It’s been a long time since we last checked in (sorry!), but we have been busy on the food front so more posts to come! We recently attended and photographed Yelp’s latest Elite Event at The Kapiti Store on Shortland Street. As many other Yelpers would agree, this was for sure the best event yet (Alex you have outdone yourself).
Throughout the night Rachel, the store manager, led us through the sampling of five different cheese paired with respective wines from Church Road.
- (Chardonnay) Aorangi Traditional Brie: 6-8 weeks age. With a subtle mushroom flavour, this was delicious.
- (Pinot Gris) Ramara Washed Rind: 6-8 weeks age. Definitely our favourite of the night. Super creamy and incredibly smooth and soft. It was great smeared on top of the bread.
- (Syrah) Smoked Havarti: 6-8 weeks age.
- (Merlot) Tuteremoana Cheddar: 3-4 years.
- (Cabernet Sauvignon) Kikorangi Triple Cream Blue: 4-6 months. We’re not quite blue cheese fanatics but this was enjoyable. It’s very rich and a shocker to the taste buds on the first go. As Rachel mentioned, the best before label for cheese is often dependent on personal tastes. She gave us a sample of one that was one month past expiration. It was on another level, so much stronger and bolder. Let’s just say I’m not in a hurry to leave my cheese out past it’s best before.
Grilled cheese sandwich.
For dessert there was of course ice cream. The four flavours were blueberry muffin, chocolate hazelnut crunch, lemongrass and ginger, and nectarine and muscavado. We loved the blueberry and the chocolate. We also tried a little dairy float with some Stoneleigh Sparkling Sauvignon.
More event photos here.
Every Yelp event we walk away with at least one new product in mind to buy later on for ourselves, like the Ramara cheese this time, the Sparkling Mio from our Sake night (click here), and the Riesling from Foxes Island (click here). Word is these events are only going to get better, I would say hurry and become a Yelp Elite member now so you don’t miss out! (Find out how here.)
Also on the side, although it’s a little late notice. Tomorrow (3rd Dec) will be the last Yelp event for the year and everybody is invited! It will be held at Jetset Bohemian with food backing a great cause: donating shoes to the Philippines. With every donation you also get some sweet discounts. The same event is happening across Australia and Singapore. More details here. Come along, bring some shoes, and don’t forget to say hi!
The Kapiti Store
19 Shortland Street, Auckland Central.
So much is going on in the Imperial Building recently, the latest addition being Mandarin Dumpling & Bar. Being avid dumpling lovers, we were very excited to finally try out the new eatery. The entry is very obscure as it is a basement spot (just look out for the MOA signpost), but before you go hunting around for it, here’s what we think. First impressions upon stepping into the restaurant were great. Decor was chic and even though the place was essentially a dark cellar it was lively and had excellent atmosphere. It did make you expect great things. We were served candied walnuts immediately, these are fried with the wok and very tasty. We then picked the following and waited for quite some time.
- Dumplings (Pan-fry and Steam) – the only ‘wow’ factor here was the impressive colour scheme going on with the dumpling skins. We thought with only four different flavours to choose from they were incredibly lacking for a restaurant that had ‘Dumpling’ in their name. Taste-wise the skins were too thick and shiny for us. In comparison, the dumplings at Barilla (read here) were the perfect thickness and at an immense price slash – of course location, interior design, and ambience will justify your larger bill…
Pork & shiitake mushroom dumplings (pan-fry and steam $6 for 4pcs) – best of the four. Beef, onion & beetroot dumplings (pan-fry and steam $6 for 4pcs) Prawn, crab & squid ink dumplings (pan-fry and steam $8 for 4pcs) Egg, vermicelli, cabbage & spinach dumplings (pan-fry and steam $6 for 4pcs)
- Shredded chicken breast ($16) – the chicken was succulent, tasty and very strongly flavoured.
- Taiwanese pork sausage with kombu & white sesame ($12) – nothing special here, I believe both components can be purchased from an Asian supermarket. We actually have some kombu in the fridge right now, tastes exactly the same.
- Fried home-made tofu ($18) – the tofu would be the star of our meal. It was smooth and is impressively made on-site.
In all honesty, I wouldn’t give in to the hype. Sure the place is beautiful and unique but I don’t believe it is enough to justify the overpriced and underwhelming food. When people are willing to eat at a restaurant with brusque staff, splashed with bright orange and green paint, and one that’s ventured into the depths of a D-grade hygiene, you know that the food is good and no amount of designer decor can rival it. Dominion Road isn’t too far, there’s even free parking.
Mandarin Dumpling & Bar.
5 Fort Lane, Auckland Central.
Here are a few snaps my friend and I took on a casual walk around Auckland.
Of course, an adventure is never complete without food and as always, Foxtrot Parlour manages to make some show-stopping food. Be it from their sister The Dairy (read here), or this DIY donut that comes with its own saucy syringe and cream. Somehow when they give you some responsibility with compiling your food, it tastes just that much better. Be warned though, it gets crazy messy. You’ll be licking the sugar off your fingers, pulling apart the donut, handling the knife to get some cream, and working the syringe – which requires both hands. It may be useful for them to supply wet tissues of some sort at the end to avoid translating your sticky mess any further than your table. I would definitely recommend sharing the donut, we loved the salted caramel one.
We visited the museum and walked around Auckland Domain. You could also take bush-walks, explore the Wintergarden or just lie on your back and admire the blue skies. Hope you all had a great weekend! We’re suffering from Mondayitis right now but Labour weekend is just round the corner, what are your plans?
We were invited to Yelp’s third Auckland Elite Event, and this time as photographers! Since Kely was busy at university, with camera and friend in tow I took one for the team.
Guests were greeted with a glass of Foxes Island Riesling on arrival – an award-winning wine and my favourite of the night. I’d first tried Riesling when dining at Sails, and I’ve been reminiscent ever since. This was beautiful. Its sweet and fruity flavour was just right for novice drinkers like myself. The hint of white peach and jasmine creates a very fresh finish. I would’ve had a few more sips if I weren’t busy snapping away…
To complement the wine there was a selection of cheese from Whangaripo Buffalo Cheese and bread baked by Bread and Butter Bakery. The cheese supplied was St Malo, Marin Blue and St Augustine (Brie White). I enjoyed St Malo the most. The creaminess was unmatchable.
In John (owner of Foxes Island) and his partner, Kelly’s short introduction, he touched upon his inspiration as a winemaker and the process to making one of New Zealand’s best wine. We were then offered Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir (the ‘holy grail’). The Pinot Noir had more of a potent earthy aroma. The wine was denser and had a punch of spice to it.
Having seen the bottle circle around some of Auckland’s best eateries, I was delighted to finally have a drink of the pure New Zealand water, Antipodes. Rated the purest water on Earth, Morven talked about how Antipodes sourced water from a deep aquifer of more than 327m deep underground (roughly the same height as the Sky Tower!). The water has been there for more than 300 years so was the purest around. Antipodes has low mineral levels so will not corrupt out palates, wine’s best companion.
It was definitely a wonderful opportunity. I was able to reconnect with some of the Yelpers I met last time at the Sake Tasting at Ponsonby and other new Yelpers. Thanks to Alex for inviting us again.
For more photos click here .
Foxes Island City Door Cellar.
15C Williamson Avenue, Ponsonby, Auckland.