Asian Fusion certainly solidified its place as a ‘thing’ and desserts became next-level epic as talented chefs and restaurateurs showcased the best of the best. With so many new openings, we thought we’ve created this handy list of our top picks of new openings of the year, so you can tick them off one by one. You’re welcome.
Tucks And Bao
Rich, flavorsome and hot, steamed buns have been a big trend this year, and there’s good reason for it. Newmarket’s Asian Fusion, Tucks and Bao, brought us the good stuff with a whopping seven steamed bun varieties, including a dessert bao—no, we’re not kidding. The names require a shout-out in themselves with a vegetarian option like Wrap Legend and The Prawnbroker shrimp bites. There are small plates, something for the kids and sharing plates (if you can bring yourself to do so)… you’re going to want a loooong nap after this one.
Davis Cresent was blessed with some real treats in 2016. Along with Tucks and Bao, there was another new kid on the block, TAO. You’ll be making a beeline once you hear what’s on offer—pork belly, tiger prawns, Peking Duck, and colourful (!!) dumplings. Inspired by Northern Chinese cuisine such as Beijing, the flavours are energized with chilli. The spice is perfectly complemented with beers from New Zealand’s oldest real craft brewery or choose one of their signature cocktails. We can’t go past the dessert dumplings, and we highly recommend you don't either (just get it).
When it comes to Ponsonby establishments, SPQR comes at the top of the list, and father-daughter duo Chris and Courtney Rupe have done it again, opening Augustus Bistro recently. Bringing modern cool to the historic space of the old Ponsonby Post Office, it offers simple-yet-divine French fare. There’s Escargot (you can’t put it off now!), duck confit and a delightful sandwich selection including a crayfish club. The name Augustus may have derived from a murder victim in the very building, but that's for another day—you’ll be too distracted by their seven dessert offerings.
TOK TOK is as legit as you can get without booking a flight over to Hanoi. From imported furniture from Vietnam to the rice paper rolls, it has it all. Once you can get past the magical interior and get some pics for the ‘gram, it’s time to bless your tastebuds. Their share plates mean no more food envy, with dishes like papaya salad, lamb chips and prawn and avo tacos. We hope you bring a decisive group with you! South-east Asian isn’t complete without curries, and TOK TOK’s are made with homemade chili jam, rolled noodles, and so much love we’re certain we can taste it.
Oh Gypsy Caravan, you have our heart. This little pop-up in the Street Food Collective space has an eclectic, funky vibe with food to match. Although street food is the name of the game, they source their ingredients directly from weekend markets, home gardens and foraged from Woodhill Forrest—you know they take their food seriously. A little Moroccan flair is dished up with street food simplicity, and you’ll find stars like Jerusalem artichoke with coffee and pulled brisket gyro. With a new summer menu and the sun flooding through, you’ll find us here all through the warm months.
Devon On The Wharf
You reckon you’re a city-slicker? Think again, because this new Devonport opening is about to swoop you off your feet. Devon On The Wharf’s unreal location has got to be seen to be believed. There’s a backless bar starring the Skytower and Harbour Bridge as the backdrop, an open plan kitchen, and it’s literally attached to the boardwalk. It has a Turkish-influenced menu that includes a big breakfast and, for the rest of the day, there’s beef cheek, deep fried courgettes and beetroot tzatziki—you’ll forget you’re only a ferry ride away from home!
Although Dominion Road has its share of Asian delicacies, A’meza is one to look out for. A’meza’s Asian Fusion is not your usual fare of dumplings and noodles—it’s a marriage of the best. From Korean beef bulgogi, a Japanese/Thai blend of Tom Yum Chawanmushi, and polenta with miso. But it’s not over yet—your sweet tooth will be well looked after with dishes like the Rhubarb, Matcha and Yoghurt plate. It's a dining experience that can’t be missed.
White + Wong’s
Delicious Asian eats were brought to Auckland Viaduct via White + Wong’s—and it's one of our fave openings of the year. Their cocktails are the perfect blend of East and West and the food (all made to be shared) will rock your taste buds. We're talking dumplings, curries, fried rice, noodles and other tasty treats.
Going out to Ponsonby doesn’t have to mean eating canned spaghetti for the rest of the week, thanks to Po’ Brothers. Your favorite Asian dishes are served in a fun, inviting space which will get you in and the prices will keep you coming back. And, they’ve also brought ice cream baos to town (thankyouthankyouthankyou). Bao-shaped glazed doughnuts with an array of ice cream choices are jammed in the middle for a sweet conclusion to your hearty meal. Po’ Brothers is giving us even more reason to keep Ponsonby as one of our fave ‘burbs.
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Image credit: Lauren Matilda Matthews