Simon O'Neill

Spend an evening celebrating operatic talent at this unmissable cultural event

Despite our size and population, New Zealand carries in its ranks some serious talent — part of the reason why we regularly punch above our weight. From up-and-coming sports people to burgeoning stars of the big screen, there is a vast and varied pool of talent to be tapped into in this country, but it’s the budding operatic voices that Circle100 has dedicated over 20 years to supporting, and thanks to the organisation’s upcoming event, you can too.

Set to be the ultimate occasion for anyone with an interest in opera, or even the arts more generally, Circle100 will host the Director of New York’s Metropolitan Opera Young Artist Programme, Sophie Joyce, for its winter event, at which young New Zealand opera singers — the candidates for Circle100’s 2019 scholarship will perform in a masterclass directed by celebrated international opera singers, Simon O’Neill and Iain Paterson (who will also be singing a duet).

Sophie Joyce, Iain Paterson

The evening, taking place on 7th July at The Northern Club will offer a fascinating insight into the world of international opera, with Sophie Joyce set to speak on what it takes to have a successful career in the industry. Attendees will also witness the announcement of the winners of the Circle100 awards, including the Circle100 Scholarship (worth up to $20,000), Travel Awards (that help young opera singers explore their study options for the following year) and the Patrons Award (one singer will be chosen to perform in recital with O’Neill and Paterson, for a professional fee).

So whether you consider yourself an avid opera fan, or simply someone with an appreciation for the arts and a desire to see New Zealand’s up-and-coming talent make it on the world stage, this event will prove an enthralling and culturally enriching night.

Circle100’s winter event will take place at The Northern Club on 7th July from 6pm until 9:15pm. For tickets and enquiries, click here.

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We’re giving away a relaxing spa experience that is the perfect way to warm your soul this winter

There are a few tried and tested routes to comfort that I turn to when winter begins its seemingly endless wrath. A fresh cup of tea and a packet of biscuits, for example, or the electric blanket turned up to three while I curl up with a quality book. Rarely, however, do I subject myself to a full body treatment in the name of winter remedying. Which is why, when I recently took it upon myself to try the new, limited-edition Winter Journey package from East Day Spa, my levels of comfort were taken to new heights.

Incorporating two treatments into 75 minutes, the Winter Journey is a blissful experience from beginning to end. Upon choosing the pressure and oil — frangipani, sandalwood or mandarin — the treatment begins with a 60 minute hot stone massage, using warm basalt stones across all areas of the body to soothe and relax the skin. From the fingertips to the toes the masseuse slows works her way around, enhancing the already luxurious experience by massaging aromatic, hot oils into the skin. What follows is a sublime, gentle scalp massage using COMB nourishing hair oil, one so sublime, in fact, that those who are subject to it would be forgiven for falling asleep. A soul-warming, non-alcoholic hot toddy — crafted from fresh lemon, manuka honey and Seedlip Spice 94 — wraps the treatment up with a final dose of warmth and comfort.

Having experienced a winter treatment that sets a whole new precedent, I left East Day Spa feeling prepared to sacrifice the succeeding three seasons in favour of a year-round opportunity to indulge in it some more. It was blissful beyond measure, offering a level of comfort that can only truly be understood by somebody who has tried it themselves. Case in point, we’re giving one lucky Denizen the chance to experience the limited edition treatment for themselves. Interested? Of course you are. To enter, click here.

*This competition has now closed. Congratulations Lynne Parker.*

East Day Spa

123 Albert Street
Skycity Grand Hotel
Auckland

www.eastdayspa.com

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Meet the restaurants that have been confirmed for the hotly-anticipated, new Westfield Newmarket

Almost two years have passed since the announcement of the new Westfield development in Newmarket and with it set to open its doors in late 2019, the original vision is edging ever closer to becoming a reality. While over 200 retail stores have allegedly been confirmed, including the likes of Coco Republic and David Jones, it’s Westfield’s restaurant line-up that has us intrigued right now. With a number of known operators set to open new outposts in Westfield Newmarket, alongside some newer names too, these are the eateries that have been confirmed so far.

INCA
The critically acclaimed New Zealand restauranteur, Nic Watt is collaborating with the other executive chef at his SKYCITY restaurant, MASU, Darren Johnson, to open INCA. A Peruvian restaurant that draws inspiration from East Asian cuisine, INCA’s menu will comprise common South American street food such as meat skewers (or ‘anticuchos’) grilled over manuka and coffee charcoal as well as dishes like house-pressed tacos and freshly fried churros. And if MASU is anything to go by, it’s safe to say that this restaurant will be delivering dishes of the highest quality. Setting itself up in a premium dining space that will apparently be able to seat up to 110 patrons, this is one that the foodies of Auckland are waiting for with bated breath.

Ceviche from INCA

Something & Social
From the team behind the award-winning CBD bar — Pilkingtons, Something & Social is the rooftop bar that will surely be the talk of the town when it opens. Set to offer a dedicated gin garden, a menu of specialised gin cocktails, premium beers and pizzas this bar and its exceptional offerings will undoubtedly become a destination spot as well as the new social hub for the area.

Archie Brothers
Calling Archie Brothers a restaurant would be an understatement. The maestros behind the incredibly successful mini-golf bar experience, Holey Moley are taking on Newmarket with a nostalgic 90s-themed arcade. There will be activities such as tenpin bowling, an array of gaming machines and a menu that resonates with the classic entertainments complexes of old. Think beastly burgers, decadent milkshakes and cocktails.

Archie Brothers

White + Wongs
Any Auckland dining precinct would feel somewhat incomplete without the inclusion of a restaurant that serves Western and Asian fusion cuisine, and Westfield is set to get some of the best in town. White + Wongs is renowned for its Chinese roast duck and selection of baos and dumplings, becoming a quick favourite of Aucklanders as well as garnering a strong South Island following for its Queenstown outpost. Opening their third location in Newmarket, the operators behind White + Wongs are also apparently setting up a rooftop bar, Sardine, in the same precinct. Details about Sardine are yet to be revealed in full, but with a promised capacity of around 450 patrons, it’s set to be a bar of epic proportions.

Bird On A Wire
The purveyors of free-range chicken rotisserie, Bird on a Wire, have dominated the dining scene since they started in Ponsonby, and have since expanded to locations in the likes of Takapuna, Orakei and even Tauranga — and they’re not slowing down any time soon. Whether it’s a quick and healthy lunch or a hearty dinner that you’re after, this eatery has got it all. From salads to schnitzel sandwiches to whole chickens, the varied selection makes each visit to Bird On A Wire a deliciously fresh experience, and we’re sure their imminent Newmarket outpost will be no different.

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Which of these Spring 2020 menswear looks will you be emulating next season?

As we speak, catwalks overseas are being stormed by a line-up of lithe male models, swathed in the latest looks from designers like Prada, Zegna, Saint Laurent and Givenchy. The menswear shows regularly serve up some of the most intriguing fashion moments of the season, and considering the trend that’s seeing more and more women adopting looks that err on androgeny (oversize blazers, baggy jeans, boyfriend fits), and even wearing menswear themselves (Gigi Hadid just wore a Louis Vuitton menswear look to the CFDA awards), menswear is a viable trawling ground for fashion-savvy women. That said, we thought we’d bring you a few of our favourite looks from the Spring 2020 runways (so far) in a bid to inspire you for the upcoming season.

70s LA disco cowboySaint Laurent
Because of course Anthony Vaccarello would combine these seemingly unlikely tropes into one cohesive (and surprisingly compelling) collection. Throw in a touch of Moroccan drapery and flecks of gold and Saint Laurent’s latest offering is calling for an effortlessly cool approach to Spring.

Mountaineering but make it businessZ Zegna
Technical fabrics meet dapper blazers in the businessman-goes-wild looks that make up this collection. Practical trousers paired with perfect tailoring and finished with the kind of sandals that used to be the exclusive territory of dads on fishing trips (don’t worry, they’re very cool now), Z Zegna’s Spring collection is putting a sophisticated sartorial spin on outdoor pursuits.

White-collar workwear Joseph
In Joseph’s sleek, signature style, suiting in simple, soft tones is made baggy without losing any of its sophisticated edge. A palette of rust orange, dove grey, beige and vanilla renders the collection perfect for springtime office-wear which calls into question the traditionally-accepted codes of dressing for the 9-to-5 and heralds a move away from stiff collars and stuffy neckties.

High-tech trekPrada
Where the high road meets the mean streets is where you’ll find Prada’s Spring 2020 collection, residing in the sweet spot between luxury and streetwear — which more often than not results in a kind of haute hiker look. Here, utility details meet soft, fashion-forward shapes and technical textiles to render the wearer prepared for anything.

A new approach to patternSalvatore Ferragamo
A deep palette dictated the tone on the Salvatore Ferragamo runway, where plum, khaki, rosy and tan leather pants met shapes that seemed to place laid-back wearability at the forefront. Discarding the idea of florals for spring, the prevailing pattern was instead a nod to the classics and held a vintage presence that spoke to our growing penchant for the loose, patterned shirts of the 70s.

Tactile takeGivenchy
Iridescent touches, futuristic silhouettes and textiles we wanted to reach out and touch, Givenchy’s menswear collection was a glorious display of intriguing fabrics and a fun exploration of colour and pattern. Of course it still carried the signature Givenchy ‘cool’ in its precise tailoring, and brought forth a number of looks that were made timeless by the unique way they combined idiosyncratic, streetwear-esque details with classic, crowd-favourite shapes.

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Denizen’s guide on where to find the best slice of cheesecake in Auckland

Here at Denizen, we encounter every kind of treat Auckland has to offer. Brownies? We’re there. Slices? You bet. But cheesecake is one delicacy we don’t seem to have covered in the past — a fact we would like to change. Very different from the regular variations of cake, the qualities that any cheesecake has to nail in order to be considered delicious include the base, the creaminess of the filling and achieving the right balance between sweetness and tartness. That said, there are a number of places around Auckland that have perfected their recipes to serve up some of the best variations of cheesecake we’ve ever tried.

Frasers
Despite this all-day cafe serving delicious dishes for breakfast, lunch and dinner, its peak hours are in the evening, when people flock to try a slice of the cakes it’s so well-known for. Offering a variation of housemade cheesecakes (baked fresh every day) which include NY baked, cookies and cream, Bailey’s and a seasonal fruity flavour, Frasers has proven itself to be the fool-proof place to satisfy any and all cheesecake cravings.

The Fed
The NY baked cheesecake from The Fed prioritises creaminess over anything else. The tall slice boasts a base that is thin and crispy and results in most of the attention being placed on the decadent cheesecake filling. Taking a fork to this cheesecake is like slicing through butter. Indulgently smooth, it melts deliciously as soon as it hits the palate and yet, the creamy texture doesn’t give way to a slice that is overly sweet. Boasting enough cream cheese flavour to make it just as well-suited to those without a sweet tooth, the cheesecake is also served with a side of berries to enhance the tartness while adding a subtle sour note to the dessert.

NY baked cheesecake from The Fed

Coffee Pen
Cheesecake is second nature to the owners of Eden Terrace gem, Coffee Pen. Yasuji and Fumi’s fearless approach to the dessert sees them stray from the traditional graham cracker crust, switching it for smashed Oreo cookies instead. This lends their cheesecakes a richer and more intense flavour along with a crispier texture and perfectly complements every flavour they create, from matcha to original NY to the decadent dark chocolate.

Raspberry White Chocolate Cheesecake from Coffee Pen

Miann
When it comes to desserts, Miann has it down-pat, from macarons to waffles, to gelato and even petit-gateaux. The cheesecakes from Miann are one of its lesser-known treats, and not because they fall short in quality, but because they sell out every single day. Freshness is the top priority for this artisanal dessert bar which is why the pastry chefs only bake one cheesecake a day — meaning that only 12 slices are available. As such, you should consider yourself lucky if slices of Miann’s glorious cheesecake (like its lemon, strawberry crumble) remains in the cabinet when you stop by.

Camper Coffee
If you’re indecisive on whether you prefer the Japanese-style, fluffy and soft cotton cheesecake or the thick and decadent NY baked, look no further than Camper Coffee. Situated right next to The Candy Shop in Newmarket’s Osborne Lane, this newly opened space is providing some of the lightest yet most flavourful, creamy cheesecakes in town. Coming in two different flavours, original and caramel, there’s something for everyone to enjoy, from the cheesecake purists to the ultra-sweet tooths.

Hello Bliss Cheesecakes
For those cheesecake connoisseurs who want to trade in the regular spongy celebratory cake for a whole, creamy cheesecake, look no further than Hello Bliss. This Instagram-based business specialises in cheesecakes, offering a range of delicious flavours that go far beyond the norm. Think the likes of dulce de leche, cookie dough and Snickers. Whatever the flavour may be, Hello Bliss’ cheesecakes are some of the best we’ve ever tasted. The signature base is thick, buttery and dense and the filling is sweet, tart and indulgent — the perfect combination.

Snickers Cheesecake and Dark Choc Cheesecake from Hello Bliss

Corelli’s
Although this Devonport gem is renowned for its mega-sized carrot cake, its cheesecake should not go unmentioned. What differentiates this cheesecake from the rest is the topping — a fun, fruity affair that puts a unique spin on the typically beige dessert. The NY baked cheesecake is smothered in a berry coulis which elevates every slice, lending extra sweetness, tartness and sourness. The generous serving sizes at Corelli’s are another draw card and the staff know well enough that a side of whipped cream is mandatory.

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Muse Cashmere’s beautiful new Season Four pieces have landed in store

There can be no denying that cashmere reigns supreme as the textile of winter. Impossibly soft, long-wearing and versatile, it offers the perfect foundation for any wardrobe, especially as we face down the colder months. That said, not all cashmere is created equal. Which is why we have been waiting for Muse’s new collection to drop before stocking up — and finally, it’s arrived.

Designed by Owner Olivia Healy and her Muse team, the new cashmere is building on the reputation it has been steadily earning since the beginning. A reputation for quality, flattering shapes and timeless pieces that will last far beyond a single season. Here, the underlying idea of ‘elevated basics’ rings true, where the finest fibres sourced from a family-owned mill in Nepal have been fashioned into a variety of styles both classic and new, designed to take us effortlessly from day to evening. The double-faced cashmere wrap (a longstanding favourite) is, of course, making its return this season, as well as a line up of luxurious scarves and a two-piece set comprising the Joe pants and Sophie crewneck, landing as the perfect pieces for travel or to simply lounge around in.

Alongside the styles made from 100 per cent cashmere (which makes up the majority of the collection) two silhouettes — the ankle-length Fleur dress (with a sleek leg slit) and the ribbed Milly tee — have been made from a beautiful cashmere/merino blend, which adds a new dimension and heightened wearability to the line-up.

And while on the whole, the palette could be described as deliciously autumnal, where rust tones meet soft grey, ivory, almond and mushroom, pops of lilac, blush and light blue are also present, to counter any misconceptions that winter knits should adhere to some kind of monochromatic mandate.

To celebrate the fact that Muse has released its new season of cashmere just in time for the midyear chill to set in, we are giving one lucky Denizen the chance to win $2,500 to spend in-store at Muse Boutique. To enter and for more details, click here.

*This competition has now closed. Congratulations Sophie Ahern.*

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Meet the neighbourhood smokehouse delivering some of the tastiest salmon we’ve ever tried

Tucked away in the quiet streets of Westmere is a modest and humble smokehouse, serving up some of the most delicious smoked salmon in town. From Wednesday to Sunday, a couple opens the backyard of their Westmere home, which they have transformed into a neighbourhood market of sorts, selling house-smoked salmon, home-baked treats and fresh pasta.

The charming Kōtare Smokehouse uses Big Glory Bay Salmon as its fish of choice, which is renowned for being sustainably-farmed and boasting a mouth-watering, melt-in-your-mouth quality. The salmon is smoked with pōhutukawa and mānuka, lending the fish a unique and subtle sweetness and rich aroma. To ensure consistency and quality, the batches are mostly kept small and are sold straight from the smoker, delicately wrapped in paper instead of plastic packaging. But for those seeking to feed more than one (or if they simply can’t get enough of this delectable fish), whole fillets can also be made to order.

The smokehouse also sells other items to complement the fish, including fresh, un-pasteurised pasta from another neighbourhood artisan, The People’s Pasta (made in small batches), which we encourage you to pair with the salmon and some creamy garlic sauce for the ultimate lunch or dinner dish.

To end things on a sweet note, home-baked treats sit alongside the smokehouse’s more savoury offering. The cookies in a jar and homemade petit cakes strike something of a nostalgic chord, reminiscent of the kind of delicious, wholesome baking grandma would whip up back in the day.

At its heart, the Kōtare Smokehouse is all about delivering good-quality, comforting, hearty food whether that be perfectly smoked salmon, comforting cakes or pasta that will make dinner prep a breeze. But more than that, it’s a place that brings the community together, gathering in the sun-drenched courtyard surrounded by vine-covered walls, all in pursuit of something tasty. Delivering an authentic Kiwiana experience, where fresh produce meets quintessential Kiwi hospitality, whether you’re in the neighbourhood or not, this hidden gem is well worth a stop in.

Opening hours:
Wednesday – Sunday, 8:30am until 3:30pm

Kōtare Smokehouse

12 Kōtare Avenue
Westmere

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This thought-provoking exhibition has us delving into the history of the humble handbag

An albatross foot purse, an intricately woven kete, a leather briefcase and even a handbag crafted entirely from gloves: the Auckland War Memorial Museum’s latest exhibition, Carried Away: Bags Unpacked, is showcasing the humble handbag in ways that we’ve never quite seen it before. Kicking off on Thursday, 13th June, the exhibition will display over 150 individual iterations from the museum’s private collection, giving visitors a look at some of the most pivotal fashion, design and cultural turning points in handbag history.

The exhibition serves as both a time machine and a passport, representing over 30 countries and spanning multiple centuries — ranging from the 1750s to today. In doing so, it gives guests the opportunity to learn about different cultures and traditions, whether that be via an artfully embellished inrō from Japan — a small purse designed to complement pocketless kimonos — a patterned, crocheted Bilum from the Cook Islands or even a leather handbag from England, still containing an 1800’s London Underground map.

Really encouraging guests to get involved, the exhibition will also host a number of films, tours and interactive workshops. DEtour: The Good, the Bag and the Ugly, for example, will investigate the history and hysteria behind the bags via an all-encompassing tour, while The Tote Bag Slogan printing workshop will invite attendees to question how bags, with slogans on them, can operate in the world as an extension of the wearer — after which participants are invited to let their imaginations run wild while creating their own.

For those who want to peruse the collection whenever they please, a book — also entitled Carried Away: Bags Unpacked — is available to purchase, while the exhibition itself carries on from now until December of this year. To celebrate this enthralling exhibition, we’re giving one lucky Denizen a double pass to the opening launch, on Wednesday 12th June, and a copy of the book — for more information and entry, click here.

*This competition has now closed. Congratulations Mary Lornie.*

Carried Away: Bags Unpacked is on from 13th June to 1st December in the Special Exhibition Hall at the Auckland War Memorial Museum, free with museum entry.

Auckland War Memorial Museum
The Auckland Domain
Parnell

www.aucklandmuseum.com

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With its fresh, authentic fare, this new Vietnamese spot is the perfect lunchtime drop-in

Although tucked away on Chancery Street, the blue glow of the Luna’s Express signage makes passers-by stop and take note, intrigued by the new opening and drawn in by the warm, yellow walls and cosy fit-out that lie beyond the glass frontage.

Stepping over the threshold we’re greeted by the owner, Malisa, who explains the name of the new opening as a homage to her mum, Luna. “All the recipes are hers,” she says, walking us through the menu which is set up as a smorgasbord of make-your-own Vietnamese phở and Bahn Mi. “We wanted to be able to talk to the customers and help them customise their orders,” Malisa says, “the menu covers traditional dishes from both North and South Vietnam… so diners can choose from a range of flavours and types of Viet food… they could have a different dish every time they came here if they wanted.”

That the popularity of Vietnamese food has been on the rise is undeniable. Phở — a traditional Vietnamese broth soup served with rice noodles and various accoutrements like beef, sprouts, chilli and spring onion — has emerged as a universally-loved dish that manages to be warming without being heavy, and is satisfying in a distinctly light, healthy way. Luna’s Express takes its appeal one step further, by making the rice noodles fresh every day (with Malisa telling me she usually starts around five or six in the morning) and brewing the broths — a traditional and a vegan one — from scratch as well, which usually takes around 12 hours. The vegan broth is, while not necessarily authentic to the cuisine, something Malisa created using root vegetables in order to ensure that Luna’s can cater to anyone. And the fact that this level of care has gone into the creation of the dishes, becomes clear in the quality of the food and its flavours.

The phở is warm and fulfilling, the Bahn Mi perfectly proportioned and bursting with tasty meats and sauces, and when Malisa brings out the egg coffee and egg chocolate at the end of the meal as a “special treat,” it’s an unexpected delight. Egg coffee is a traditional drink in Vietnam that started when the country was suffering from a milk shortage. It is made with egg yolk, condensed milk and cream — so if you can imagine a texture similar to melted ice-cream but far fluffier and with a more complex, sweeter quality, that’s it. And it really is a treat.

Although the ‘Express’ in Luna’s name is an accurate representation of its service (our bowls of pho arrived at the table very quickly), don’t be mistaken in thinking that there have been any corners cut on quality. Malisa is clearly dedicated to making Luna’s Express a business that is as holistic as its food. “All the packaging is compostable,” the owner explains, “and we’re trying to make Luna’s as close to zero waste as we possibly can,” a commendable goal.

While we were slurping our phở, a number of people who clearly worked around the area wandered by, peering inquisitively inside. Luna’s is, after all, the perfect lunchtime spot for the inner-city set. With fresh ingredients, a friendly atmosphere and food that will suit any proclivity and save you from having to suffer through a 3pm slump, it’s setting itself up as the ultimate antidote to office hours and is, without a doubt, some of the freshest Vietnamese we’ve ever tried.

Opening hours:
Monday – Friday, 7am until 4:30pm
Saturday, 11:30am until 5pm
Sunday, closed

Luna's Express

10 Chancery Street
Auckland Central

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Win 2 tickets to the Oscar, Grammy and Tony Award-winning musical about to open in Auckland

The only Broadway musical to feature music that has won an Oscar, a Grammy, an Olivier and a Tony, Once: The Musical is a lauded theatrical event that has been critically-acclaimed the world over, and it’s about to open at the ASB Waterfront Theatre.

Brought to New Zealand after a five-year effort by Director Jesse Peach to secure the rights, the widely-celebrated production will open on 27th June, and run until 14th July. Set in a modern-day Irish pub, Once: The Musical tells the story of a Dublin busker who gives up on his music until love brings his dreams back to life. The enthralling ‘almost love story’ will be played out on the Auckland stage by a 12-strong cast of extraordinary local talent, including multi-hyphenates Jackie Clarke, Priya Sami and Kiwi singer-songwriter Lisa Crawley in her musical theatre debut.

The musical itself is a joyous production, peppered with the heart-aching melodies and uplifting notes. Originally adapted from a critically-acclaimed independent film of the same name that starred Glen Hansard opposite Markéta Irglorá — the duo also composed and performed all the songs — the musical numbers from the film have carried the success of the stage show, scoring the narrative with earnest, rock-folk tunes that really bring the compelling tale home.

In celebration of the fact that this acclaimed production has come to New Zealand (and is being brought to life with a Kiwi cast), we are giving away a double pass to the 7:30pm performance of Once: The Musical on the 2nd of July. To enter, click here. For more information and to buy tickets to any of the other performances, click here.

*This competition has now closed. Congratulations Rachael Speedy.*

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