If you love food as much as we do and consider yourself a foodie at heart, August is your month. Why? Because it’s Auckland's annual Restaurant Month. Throughout the month restaurants all over the city are hosting events, running deals, showcasing special menus and collaborating to create edible masterpieces. It's not just the restaurants celebrating though. There are markets and festivals, food-oriented films, hands-on workshops and cooking demonstrations, wine and spirit degustation, even food blogging and photography classes...the list goes on and on!
Here are our top picks for what not to miss at this year’s Restaurant Month.
Wholly Brekkie | 5 August
They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day, so why not start your day with an entire breakfast degustation? Megan May (Little Bird Organics) is pairing up with acclaimed chef Simon Gault to bring you a three-course breakfast degustation at Simon's newest venture: Giraffe. Wholly Brekkie is a celebration of all things wholemeal. The food is not only delicious, but healthy as well! Delight your taste buds as you endeavour on a journey of unprocessed, unrefined plant-based foods. Better yet, the menu is compatible with gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian and vegan diets.
Onam Vegetarian Festival | 6 August
Out of all the cuisines the world has to offer, Indian is possibly the most accommodating to vegetarians. In a country where many advocate an animal-free diet, it’s no wonder there are so many delicious plant-based meals! Come along to Ela Cuisine to celebrate Onam—Kerala's annual Hindu rice harvest festival. Take part in communal dining and don't worry, nobody will judge you for licking your fingers afterwards. This is a cutlery-free event where paper leaves act as plates and eating with your hands is encouraged!
The Fantastic Taste Of Mexico | 8 August
If you're a fan of Mexican cuisine, you simply cannot miss The Fantastic Taste of Mexico. Besos Latinos is offering a four-course menu showcasing traditional Mexican cuisine, created by renowned Mexican native, Chef Alfredo Icedo. But wait, there's more! Alongside each course, you will taste a top shelf tequila. By the end of the night, you're sure to be feeling as if you've jumped the border to Mexico!
The Kumeu River Winemaker's Dinner | 8 August
The Lula Inn
If local food is more your thing, then The Kumeu River Winemaker's Dinner is for you. Local food, local wine...and where better than at The Lula Inn—Auckland's own South Pacific eatery (and drinkery)? Boasting an open-plan design, bach-style furniture and harbour views, it’ll have you feeling as if you’re on an island getaway! Eat your way through Chef Sam Clark's regional Kiwi dishes as you wash them down with Kumeu River wines—one of our most esteemed wine producers hailing from West Auckland. On top of all that goodness, the event is hosted by Michael Brajkovich himself, Kumeu River's Master of Wine.
Italian Long Lunch | 12 August
For all you fans of Italian cuisine out there, boy have we got some good news for you! The time has finally come for the annual Italian Long Lunch at Vivace. Have a taste of la dolce vita, aka, 'the sweet life' as you fill your tummy with four courses of delicious Italian goodness, prosecco and, of course, lots and lots of perfectly paired wine. You are sure to be delighted by Chef Paolo Pancotti's creations and the lively, warm atmosphere of this Mediterranean-oriented restaurant. Buon appetito!
Food to Die For | 14—15 August
Are you a fan of Crime Investigation? Maybe you like puzzles? Clues? Hints? Strategy? If so, this one's for you. Award-winning Chef Des Harris is taking his modern plating to the next level for a one-off special. Food to Die For is a unique experience which is more than just a dinner—think theatre and intrigue. Partake in the solving of a mystery while working your way through a three-course menu with a drink in hand at Pilkingtons. Good luck!
Relish & Roam: A Britomart Progressive Dinner | 17 August
Oaken, Ostro, Amano, Miann
This one is equally good for experienced foodies and those of you that are new to the Auckland food scene alike—four esteemed restaurants have collaborated to bring you a tour of Britomart's best with this Progressive Dinner. Kick things off at Oaken with a cocktail and canape, before enjoying an entrée and wine match at Ostro. Follow up with a main and wine match at Amano, then, treat yourself to pudding and a hot bevvy at our favourite dessert spot—Miann. On top of all this, you will also get a Britomart breakfast gift pack, score!
Street Eats | 19 August
Street food is one of the best ways to experience ethnic cuisines. Thankfully, for those of us who can't afford the travel to exotic destinations, there is Street Eats—an event which brings together food from all corners of the world right to the centre of Auckland. Come out to Shed 10 for a day of food and drink exploration and an endless supply of entertainment. Transport yourself to a foreign world full of street art installations, cultural dance and live music. There is plenty of entertainment for both children and adults alike so bring the kids and make it a family day out!
Wine & Food Celebration 2017 | 19 August
New Zealand School of Food & Wine
If you're more of a practical hands-on kind of person, make sure you check out the annual Wine and Food Celebration from the New Zealand School of Food & Wine. There is a variety of events on offer—from cooking demonstrations to wine tasting and even food photography! Is cooking a passion of yours? Become part of a kitchen team at Chef for the Day where you will assist in creating gastronomic Lebanese dishes under the watchful eye of awarded Chef Samir Allen. Watch as our country's best Sommeliers showcase their knowledge and compete for the judges' favour in New Zealand Sommelier and Junior Sommelier of the Year competitions. Or, if you're an Instagram addict and love showcasing your food creations, then it’s time to really give your subscribers something to look at! Come along to #Foodography Dinner where you will create your own six-course menu and learn how to style and capture food imagery from top chefs and bloggers.
Theatre Of Life | 20 August
Auckland Art Gallery
Restaurant Month is not only about eating out. If you feel like a bit of downtime, check out Theatre of Life—a free film playing at the Auckland Art Gallery. This is an inspirational, heart-warming, feel-good story of the world's best chefs coming together and helping those in need. Filmed during the Milan 2015 World Fair, the film follows chef Massimo Bottura as he puts together a team of chefs and prepares food for Milanese refugees and homeless, using food wastage from the Expo as the ingredients. We promise you will leave the theatre feeling a little bit better about the world we live in and the people in it.
A Taste Of Great China | 23 August
Huami, a new addition to Auckland's expanding 'fusion' scene, is a Modern Chinese establishment hosting A Taste of Great China. A collaboration between two celebrated chefs: Nic Watt (Masu) and Jeff Tan, this is a five-course degustation with wine matching. The menu draws inspiration from the regional cuisine of Canton, Sichuan, Huaiyang and Beijing, and every course comes with a matched glass of wine. Relax in the calm, sophisticated atmosphere of a Chinese-inspired interior as your taste buds take a trip through China. Oh, and for those of you who like to observe the master at work, Huami features open kitchen seating!
Savour + Switch: A Britomart Progressive Dinner | 24 August
Fukuko, Mexico, Cafe Hanoi, Orleans
This is another tour of Britomart's finest, this time with an ethnic twist. Three courses. Four alcoholic beverages. Four cuisines—Japanese, Mexican, Modern North Vietnamese and Creole. Start the night at contemporary Japanese bar Fukuko where you will have a canape and cocktail. Fukuko are famous for their shochu-based cocktails so make sure you try one. Move to Mexico for an entree and another cocktail, then to Cafe Hanoi for the main course of North Vietnamese cuisine served with a wine match. Finish with dessert and a drink at classic soul joint Orleans, and call yourself a foreign cuisine expert!
Le French Festival - One Day in France | 26 August
Le French Festival is a one-day festival dedicated to all things French. One Day in France is the daytime half of this two-part event. Spend the day browsing through 35 different stalls dedicated to everything French: from food, to fashion, language lessons, music, film, wine and everything in-between...artisan stalls of pastry, cheese, chocolate, crepes, bread, jam, ice cream, coffee and more. This is the French Market taken to the next level.
Le French Festival - One Night in France | 26 August
One Night in France is the second part of Le French Festival. As the market comes to an end, a giant feast begins. Chefs from Le Chef, Touquet and L'Atelier du Fromage & Little French Pastry have combined their knowledge to create a delicious four-course menu representing the best of France. In a very French manner, one of the courses will focus entirely on cheese. Enjoy a glass of Veuve du Vernay as you settle into one of three communal tables of 150 people and make new friends with like-minded lovers of France.
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Image Credit: Jeremy Toth