Chop Chop

Killer ramen noodles, a Mai Tai worth sinning for and a little Kung Fu Hustle will make this eatery your new favourite place.

The newest instalment in Ponsonby Central reaffirms that magic really can happen when east meets west.

It’s name is Chop Chop; a hole-in-the-wall noodle bar in Auckland’s Ponsonby Central, created as an extension of popular street front restaurant, The Blue Breeze Inn. Renowned restaurateur Mark Wallbank and Head Chef Che Barrington have hit the nail on the head with this one, once again mastering the art of fun urban dining.

At first glance, Chop Chop looks a bit like a Tiki hut made from cut branches (which we’re told are Manuka), channelling the look and feel of an urban food shack crossed with an island beach bar, with kitchen and bar combined into one. The influence of karate pop culture reigns supreme here, with everything from Super Cobra Kai Karate Kid references to a menu that reads like a martial arts movie list; quirky menu titles luring diners in to find out more. Sturdy wooden bar stools are positioned left, right and center and come nighttime, the space is soaked in a subtle neon glow from the playful Chop Chop sign and hanging basket lights that flicker overhead.

Designed to cater to patrons who crave a quick and tasty meal, the menu reads fuss free, with a focus on a variety of steaming bowls of soup noodles, some of the more popular Blue Breeze Inn classics such as the steamed pork buns and more. We were coaxed into trying the fish of the day; which features thick fish fillets artfully entombed in a crunchy hut of udon noodles, served with an infused ginger and soy kimchi and prepared to perfection. If you’re feeling ravenous, the Cobra Kai Super Mega Ramen noodle bowl is the dish to order – jam packed with all sorts of Asian delights including pork belly, bacon and crispy fried chicken.

On the drinks front, the team here has navigated away from the conventional cocktail playbook. Wherever possible, ingredients are made in house, such as the homemade white coca-cola, freeze dried mandarins, and coconut cream dust. The bourbon based cocktails are set to be a staple, with the sort of pulling power usually reserved for less polarising liquors. But let it be known, the old classics are ever present, albeit in a more juiced up format, and the star renegade amongst them is the Mai Tai. Made with Mount Gay black barrel rum, cointreau, a fantail slice of fresh pineapple and lime, house-made orgeat and grenadine, these beauties would give any respectable Hawaiian original a run for its money.

Think of it as Blue Breeze’s savvy little brother, and get in quick – this hideaway looks set to be the casual crowd’s favourite new haunt. Bottoms up, boys.

Chop Chop is open from 12pm until late.

Chop Chop

Ponsonby Central
140 Ponsonby Rd

(09) 360 0708

www.ponsonbychopchop.co.nz

Gastronomy


From perfect pasta to mouthwatering mezze, these are the best comfort food takeaways to order right now

This new Miann opening is bringing the sweet life to Ponsonby Central

Treat yourself to a Powersurge online shop, and receive a generous restaurant voucher for paying it forward

Melie’s Kitchen

Melie's Kitchen is one perfect reason to celebrate.

It’s not everyday you stumble across a budding baking impresario with such flair for whipping up sweet treats. So it goes without saying, we couldn’t help but sit up, salivate and take note of the newest caker on the block, Amelia Ferrier of Melie’s Kitchen.

Undoubtedly a born and bred baker from a young age, Amelia fell in love with the craft after receiving British chef Annabel Karmel’s Children’s Cookbook on her seventh birthday, subsequently sifting, basting and glazing her way through it and well beyond.

Boasting a backlog of recipes and a contemporary culinary know-how to be admired, Melie’s Kitchen is already making an impression amongst family and friends, sparking more sweet toothed followers on Instagram with every new post. So much so that Amelia has recently begun taking custom cakes orders and customers can browse her newly refined spring menu on her blog, which reads like something straight out of a fairytale. Rosewater and pistachio sponge cake with white chocolate cream cheese icing, topped with rose petals and freeze dried raspberries – need we say more?

Amidst a flurry of diversely varied options on offer for all sorts of celebrations, the banoffee and hazelnut cake is one of her staples. Jazzing up the conventional banana cake, Amelia has added a moreish caramel filling, cream cheese icing, dark chocolate ganache, crumbled pie crust and hazelnuts, artfully decorated with fresh flowers and finished with gold cachou. It’s impressive to say the least. Alongside the conventional cake varieties, Amelia is whipping up everything from Earl Grey spiced mini bundt cakes to vanilla and cinnamon leche frita Julia Child would be proud of – and at 15 years of age, she’s only just begun.

To place an order, contact Amelia via email here.

Melie's Kitchen

021 0220 5750

www.meliethebaker.blogspot.co.nz

Gastronomy


From perfect pasta to mouthwatering mezze, these are the best comfort food takeaways to order right now

This new Miann opening is bringing the sweet life to Ponsonby Central

Treat yourself to a Powersurge online shop, and receive a generous restaurant voucher for paying it forward

Charlie’s Gelato Garden

This exceptional scoop shop is in charge of cooling summer day-trippers.

Gelato is without a doubt the most beloved of hot weather foods, equal parts playful, satisfying and indulgent. So when you chance upon a seriously good purveyor of the stuff, one that’s worthy of a solid detour or specific trip, it’s only fair to share.

Charlie’s Gelato Garden is a brief 50-minute journey north of Auckland, just a few minutes from busy Matakana and the nearby east coast beaches. It’s by no means a secret, with a loyal population of locals and beach house owners stopping in for a mandatory scoop or three on weekends, and the queue is reputed to curl out the door and into the surrounding courtyard. However, the staff dish out refreshingly slick service alongside sweet gelato, so impatient car loads of flustered kids, or conversely adults, can be catered for with relative haste. Once you’ve secured the necessary number of scoops, you need only find a spot to sit in the shady courtyard – not a sticky vehicle interior in sight.

There are a ludicrous number of flavours, ranging from delicious takes on old classics, sorbets (elderflower and boysenberry is standout) as well as more adventurous concoctions including strawberry meringue and ginger beer. Unlike other faux-gelato makers, the flavours are truly on par. The banana gelato tastes exactly like its real-life counterpart, and when paired with a scoop of dark chocolate, it has an almost uncanny resemblance to freshly made banana cake. Better than any you’ve had the luck to try, in fact.

One successful visit to Charlie’s will confirm that these Matakana locals are doing their bit to better gelato, in all of its varying forms.

Charlies Gelato Garden

17 Sharp Rd
Matakana

(09) 422 7942

www.charliesgelato.co.nz

Gastronomy


From perfect pasta to mouthwatering mezze, these are the best comfort food takeaways to order right now

This new Miann opening is bringing the sweet life to Ponsonby Central

Treat yourself to a Powersurge online shop, and receive a generous restaurant voucher for paying it forward