Zealand was good old Fish and Chips or should I say ‘Fush and Chups’ like the Kiwis do. Auckland is surrounded by water, in-between and all around so you can literally find fresh fish anywhere and at any time. Being on a tight budget during our first month here, this fishy takeaway became a bit of a staple so we’ve sampled a number of places.

The first reason for the this review is just to brag about our little local gem that makes a killer fish and chips which is consistently good. For a while I was a snob and stuck to only Snapper but I’ve started branching out and now I usually just grab the fish of the day. FishSmith is a thriving little business that never lacks clientele – you may have to order inside the shop or online as they may not answer their phone during peak periods! The shop is inviting and clean and the staff are friendly. If you’re lucky you can grab a spot in the window or at their one table outside but it is not a sit-down restaurant unfortunately.

The second reason for this post is because we veered off from our staple meal yesterday and opted for the fish tacos – one of the most simple but absolutely delicious meals I’ve had all year! Battered fish, soft shell taco, coleslaw and hot sauce (NZD 13 – for two of them).

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If you haven’t tried them, just do yourself (not your hips) a favour!

Orleans, Britomart

Orleans, Britomart

Orleans Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I’ve been wanting to try Orleans because I’ve heard about their fried chicken waffles but only recently discovered they showcase live music on weekends as well. So it was a rather easy choice when having to choose a location for a friend’s birthday dinner.

From first impressions I was pleasantly surprised at how cool the interior is. The music drifts through from the back of the restaurant, it is dimly lit with high standing tables and it has an air of sophistication to it. We were seated near the small stage and got to enjoy live jazz soul music by Lou’ana Whitney on vocals and a very enthusiastic drummer that accompanied her for the evening.

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The menu is a one pager and is made up of quite simple but unique dishes with all meals for one under NZD 20. If you like waffles in all different forms then you will be spoilt for choice! They also have quite an impressive list of cocktails for those interested.

To start we ordered a spinach and artichoke dip with tortilla chips (NZD 10) and the buttermilk fried chicken (NZD 14). The dip comes with a layer of melted cheese on top and its just perfect to dunk a chip into. Our waitress very sweetly brought us extra chips as there was far more dip than chips on the plate – absolutely delicious! The chicken was juicy and crispy just like fried chicken should be.

For mains we went with their signature dish Orleans fried chicken waffle (NZD 18) – drizzled with a maple chipotle, the twice cooked pork belly with sweet potato puree (NZD 18) and friends of ours chose to share the the waffle stack (NZD 38).

The chicken waffle delivered as promised with a perfectly cooked waffle – crispy and light – fried chicken and a marvellous maple syrup with a kick of chilli infused into it! The pork belly, although not my number 1 in Auckland, did have crispy crackling and proved to be a good dish. The waffle stack is best described as a gluttonous dish that lacks finesse as you literally have to hold it in place. There’s far to much going on as it has bits of bacon, pork belly, fried chicken, stacked between waffles and comes with curly fries, onion rings and slaw. Tasty no doubt, but I would stick to the smaller more refined dishes!

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We were too full to try desserts but our neighbouring table ordered the brownie stack which looked very impressive! In terms of service our waitress was helpful, made suggestions, topped up our water glasses and checked how up on how the food was.

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Thank you Orleans for a great night out, we will most definitely be back!

  • food – 4/5
  • price – 4/5
  • service – 4/5
  • atmosphere – 5/5

 

 

Black Frog Cafe, Kingsland

Black Frog Cafe, Kingsland

Black Frog Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Anyone who knows me well, knows that my favourite meal of the day is breakfast. Eggs and bacon make my heart explode with joy.. I kid you not! I make a mean fry-up – if I do say so myself – and so we most often eat breakfast at home in our free time. Occasionally though, to spare my husband doing dishes, we venture out in search of the best eggs around.

Black Frog Cafe is situated in the lovely suburb of Kingsland, on the ever expanding New North Road. It has a rather inconspicuous entrance that you would miss if you weren’t paying attention, as there is not much space to sit out on the sidewalk. Look out for the French flag and head on inside as it has an awesomely lit sun room at the back of the shop overlooking the train station and Sandringham road.

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The cafe boasts french cuisine with a hint of Kiwi and is run by owner Guillaume and his team. It is in many ways authentically french as most of the pastries, croissants and breads are actually regularly imported from France. Guillaume is not only a good cook but clearly has green fingers too as there are a number of beautiful plants spread around the room.

We kicked the morning off with some orange juice and delicious coffee, then settled on Eggs Benedict (NZD 23) and a Kiwi breakfast in a Galettes (NZD 19.5). Our waiter was really friendly and the dishes we received were as pretty as a picture. Best of all though, it was all delicious with perfectly poached, soft eggs! Eggs Benedict is always a surprise, as no one chef makes it taste the same and so I am happy to report that this one got my full nod of approval!  The Galettes was an interesting twist on a regular breakfast and was really filling – definitely worth a try.

And then in case we hadn’t stuffed ourselves enough.. We settled on a french pudding made of blended croissants and a dollop of cream, just to try out something new. Yum!

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They are open for breakfast and lunch every day of the week and serve dinner Thursday through to Sunday. A lovely spot to just hang out and enjoy good food!

  • food – 4/5
  • price – 3.5/5
  • service – 4/5
  • atmosphere – 3.5/5

 

Cotto, Karangahape Road

Cotto Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

There is something so exciting about the infamous K Road. It’s reputation is rather controversial but I don’t think anyone can deny the buzz that accompanies it.

I stumbled onto Cotto and was looking forward to trying it out as it is quite highly reviewed by the Zomato community. They don’t take phone bookings and it is certainly popular, so we were squeezed in and offered an hour time limit. The tables are mostly shared like many restaurants in Auckland, but we didn’t feel cramped or that we were invading our neighbour’s space.

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Most dishes are NZD 20 or less and the idea is to order a few plates and share food. We started with Chickpea smoked mozzarella chips with almond aioli (NZD 15) and quickly realized we would never get to eating other dishes if we finished them all. I was hoping the little deep-fried sticks would be more cheesy but they are closer to polenta in texture. They were lathered in salt on the outside and I found that to be rather overpowering.

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Next up we tried the Lamb ribs with honey balsamic glaze (NZD 15). The meat was tender and they were nice and crispy but they were quite fatty and really lacked seasoning.

Our favourite savoury dish for the evening was the Spinach, goats cheese and sage ‘dumplings’ (NZD 15). I was expecting something more in-line with stereotypical dumplings but I suppose being Italian, that was maybe not the best assumption to make. High quality ingredients and subtle flavours – the combination was delicious.

For the main meal we had the Rotolo beef cheek served on porcini béchamel (NZD 20). Having grown up on a farm covered in Oak Trees where freshly picked porcini mushrooms are a regular occurence I was looking forward to the rich, earthy flavours that I am familiar with. Unfortunately there was barely a hint of that goodness in the béchamel. Certainly the most eye-catching dish of them all and one I was looking most forward to, but it was also totally under-salted with a tiny piece of meat in each roll engulfed in too many layers of spinach.

We ended off the evening with the Burnt orange panna cotta served with roasted rhubarb (NZD 10). I would have to say of all the dishes, the dessert is one I would go back for. Silky smooth texture, bold rhubarb flavour and the hint of burnt orange – YUM!

So overall a rather mixed experience. The atmosphere was lively, the plates were beautifully presented and while certain dishes were spot on I felt that if I was completely honest, I was left feeling rather disappointed.

  • food – 3/5
  • price – 3.5/5
  • service – 3.5/5
  • atmosphere – 4/5