Moët & Chandon’s annual Must Be Moët party has become a hotly anticipated fixture of the festive season, seeing a glamorous crowd congregate in the name of toasting to a series of game-changing individuals. Last night’s event unfolded at The Loft within the central city’s Q Theatre where a dress code of ‘red carpet glamour’ saw those in a attendance put a glittering foot forward.
As well as raising their glasses to the five Moët Vanguards — female empowerment leader and the founder of OKREAL Amy Fraser, CEO and co-founder of Unfiltered Jake Miller, Holly Marbeck of jewellery brand MARS, Paris Opera Ballet soloist Hannah O’Neill and 25 year old, serial tech entrepreneur Ezel Kokcu — guests were treated to various Moët Moments. Unexpected elements were delivered throughout the evening via a modern string quartet, a live performance by Kiwi favourites Jupiter Project, ballerinas in black tutus, and an iconic champagne tower.
Tucked away down a characterful alleyway in the newly developed Morningside Precinct is where you will find Bo Feng, dumpling maker extraordinaire, serving up the goods from his hole-in-the-wall premises, Bo’s Dumpling. Feng is also the culinary talent behind K Road’s Top Cafe Dumpling House, where he also proceeds to ply parcel-hungry punters with the delicious morsels he was taught by his mother to make.
The succinct menu comprises six different types of dumplings (we tried the vegan and ‘pork chive egg prawn’ variety and they were both delish) as well as a medley of ‘cold sides’. Suffice to say we were all over the smashed cucumber salad. There’s also a spicy beef dish we weren’t familiar with but would wholly recommend; slow-cooked beef is diced into small pieces and mixed into a medley of fresh herbs and tangy, spicy sauce — just the ticket for a steamy spring day.
With swift, easy service and a menu whereby you can do no wrong, Feng’s decision to expand his horizons with the new pitstop is a no-brainer. Having been open for just over a week, we’re quite certain that Morningside locals and nearby workers will be revelling in this new destination for a quality dumpling fix.
Timeless and classic with an unequivocal sense of luxury, it’s easy to see why a touch of velvet is a highly sought-after addition to one’s interior. And what better way to implement it than with a plush velvet sofa. Dripping in old-school glamour, the Ferdinand sofa, currently available from Sarsfield Brooke, serves as the pièce de résistance, the focal point of any room.
The aesthetically pleasing asset, crafted by Opera Contemporary of Italy, goes beyond just looks. Put the beauty to one side and you’ll find that the humble velvet couch is also comfortable beyond measure. In fact, there’s nowhere we’d rather whittle away our evenings, curled up against its comforting fibres with a gripping novel in hand. Decked out in champagne-tinted velvet, it remains attention-grabbing but not garish, while the small features like the polished metal legs (available in either brass, burnished metal or chrome) keep it distinctly contemporary.
At once practical and prepossessing, the velvet centrepiece draws the eye with its opulent visual and lures in unsuspecting passers-by with its unique upholstery — daring them to become enveloped in its comfort. Serving as an on-trend piece not only now but for years to come, it’s unsurprising why the Ferdinand Sofa is firmly on our Christmas wish list.
The Ferdinand sofa is available in a wide range of factory fabrics or leathers.
For generations of Kiwis, the family bach has always been a safe haven. A place of rest and respite from the grind of daily life — the ultimate way to escape without having to head overseas. But while a holiday home can provide lifelong memories, it doesn’t automatically deem it a sound investment when considering how to park your savings. Widely renowned as experts in the field, Graham Wall Real Estate has sold some of this country’s most exclusive and unique properties and is the undisputed authority on the art of purchasing the perfect holiday home.
With an eye-watering track record and impressive, collective knowledge of the New Zealand market, Graham Wall Real Estate is also an entirely family-run operation. The three-man team, comprising Graham and his two sons, Andrew and Ollie, have naturally made the idea of family central to their business ethos. Being in this unique position means they operate with a deeper understanding and empathy towards what clients and their families need, and when it comes to buying a bach, this is a crucial point of difference. “A holiday home is a completely different type of purchase to a primary home,” Graham explains, citing the process as much more personal. “It’s somewhere you get to spend some of the best moments of your life” he continues, “but ideally a place that still delivers a healthy capital gain if you ever decide to move on.” According to Ollie, it’s all about location. So just where are the best places to consider purchasing a holiday home?
Matakana This “brilliant destination is experiencing tremendous growth both economically and socially” says Andrew, enthusiastically championing this small township north of Auckland. Long admired for its natural beauty and proximity to beaches like Omaha and Tawharanui, Matakana is becoming, according to Andrew, a veritable “cultural hub, with incredible markets, the best cinema [and] great restaurants and bars” all just an hour’s drive from the city. With a landscape that lends itself to a variety of properties, if beachfront isn’t for you, opt for something more rural, secluded and tranquil. In terms of growth, Andrew explains that sale prices in the area are up 79 percent from five years ago and projects like Bishops Hill “that’s seen farmlands transformed into beautiful estates”, are really adding massive appeal to the area. And as destinations like Brick Bay and the Sculptureum add to the “great wine, food and art offering.” Andrew has also noted that more people are considering permanent residences in the area. “It’s a magical part of the world, and the commute to Auckland is a breeze.”
Bay of Islands With sprawling azure waters and a climate that’s commonly referred to as the ‘winter-less north,’ the Bay of Islands is, as Ollie puts it “truly one of the world’s last unspoilt paradises.” Located a three-hour drive north of Auckland and encompassing 144 islands between Cape Brett and the Purerua Peninsula, the area is also home to the boutique towns of Opua, Paihia, Russell and Kerikeri. Ollie sees that the appeal of the region has “a lot to do with its tranquillity and peacefulness” and that he doesn’t see this changing anytime soon. Furthermore, the Omarino development is very appealing. With sites on either private beaches or a headland, it offers luxury and privacy in equal measure. Ollie recently introduced a businessman from Finland to the Bay of Islands, and as they looked out over the bay, the visitor turned to him and said, “if I had to spend the rest of my life in one place, this is where I would choose.”
Coromandel The white sandy beaches that stretch the length of the Coromandel Peninsula have long provided Aucklanders with a weekend destination that’s conveniently close to the city, yet breathtakingly worlds away. According to Ollie, this area is a veritable “rite of passage for kiwi families” where the “generational baches don’t change hands regularly and as such, are not likely to ever fall in value.” Citing a recent sale in Whangapoua as an example of the perfect Coromandel property, Ollie explains that the fact that it was “right on the beach, was well planted for privacy, [had] easy open living where you didn’t feel bad about bringing sandy feet inside, had separate guest accommodation and a sheltered outdoor area”, ticked all the boxes for desirability. “The Coromandel’s consistent rise in property value (44 percent over the last five years), makes it a rock-solid place to invest your hard-earned money,” Ollie explains, “with less populated beaches like Tairua and Cooks Beach likely to see the biggest growth in the immediate future.”
Waiheke Island “Waiheke continues to hold massive appeal, and for very good reason,” Graham waxes lyrical about the vast and varied potential of the Gulf’s most beloved island, that’s a mere 40-minute ferry ride from downtown Auckland. Renowned for its numerous vineyards where people from all over the world come to experience some of the finest viticulture this country has to offer, not to mention the exquisite beaches, astonishing vistas and, what Graham calls its “sustainable approach to development.” Graham explains that “prices have more than doubled on Waiheke over the last five years. Little cottages on Palm Beach that were once in the $1 million price bracket are now selling for in excess of $8 million” a substantial hike that shows how sought-after property is on this small slice of paradise. “For my money,” Graham discloses, “the best investment you could make in New Zealand is on Waiheke.”
The saying, ‘it’s 5 o’clock somewhere’ — an arbitrary excuse to stop and have a drink — takes on new meaning in the lead up to summer. With the excellent weather and light-filled evenings comes a no-justification-necessary attitude; our palates beg to be wetted over a catch up with friends, workmates, or, for festive celebrations. So we took it upon ourselves to embark on some decidedly tough research, and honed in on SKYCITY’s best spots to indulge.
Artisan creations with a view at The Sugar Club There is the perception that The Sugar Club is strictly a sit-down dinner kind of destination, but when it’s bandied about as being ‘Auckland’s highest bar’, you would be remiss to forego such an epic sundowner session. With no lift pass necessary, you can shoot up to the 53rd floor of the tower where the new bar space has been upgraded to facilitate up to 40 people. On a beautiful night, it’s hard to tear your eyes away from the view long enough to peruse the cocktail list. Settling for a few refreshing spritzers, we recommend ordering a plate of snacks on the side — signature creations from the eatery’s new Executive Chef, Josh Barlow.
Tapas and sangria at Bellota With its clientele habitually spilling out onto the pavement, Bellota embodies the European way of life by virtue of its casual, largely outdoor setup (never mind its award-winning tapas). Here, Peter Gordon’s ethos is to bring the best of Spanish food to this bustling street in central Auckland, something they will no doubt achieve with their seasonal ‘seafood and spritz’ menu — an offering that is said to harness Iberian flavours using local ingredients. For now, we choose a few glasses of Estrella and sangria (when in Rome) alongside a medley of delicious snacks like goats cheese balls, patatas bravas, and said award-winning tapas. As we devour each morsel in the al fresco surroundings, an animated crowd revels around the habitual live musicians who can be heard down Federal Street. It doesn’t take much to understand why Bellota is considered an excellent New Year’s Eve spot too.
Pre-show aperitivo at Gusto at The Grand The Italian concept of food bringing people together is alive and well at Gusto, which boasts indisputably the best-known aperitivo in town. Every Monday to Friday from 5pm, professionals, hotel guests, and the general public descend upon the hotel’s lobby for Aperitivo Hour. Patrons enjoy complimentary bar snacks — a long-standing Italian custom — and quench their thirst with a draft Peroni or Gusto’s version of a spritz. The latter combines Campari with peach schnapps, orange juice and prosecco over ice. We order one of each before assorting a medley of arancini and bruschetta and nestling into the newly extended bar area. It’s the perfect spot to rendezvous before dinner or going to a show.
Contemporary cocktailsat Huami With its separate bar area, one wall of which retracts to open out over Federal street, Huami is the perfect place to stop in for a carefully concocted classic cocktail while watching the foot traffic go by. With as many gin varieties to be found on the bar-back as there are whiskies — bar manager Matt Woodyear-Smith says he wholly encourages experimentation — the drinks list is long and varied. The delicious rum-infused ‘Floxtail’ is a work of art in itself, with its signature edible printed garnish inspired by the local artist whose work adorns the restaurant’s walls.
Sensory sensationsat MASU by Nic Watt To cross the threshold marked by the outdoor robata grill, is to enter into MASU’s ambient Japanese surroundings. Once seated at the bar, we ordered several exotic libations from bar manager Akira Ohki. The incredible Raikou cocktail, crafted from spiced 94 Seedlip, pineapple, lime, peach and houjicha foam (a type of green tea extract), arrives on a small wooden platform spilling with vapour — dramatic and delicious — while another, the Ikebana, is a beloved house cocktail brimming with fresh flowers. Finally, the Kou-Gyouku, meaning red treasure/ball, arrives containing a lively mix of vodka and tamarillo garnished with a cream cheese tamarillo. The craftsmanship that goes into each drink is certainly not reflected in the short wait-time each takes to arrive. If you’re after a showstopping creation, you can be sure to find it here.
Forever our go-to for everything happening in the wellness world, this time we’re questioning Kim Wessels, head naturopath at Huckleberry, about our body’s pH levels and how we should be looking after them.
What is the ideal pH level our bodies should be? Our ideal pH is slightly alkaline (Above 7 on the pH scale) and sits between 7.3-7.45, rising and falling slightly throughout the day.
What is alkalinization? It’s really the process of establishing alkalinity by way of homeostasis – our body is naturally programmed to correct any states of disease or imbalance in pH, and for the most part, it does this every hour of every day.
How often should we be testing our pH levels? If you have decided to have a more acid/alkaline diet, you can test daily or 2-3 times per week to monitor your progress, although testing 3-4 times per day may be required for those with particular health issues. Testing at the same time each day provides more consistent results, while some studies suggest also that you test 2 hours after meals and to be aware that your pH can be more acidic first thing in the morning.
How do we test our pH levels? pH test strips are readily available at health food stores and they allow you to test either saliva or urine.
Why do we need to be more alkaline? There are many factors that can disrupt our pH and push it down. Exposure to stress, unhealthy diet, poor oxygen levels and sleep, ill health and dysfunctional detoxification are a few factors than can topple this balance causing excessive acidity in our body fluids and tissues – commonly called acidosis.
What are the negative effects of an unbalanced pH level in the body? An imbalance in pH equals an unbalanced you – your body will attempt to right the imbalance and use up the nutrients you need most to maintain a good pH. Lowered nutrient levels can impact mood, energy levels, immunity, digestion, detoxification, organ function and so much more that happens behind the scenes. That’s why it’s important to avoid prolonged states of acidosis, or the less common alkalosis. The key is the balance.
How can we reduce the acidity in our bodies? Many factors affect pH but this can be minimised and realigned by such things as getting sufficient sleep, eating well and staying healthy and minimising exposure to pollutions like radiation, electromagnetic frequencies, chemical, noise and air. Doing daily meditation and breathing exercises definitely help, as does getting daily exercise — but be sure not to overdo it.
What is an alkaline diet? An alkaline diet consists primarily of alkaline foods, and those who wish to try it should be eating meals and snacks that are an 80:20 ratio of alkaline to acid. If you need somewhere to start, look at what foods you eat now that are acidic and commit to halving your intake of a key one — it might be sugar, coffee or processed foods.
Even if you’re not the biggest hip-hop fan, it pays to verse yourself with some trivia ahead of the legendary collective’s visit to our shores this December.
Once, there were nine Contrary to popular belief, the East Coast rap clan, which was established in 1992, had nine founding members, not 10. They were RZA, GZA, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Method Man, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah, Inspectah Deck, U-God and Masta Killa. Longtime collaborator Cappadonna only became an official member in 2007.
Hidden meanings The kung-fu-obsessed band’s name was adopted from the 1983 Hong Kong martial arts film Shaolin and Wu Tang but the rappers also developed several backronyms, including ‘We Usually Take All N**gas’ Garments’, ‘Witty Unpredictable Talent And Natural Game’, and ‘Wisdom of the Universe, and the Truth of Allah for the Nation of the Gods’.
First time’s a charm, eventually While their first ever album Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) is still widely regarded as one of the greatest hip-hop editions of all time, cementing them as an influential force in defining 90s hip-hop, it was something of a slow-burner, taking two years from its original release date to finally crawl to platinum status in 1995.
Other known affiliates Wu-Tang’s hundreds of collaborators are known as the Wu-Tang Killa Bees, and their affiliation with the group varies from person to person. Acclaimed rapper Nas was the first non-Wu-Tang affiliated MC to appear on an album. In 1998, a compilation called Killa Bees: The Swarm showcased tracks from these Wu-affiliated artists.
Famous phrases Slang has long been a staple of the clan’s music, wherein members would blend Five Percenter terms, Kung Fu/oriental words, and comic book and street terms to create their own lexicon. They christened Staten Island as “Shaolin Land” and money as “C.R.E.A.M.”) to name a few.
Modern-day impact Both Jay-Z and Kanye West are just some of the big-name artists who cite the Wu-Tang Clan as having deeply influenced their music through the use of soul samples and street language.
Big Screen Ambitions Original clan member, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, aka ODB, became infamous for his erratic behaviour which included famously picking up a welfare cheque in a limousine, rushing to the during the 1998 Grammy Awards to protest Wu-Tang’s loss to Puff Daddy, and becoming a fugitive after fleeing from a court-ordered rehab clinic, resurfacing one month later to perform at a Wu-Tang album launch party. ODB died on 13th November 2004 from a drug overdose. A biopic about his life is currently in production at Sony’s Colombia Pictures with Wu-Tang leader RZA pegged as the producer. As of yet, there is no release date.
Wu-Tang Clan will be playing at The Trusts Arena on 14th December. Purchase tickets here.
As though aware of the fact that Waiheke needed more quality, laid-back restaurants, new Onetangi eatery 372 has joined the beachfront ranks of Charlie Farley‘s to offer something other than the sometimes exhausted vineyard experience. Boasting a superb sea view and unparalleled proximity to the beach, the newly renovated restaurant is taking casual dining up a notch while remaining thoroughly unpretentious.
Run by a couple who can fairly be called locals, Luke and Helen Carter were, in fact, the hospo duo who originally set up their neighbouring stalwart (Charlie’s). After selling the business and spending some time working elsewhere, they returned to a spot next door which was run for some years as a wedding and functions venue. When the opportunity arose to renovate, the pair was finally able to create the eatery they had been envisioning for quite some time; floors were levelled and the whole place was essentially rebuilt to create a fresh, breezy environment you might sooner expect to find in a resort town or tropical island.
Separated into several different areas, Auckland design firm Ctrl Space has overseen the fit-out which features plenty of booth seating, indoors and out, pale wood furnishings in the main dining room, and a more relaxed back courtyard which facilitates a few welcome pops of colour. Depending on the weather, parties can settle on the expansive front deck overlooking the beach, if not indoors, around the U-shaped central bar, or within the inviting, sheltered patio which has a kitchen of its own.
The menu subscribes to gratifying, by-the-beach food with an elevated twist. The chef, Bronwen Laight (formerly of Te Motu), has conceived an enticing array of dishes which are mostly gluten free for want of being slightly lighter and healthier. The deep fried cabbage, for example, is a slightly naughty bite that feels less so because Laight has used chickpea flour for the batter and you’re technically devouring a leafy green. The ‘tapenade’ on crackers feels wholesome as you make your way through the vibrant flavours of olives, capers and cashew nut cheese before biting into an almost cracker-like bed of polenta.
Divided into ‘All Day’ (think artisan cheese and ham toasties, chicken liver pâte and buttermilk fried chicken) and ‘Lunch & Dinner’ (from 12-3pm and 6-9pm respectively) the menus cover all the bases with a panoply of veggie dishes and sophisticated yet approachable mains. We could go on, but the point is the food is at once wholesome and delicious.
It wasn’t until we enquired about it that 372’s nomenclature became clear. The three digits combine to form the prefix that makes up all 10,000 of Waiheke’s quota of telephone landlines, meaning the restaurant pays subtle homage to the locals who Helen explains are critical to the business. Other ‘Waihetian’ nods include the use of Island Coffee and everything from the light-fittings in the restaurant through to the soaps in the bathroom.
With a stellar setup and some serious gastronomic clout to work with, we can fairly say that 372 is adding the right kind of dynamic to Waiheke’s (and Onetangi’s) already superb line-up.
Recently opening its doors as one of Auckland’s most distinctive, luxury hotels, SO/ Hotel is fast establishing itself as the place to be in the CBD. With a strong focus on design — WORLD was brought on board to lend its unique sensibility to the finer details such as staff uniforms, while the interiors were finished by Space Studio — the hotel is endeavouring to challenge convention and promote individuality. Rising up in the space formerly occupied by the Reserve Bank, the building towers above its surrounds to offer sweeping, panoramic views of the Waitemata Harbour — a tableau best experienced from the hotel’s new restaurant, Harbour Society.
Located on the 15th floor, Harbour Society immediately welcomes you into its warm dining room, where large windows frame views over the Downtown rooftops and across to Rangitoto. The natural light augments the space’s gold accents, which glisten between the Moooi furniture and lighting installations (from ECC). Two private rooms, one for up to 22 people, the other for up to eight, provide the perfect spaces for those extra special occasions, while the rest of the dining area is open and inclusive — we’re even offered a glimpse at the kitchen staff as they plate up.
But a large part of what sets Harbour Society apart, is its Head Chef, Marc de Passorio. Recently moving to New Zealand from France where he owned the Michelin-starred L’Esprit de la Violette, de Passorio has a passion for New Zealand’s clean environment and natural produce, which has led to his creating a menu that is distinctly fresh and strictly seasonal. “Nature is alive, I want my kitchen to be the same,” he tells me, explaining how every dish is subject to change according to the produce in season. This approach sees vibrant fruits and vegetables used generously and expertly throughout the menu, which is a fresh, European affair featuring New Zealand seafood, hearty game and poised desserts.
One of de Passorio’s signatures, the lobster (a dish he said he first cooked for a certain, prominent Russian leader) sees the crustacean cooked in vodka (which he mentioned he may switch for New Zealand gin) in order to imbue the meat with hints of vanilla. Another dish features octopus prepared in water that has had a cork added to it, an old trick the chef learnt from his great-grandfather, and apparently, a way to ensure a perfect result, every time. With other dishes like the skillfully poached duck breast surrounded by an artistic melange of vegetables and mushroom ravioli, and desserts like the Bailey’s parfait with brownie and grue de cacao, the menu finds a nice balance between fine-dining and accessible fare, sitting in a happy medium that will draw punters for every occasion from date nights to work lunches to meals where there’s really something to celebrate.
That in mind, the hotel’s impressive bar HI-SO, can be accessed directly from the restaurant via an atmospheric, dimly lit staircase that leads up to the next level. With views to rival those downstairs and booths that are available to book for a night, it’s a set-up that lends itself well to an evening of impressive food and indulgent drinks, without really having to move anywhere at all.
It might not have its sights set on becoming Ponsonby’s ‘rowdiest’ bar, but Est. 1901 is certainly delivering a dose of historic charm to the suburb’s main drag. Assuming the prominent spot at 224 Ponsonby Road (right next to Prego) which was formerly tenanted by a butchery for over 70 years, the newly minted watering hole will be opening its doors this weekend.
When the meat purveyor closed up shop for good early last year, the building’s proprietors took pause before coming up with the bright idea to transform the space into a version of its original self; a Victorian-era shop, parlour, and washhouse. The result is something of an embellished time capsule where turn-of-the-century furniture and art create an old-timer atmosphere in which to enjoy cocktails and drinks.
A remnant of a brick wall situated behind the bar is a vestige of the building’s former façade and various original features harken back to the time of Queen Vicky. The drinks menu is a history lesson unto itself, with concoctions like the ‘Miss Irvine’ paying homage to the building’s very first resident and the ‘Captain Dedwood’ serving as a nod to Ponsonby’s onetime name (‘Dedwood’).
With a number of intriguing features throughout the multi-room bar and a plum position on Ponsonby Road, we’ll be watching with interest to see how locals take to this unique new addition to Ponsonby’s bar scene.
Opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, 3pm till midnight.