12 Of The Best Auckland Restaurant Dishes From 2018

Viva’s dining out editor Jesse Mulligan reviews a restaurant every week, to bring you the best of Auckland’s culinary scene. Here are 12 tried and tested dishes to get your mitts on ASAP

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1. Vanilla and miso soft serve with fresh strawberries and dark chocolate crumb from Hello Beasty.

Soft serve features twice in this round-up, so too does miso: this flavour combination is a match made in heaven.

Photo / Rebecca Zephyr Thomas

2. Kingfish, pistachio, pickled ginger and kohlrabi from Sid at The French Café.

This was the only restaurant to receive a perfect score in 2018, with Jesse saying the kingfish was a dish he would return for, featuring a fiery nam jim, mandolin kohlrabi and ginger, and pistachio puree.

Photo / Rebecca Zephyr Thomas

3. Mushroom Goma Dufu with soy, kombu dashi and shiitake mushrooms from Williams Eatery.

This restaurant was praised for its inventive vegetarian dishes, with Jesse saying “this crazy, multi-mushroom construction shows proper respect for someone who’s chosen to live the Plant-Thug life”.

Photo / Rebecca Zephyr Thomas

4. Miso glazed eggplant with pickled red cabbage from Ebisu.

Miso makes everything taste better, especially eggplant, its sweet tenderness perfectly offset by the tart pickle.

Photo / Rebecca Zephyr Thomas

5. White bread tacos with fried breaded Cloudy Bay clams, iceberg and Lowbrow Thousand Island dressing, from Lowbrow.

“I often find myself thinking about the “tacos”, a simple, beautiful idea featuring triangles of white bread, each topped with chopped iceberg, Thousand Island dressing and a deep-fried clam. What a perfect little mouthful of soft/crunch, hot/cold, salt/tang. Make sure these are on your list,” says Jesse.

Photo / Rebecca Zephyr Thomas

7. The Curryflower dish from Satya Chai Lounge.

“Start with this curryflower (just tender, battered and heavily spiced cauliflower),” says Jesse, but don’t finish there. The whole menu is good at the Chai Lounge, with Jesse deeming the snacks as perfect as they can possibly be.

Photo / Rebecca Zephyr Thomas

6. Taglioni pasta with clams, chilli, olive, capers and anchovies from Vic Road Kitchen in Devonport.

“Probably the best pasta I’ve eaten this year,” declares Jesse, “a lethal combination of chilli, garlic, tomato and seafood wrapped around some big mouthfuls of carbohydrate. It was the sort of dish you couldn’t stop eating.”

Photo / Rebecca Zephyr Thomas

9. Miso grilled 'Scukyo' Tooth fish with cauliflower puree and beetroot pickles from Ebisu.

While tooth fish may not sound like the most appealing fish, Viva restaurant reviewer Jesse Mulligan deems it the “loveliest hot dish on the menu” at Ebisu. “The fish does that beautiful thing where the miso changes the texture of the flesh to make it even more flaky and springy and it’s a must-order dish.”

Photo / Rebecca Zephyr Thomas

10. The fried birthday cake sundae at Lowbrow.

This is the ultimate sundae-lover’s dessert and comes as advertised – milk battered and fried vanilla cake with a toasted waffle cone, atop vanilla soft serve ice cream that’s been doused in sprinkles. You’ll feel like a kid again!

Photo / Rebecca Zephyr Thomas.

12. The papaya salad and spicy fried chicken on the menu at Chicka restaurant in Kingsland.

“This [fried chicken] is much better than you get from the Colonel. Less greasy, although just as crunchy.”

Photo / Babiche Martens

11. Spiced New Zealand Wakanui brisket with radish, mustard leaf and Japanese black vinegar from Hello Beasty.

“It’s served “corn beef” style,” says Jesse, “so they cook the cut until tender then slice it very thinly and serve it with crispy radish, chilli oil and Japanese black vinegar. It is incredible, so flavourful and a smart, creative new way to serve the meat cut of the moment.”

Photo / Rebecca Zephyr Thomas

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