Newmarket, you’re in for one heck of a treat! There’s a new kid on the block serving up new-age Chinese fare, and we’ll bet money that this new opening is set to please many.
Husband and wife duo, Phillip Wei and Kirsten Fun, took over the space a few months back and have transformed it into Tao. While it’s industrial in a sense the restaurant doesn’t feel cold or un-homely. Instead, Tao oozes sleek, with its looming concrete wall, copper trimmings and carefully placed Asian-inspired knick knacks.
The menu highlights familiar flavours, yet each dish here has been modernised in an eye-pleasing manner. The selection of handmade dumplings are oh-so-cute with their brightly stained hues. The deep-coloured squid ink parcels are full of flaky white fish, scallops, tiger prawns and calamari. The orange beauties are stained with carrot juice and filled with tender chicken thigh, mushrooms and sweetcorn.
‘Most Chinese restaurants in Auckland highlight Cantonese fare, while Tao offers a selection of dishes prominent in the northern parts of China such as Beijing’ explains Phillip. ‘You’ll find familiar bites such as bao, dumplings and the like, but what’s different in the region’s cuisines is the amped-up flavour and the addition of chilli in many of the dishes.’
The lamb neck is incredibly tender, and boasts a nutty overtone, thanks to the generous drizzle of sesame sauce, and a kick thanks to the heaven-facing chillis scattered throughout. They also do Peking Duck pancakes here—and, they do them well. And, the pork belly is braised in red curry and served alongside Pacific Scallops and dressed with basil and pinenuts, is to die for.
Dishes are designed to share, as are the desserts. And we highly suggest (actually just do it) saving room for something sugar-laden here. Our pick is the sweet, round dumplings—pure perfection.
This new opening excites us—it’s a beautiful marriage of authentic Chinese fare and European service. It’s incredibly tasty, dishes leave the kitchen swiftly and the bill is easy on the ol’ wallet. Tao —you had us at hello.
For more details on Tao, including opening hours, click here.
Image credit: Lauren Matilda Matthews