A week of eats #1
Sometimes I don’t have the time (or motivation) to write a full restaurant review. And sometimes it’s because I’ve been back to a favourite restaurant or an old faithful cafe. But I still want you, dear reader, to know about it. Because sometimes they’ve updated their menu. And sometimes I am really guilty of ordering something I’ve already had before… although I try to avoid doing this where possible, I promise! With this in mind, I’m start a series of posts called ‘A week of eats’ to showcase some highlights when I’m not out trialing new places to eat.
I celebrated my second anniversary with bae this week, so it was only fitting we went to a fabulous restaurant such as Amano that was as fabulous as ourselves. Also two years old, Amano was as full on this Sunday evening as it is on a Friday and Saturday evening, which is a testament to how great a restaurant it is. We started with a glass of Amisfield dry riesling, which is bae’s favourite riesling and I was quick to concur. We ordered the tua tua with squid ink pasta (his choice) and the chargrilled octopus panzanella (my choice). Both were incredible; the octopus tender, the panzanella tangy and refreshing. The spaghetti was so plentiful in tua tua that I had to pick my jaw up off the ground (Depot, take note) and a wonderful showcase of this beautifully fresh shellfish. We rounded dinner off with a shared espresso and marscarpone trifle, which is best described as if a tiramisu and trifle had a baby. Topped with a crunchy vanilla flavoured crumb, layers of dulce de leche and almost salty sponge was sandwiched between lush espresso laced marscarpone. The perfect end to a perfect meal.
Keeping with the theme of being fabulous, my fabulous girlfriends and I celebrated just how fabulous we are by having dinner at Cotto two Saturdays ago and ordering the $45 tasting menu. I’ve already waxed lyrical about how brilliant Cotto is (you can read about it here), and I can say that this is, indisputably, the best way to eat at Cotto. And it is good value for money. We started off with what my friend Stephanie described as ‘the most beautiful focaccia you’ll ever eat’ accompanied by roasted olives and pickled eggplant, then crisp fingers of chickpea and smoked mozzarella chips with almond aioli and spinach, goats cheese dumplings, and a plate of wonderful heirloom tomatoes. The lamb ribs in honey balsamic were a highlight. Lamb ribs are a tricky cut and can go so terribly wrong if the fat isn’t rendered out well , but these were just the right amount of unctuous with giving you the horrid fatty coating around your mouth. They were basted with an intensely flavourful sweet and sour glaze that had me literally dragging my finger along the plate in an attempt not to waste a single drop. Often a conundrum one faces at a fresh pasta restaurant is how can one choose only one pasta dish to eat. But here we experienced no such conflict by having three: the saffron magliati with slow cooked lamb shanks and gremolata; kumara gnocchi with gorgonzola, walnut and watercress; and ravioli with duck, Jerusalem artichoke and age balsamic. All three were fantastic. Dessert is not included in the tasting menu, but how can one say no Cotto’s legendary pannacotta with burnt orange and for a festive season twist, strawberries.
Kiss Kiss is such a great little place to go to for Northern Thai food that is reliably great. I had a craving for khao soi, the Northern specialty of chicken curry soup with crispy noodles. Kiss Kiss’s version was extra lush, with beautifully slow cooked chicken on the bone and the addition of tangy pickled mustard greens to offset all that coconut. Yum!
A lot of banh mi (and one beef pho)
Lynn and I at Cheap Eats have been on the hunt for the last couple of weeks for Auckland’s best banh mi, a journey that has been full of delights, and (I’m sorry to say) disappointments. Hop over to the Cheap Eats website to sign up to our emails so that you'll be the first to hear about it when the list drops later this week.
Also coming up this week on Cheap Eats is my review of this new Northern Chinese export, Sunny Town. In the heart of our second China/Korea-town, Lorne Street, this place mixes up Zen aesthetics with a cheap, cheerful and simplified menu. Here is another shameless plug to sign up to Cheap Eats’ mailing list so you read my review from the comfort of your inbox.
And with that, I wish you have happy week ahead! Go forth and eat well! x