19 April 2011
my city: auckland by murry sweetpants
The DJ extraordinaire knows a thing or two about what’s happening in his town Auckland.
As the morning host of The Long Black on the burgeoning radio station, Ponsonby Radio, and renowned go-to DJ for any party worth attending, Murry Sweetpants knows a thing or two about living the good life. He is an obvious choice to take us on a tour of his city, Auckland.
La Petit Village, this place is a treasure trove of amazing bits of furniture, housewares, toys and beautiful old things that I only wish I had the space to accommodate in my home – it’s run by a French man who also happens to own a 747 flight simulator as well. Every few months another motherlode of magic appears in the showroom, not only are the contents desirable – they are priced well within reach. (376 Great North Road, Auckland)
The Grove, Michael & Annette Dearth are my favourite Americans, they moved to NZ from San Fran a fair few years ago, and have not only created one of the best restaurants in town, they’ve created a beaut little NZ family too – and we’ve been good friends over the last few years. The Grove seems to be a spawning ground for legendary chefs – as both Michael Meredith & Sid Sarawat spent time in the kitchen there. I only hope current chef Ben Bayly goes nowhere in a hurry. Whether you go a la carte or take the degustation route, make sure you try the roquefort icecream. (Saint Patrick’s Square, Wyndham Street, Auckland)
Der Metz, at the other end of the culinary scale, is ‘Der Metz’ German Resataurant in Kohi. The Schnitzel is bigger than your head, and the German Beer on Tap comes in Steins bigger than the Schnitzel. We have a Christmas tradition to enjoy a ‘festivus dinner’ on December 23rd each year here, and it’s kind of a ‘guilty pleasure’ as you know that large quantities of meat, served with a token side of sauerkraut & fries are not something you’re supposed to indulge in these days…(5-11 Averill Avenue, Kohimarama, Auckland)
Poderi Crisci Vineyard, if you find yourself on Waiheke Island any given weekend, make sure you make the effort to get out to Awaawaroa Bay, to the vineyard restaurant of Poderi Crisci, run by the man behind NSP in Parnell, Antonio Crisci. Their Sunday lunch is really an experience, allow around 3 hours, be there by 12.30pm to start and have a very light breakfast. Antonio himself is in the kitchen, which I think is awesome, as he could easily be in his house on the hill overlooking his kingdom with the Sunday papers. Last time we went, as I was paying, I was thinking to myself, when can I get over here again next? It would be a good idea to book in advance, and order the bottle of Merlot, just a glass won’t be enough. (205 Awaawaroa Road, Awaawaroa Bay, Waiheke Island)
Conch Records, starting out as a stall in a market, then spending a few years in a tiny space just off High St, it’s great to see Cian, Dustin & the gang has really found themselves a good solid home up on Ponsonby Rd. Part cafe, part record store, part hang out joint, it’s easy to waste hours browsing through a selection of records you’ll find nowhere else, or just talkin’ shite with one of the many crew loitering out front with a coffee. Ask any international DJ in town, they’ll tell you that Conch is one of the best record shops in the world. (115A Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby, Auckland)
World, speaking of World, and people in my neighbourhood, I must make mention of the crew at World on the corner of Ponsonby & Picton. Francis Hooper is the only man who could have convinced me it’s more than okay to wear a bow tie. Mel who runs the Ponsonby shop dresses my wife in the right thing, every time, much to the dismay of my credit card. And, I love that both my wife & I have found ‘our label’ and have become part of the World family. And they do treat you like family. (97 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby, Auckland)
One more thing in the Ponsonby hood is Il Forno, not the prettiest, but definitely the best bakery in town. Situated on Mackelvie St, just behind the Mini Garage, you should pop in and have the gnocchi for lunch, or take home a loaf of porridge rye – you won’t regret it.
The Brooklyn Apartments were built in the late 1920′s and rumor has it that there is the exact same building located in Brooklyn NYC – they used the same plans. My wife & I lived here in a caravan-sized apartment for nearly four years, intending only on staying for about six months until we found something bigger… now years later we still have friends in the building and every time I drive by looking for a park, I wish we were still there. I’ve heard stories about Hells Angels squatting in the basement back in the day and certain famous “dudes” scaling drainpipes to make a quick exit from an apartment they weren’t supposed to be in. From the entrance to the hallways, it’s just a beautiful thing to look at, and I’m glad to have been a small part of its history. (Emily Place, Auckland)
Italian Film Festival, each October this festival serves as an escape to a place I’d rather be… (not that Auckland is that bad, but still…) 2011 will be its 15th year, and for three weeks I get a leave pass from the family and get to sit in the dark reminiscing about holidays in Como, Rome and the Italian Riviera. The man behind the festival, Tony Lambert, has arguably one of the best jobs in the world, sourcing old & new Italian cinema and then touring it around the country. It’s become an increasingly difficult job over the last few years what with the economic climate and sponsorship, but in my eyes, it’s an awful lot cheaper than spending three weeks in Italy every year. (Rialto Cinemas, 167 Broadway, Newmarket, Auckland)