The colder months are upon us and it’s time to put aside the smoothie bowls and trade them in for some hot, steamy and comforting goodness. Cafes and restaurants all around Auckland have read our minds, dishing up new additions to their menus. From tasty soups, hearty oatmeal and soul-warming noodles, here is a list of all the warming meals you need to eat this winter.
Rice paper rolls are for the summer time and it has reached that time of year when you branch out! Tucked away in the streets of Ponsonby is this little gem called Saigon Kitchen which serves authentic Vietnamese food and trust us when we say you can't go past their curry chicken. On a hot, fluffy bed of white rice is a boneless piece of chicken that has been infused in curry powder and spices. The tender chicken is packed with flavour to lift all your senses and it just gets better and better as it mixes into the hearty and steamy rice.
Try It Out
Burswood & Otahuhu
If you’re feeling the sniffles, get yourself to Try It Out in Otahuhu or Burswood ASAP and indulge in their rare beef pho. The big, steamy hot bowls are filled with nothing but the good stuff. The broth is a concoction of high-quality beef, fragrant fresh herbs, ginger, garlic and anise to tingle your senses. If you haven’t had pho before, get it together and Try It Out! It’s a wholesome dish and with every slurp you'll feel your body getting warmer and your mind getting happier.
The Candy Shop
From the vibe of the café to the food that comes out of their kitchen, The Candy Shop in Newmarket is one of our favourite eateries in the winter season. The cosy ambience and tasty food are on point but trust us when we say no visit to The Candy Shop would be complete without their prawn dumpling soup. The Korean-inspired dish is ideal for the winter, thick beef broth with juicy bits of seafood and meaty dumplings, yes please!
In the Newmarket area but want something a little more carb heavy? Head straight to Selera and get the best bowl of chicken laksa in town. When the bowl of noodles arrive at the table, you’ll feel a little bit overwhelmed at the massive portion size but we can guarantee that you’ll enter a trance and end up scraping the bowl clean. The spicy, coconut cream soup goes down an absolute treat along with the noodles that you could slurp, all in one mouthful as it’s just that good!
Sometimes a generous helping of mac ‘n’ cheese is all you really need to warm up. Coffee Pen is the definition of hidden gem, found at the end of Basque Road in Eden Terrace. It’s a quaint, quiet little café serving specialty coffee and the tastiest homemade meals that are cooked fresh on the day! Coffee Pen’s mac ‘n’ cheese flavours change from time to time but they all taste just as amazing as each other. The mac ‘n’ cheese is served with more melted cheese poured on top to create an ooey-gooey winter lovin’ sensation.
How does a hot bowl of fish and pork bone broth, juicy cuts of pork belly and a generous handful of noodles sound? Ramen Lab is located in Takapuna and serves up the most authentic Japanese ramen gyokai shoyu ramen. It’s a mix of a pork bone and fish broth which is packed with flavours of garlic as it has been brewing for hours on end. The slices of tender pork that melt in your mouth and the steamy hot, rich tasting soup is also garnished with a soft boiled egg which has the creamiest yolk that mixes into the broth and is an absolute winter treat.
Nothing says a winter night like a curry night! Steer away from the store-bought jars of pre-made curry sauces and do curry night the proper way at Parnell’s Oh Calcutta! Serving up an array of Indian dishes, our favourite is the chicken tikka masala. The tender pieces of chicken are drowning in a flavourful and spicy sauce which will tingle the taste buds. You can’t forget to add a side of garlic naan bread, freshly toasted, warm and crispy—the perfect accompaniment to your hot wintery meal and much needed when mopping every last drop of curry off the plate.
Get dumped this winter at Basu Lounge in Takapuna! This hidden gem located on Lake Road is churning out some of the best dumplings in town. Get amongst their pork and chive fried dumplings. The bottom is crispy and the top is steamed so you get a combination of textures. Beware when biting into these babies as they’re filled with hot soup that burst and things can get dangerous. Also add a big old bowl of beef noodle soup to add some slurpy, spicy goodness which will get your body temperature rising!
Japanese cuisine is renowned for fresh slices of sashimi and rolls of sushi which are ideal for the summer season. However, Japanese cuisine has its own wintery delights and you need to hop on board. Janken in Herne Bay has a variety of authentic Japanese dishes but the seafood nabe stole our hearts this winter. It’s a hot pot which consists of tender salmon, scallops, prawns, veggies and noodles and you even get your own fire to put under the pot to keep it boiling hot. The miso soup broth never stops steaming and is a homely dish that is made for the colder months.
In the winter season, what you want in a meal is something that is hot, wholesome and homely. We think a quality bowl of oatmeal ticks all those boxes and Orphans Kitchen have mastered this delicacy. As they use seasonal ingredients, their oatmeal is always changing but they all taste as amazing as each other. Recently, their creamy oats were topped with stewed apples infused in cinnamon and crunchy toasted almonds. Pair that with their house-made masala chai and you are in for a winter feast which will make you feel like you’re dining in a humble British cottage.
People who say soups are boring need to take a trip to Mezze Bar so they can be proven wrong. The tomato lentil soup at this Mediterranean restaurant showcases that soup is capable of being a bomb-tasting and filling meal which is not just limited for the people with the sniffles. The tomato flavour is rich, potent and packed with different seasoning and the lentil makes it thick and hearty. Mezze Bar are also famous for their homemade cakes sold by the slice and it would be a crime to not have their chocolate buttermilk cake. The moist and decadent chocolate cake is heated up with hot ganache poured on top. Finish your wintery evening with this treat and thank us later.
Speaking of dessert, Depot have got the wintery sugary treats down pat. Although the cookie in a skillet tastes 10/10 no matter what time of year it is but something about the chilly weather makes the experience even more enjoyable. The hot cookie is served fresh out of the oven so it's still soft, ooey and gooey with the chocolate melting oozing out of the skillet. The smooth vanilla ice cream slowly melts on top of the hot cookie and is drizzled with a chocolate sauce to add the cherry on top.
Soups and noodles aren’t the only things that go down a treat in the winter season. UMU in Kingsland serves sourdough pizzas that are made fresh to order with their wood fire ovens. Not only do these ovens make the best pizzas but they also do a banging job at keeping the eatery toasty and warm. The number six pizza is one you need to get amongst. The hot, sourdough crust is topped with smoky lamb and mint yoghurt and a peppery sauce to spice things up a bit! Douse these slices in chilli oil that’s sitting on every table and enjoy!
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Image Credit: Jaiden Bhaga