We check out an inner-city dining destination committed to a healthy fast food experience.
Our city’s newest gastronomic offering was born, quite literally in the back of a truck. A product of the popular Food Truck TV series that followed Chef Michael Van de Elzen’s quest to reinvent fast food, the Food Truck Garage showcases Van de Elzen’s favourite dishes, as he deconstructs and reinvents fast food, making it healthy, fresh and affordable. No doubt this notion will lure in health conscious foodies from around Auckland, who struggle to keep their indulgences in check.
Nestled among the concrete jungle that is City Works, The Food Truck Garage is largely industrial in décor, boasting an airy and bright main dining area thanks to an impressive glass and steel retractable garage door, which opens up the space into the City Works central courtyard. A collection of high bar tables, larger tables for more boisterous company and intimate corner tables comprise the space, while outside next to the iconic 1970s Bedford Food Truck sit shared picnic tables and a few brightly painted steel drums where feijoa, passionfruit, chilli, blueberries and an array of herbs are on hand for use in the eatery’s dishes.
While there are several smaller plates designed to quell any minor hunger pangs, including 13 spice chicken arms and prawn tacos, we were famished and as such went straight to the hotdog and burger menu. It was difficult to choose which hotdog to devour but we couldn’t look past the classic flavours of the ‘papple dog’; a delicious pork, star anise and apple sausage, generously topped with pickled fennel and watercress. Other options include the ‘cheek dog’ which is served with chicken, leek and spinach topped with tomato salsa, while the ‘paua dog’ is a pickled pork and paua sausage topped with horseradish and avocado salsa. Craving a burger, we were eager to try Elzen’s patties, as every patty is made with at least 50% vegetables and all are grilled to order. We chose the ‘chickette’; a beautifully tender chicken and courgette patty, topped with crisp lettuce, sprouts, an eggplant puree and tatziki sauce.
In check with serving healthier fast food fare, Food Truck Garage can proudly proclaim that they don’t use a deep fryer. Yes that’s right, their thick-cut, skin-on agria potato chips are triple cooked with nay a deep fryer in sight. Initially steamed, they are then placed in a hot oven for 5 minutes before one last roast in a 300 degree oven to finish off the cooking process.
To quench the thirst there is local brew Hallertau available on tap, however given our lunch time visit, we washed down our hearty meals with home made honey lemonade and lavender cola. All sodas (the term fizzy drink doesn’t give these thirst quenchers the merit they deserve) are made in house and are naturally sweetened with agave nectar.
The City Works Depot is truly alive and humming with this latest addition, and judging by the hoards of hungry patrons stopping in for a bite it’s well on its way to becoming a top inner-city destination for those wanting to indulge without the guilt of the grease.
Food Truck Garage
City Works Depot
90 Wellesley Street
(09) 973 2305