What they're eating in Auckland

From beetroot-infused steamed buns to jackfruit tacos, restaurants in New Zealand’s biggest city are getting creative.Wednesday, 11 March 2020

Wagyu longganisa at Nanam
Having sold Filipino food at night markets in Auckland, Nanam’s owners Andrew Soriano and Jessabel Granada graduated to this lauded restaurant. Highlights include beetroot-infused taco pao (steamed buns) filled with pulled pork, and lemongrass-spiked Wagyu beef longganisa (a skinless sausage). Cradled in a grilled wheat tortilla with coriander, green papaya pickles and chipotle mayo, the latter is smoky and citrusy. 

Lamb kleftiko at Gerome
Unsurprisingly for a country that’s home to around 30 million sheep, lamb is the star ingredient on menus in the capital. At Gerome, in the upmarket suburb of Parnell, the chefs give it a modern Greek twist. Slow-cooked with garlic and lemon, the smoky, unctuous meat is served with zingy cucumber tzatziki, refreshing watermelon jelly and lightly toasted pine nuts. A side order of house-made pitta bread is an essential addition to wrap the lamb in and to soak up the dish’s sweet-savoury juices. 

Wagyu beef potstickers at Hello Beasty
At this stylish spot in central Auckland’s Viaduct Harbour precinct, the city indulges its infatuation with the Chinese-style dumplings known as potstickers. The plump, neatly crimped dumplings are pan-fried, so the bases are satisfyingly crunchy. Pair your Wagyu beef and shiitake mushroom potstickers — steeped in Sichuan flavours and packing a chili kick — with a yuzu and salted plum cocktail.

Breakfast tacos at Kind
In the laneways of the emerging Morningside Precinct, you’ll find Kind — an airy glass pavilion energised by scores of ferns and plants. Stop by for breakfast and order plant-based tacos. Standing in for pulled pork is slow-cooked jackfruit in chipotle sauce, combined with crisp iceberg lettuce and crunchy sprouts and served in gossamer-light tortillas. The peanuts and spring onion scattered around the dish add a subtle echo of Southeast Asia, too. 

Spinach and goat’s cheese dumplings at Cotto
The bohemian Karangahape Road — or ‘K Road’ — is arguably the city’s most exciting dining neighbourhood. Cotto, one of its most recent openings, showcases bravura modern Italian cooking. Alongside craft beer, spritzes and cocktails, you’ll find a menu of sharing plates, including spinach and goat’s cheese dumplings. These hand-rolled delights are topped with crunchy sage leaves fried in butter. 

Published in the April 2020 issue of National Geographic Traveller Food

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