The katsu sando is a dish on the rise and these eateries are jumping on the trend

The katsu sando, a Japanese convenience store staple has finally made its way to New Zealand. With its mouthwatering combination of contrasting soft white bread and deep-fried, succulent cutlet (chicken or pork), the varied iterations of the sandwich found in Auckland eateries are cementing the status of the katsu sando as an undeniable ‘it’ food — and for good reason. Without further, here are three places serving the katsu sando in their own special way.

Hello Beasty
Viaduct Harbour’s Asian fusion restaurant, Hello Beasty is renowned for adding a modern spin to traditional dishes and its katsu sando is no exception. Instead of soft bread, the folks at Hello Beasty have used a toasted milk bun to elevate the crispiness of the deep-fried pork loin. Accompanied by a tangy tonkatsu sauce which is similar to a barbeque sauce and a hefty drizzle of Japanese mayo, this sammie ticks all the boxes from presentation to flavour.

Hello Beasty’s Katsu Sando

Mizu Bread
Not long ago, Kazuya Restaurant opened a pop-up bakery stall, Mizu Bread to operate out of its kitchens during the daytime and it has become the go-to spot for anyone seeking delicious baked good. Mizu’s rendition of the katsu sando is the most accurate reflection of what you’d find in the streets of Tokyo — soft slices of white bread, pork or chicken cutlets that are soaked in Bulldog sauce and a thin layer of slaw for an extra crunch.

The Candy Shop 
Newmarket’s bustling eatery, The Candy Shop might have one of the most indulgent katsu sandos in town. The thickness of the fried pork cutlet goes beyond any of the ones mentioned above and is unbelievably tender. The slices of bread have been slightly toasted for a subtle crisp and are slathered with tangy BBQ sauce and a slaw that has been doused in mayo. Served with a side of gravy, this katsu sando is made for those who are after a decadent meal. 

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Combat wet-weather woes with Denizen’s guide to the best rainy-day activities in Auckland

When wet weather strikes, ditch the sofa and Friends reruns and instead, duck for cover inside one of these cosy hideaways.

Boutique bookstores
Rain is falling. It’s hitting the windows in a rhythmic, hypnotizing fashion, conjuring whale-song-esque relaxation feels. You’re curled up in an armchair with a great book in one hand and a soul-warming cup of tea in the other. Idyllic, no? In a day and age blighted by social media addiction, it can be hard to remember the last time we took a breather and immersed ourselves in a good old-fashioned book. From the Jervois Road drop-in Novel, to the comprehensive selection at The Women’s Bookshop to Mount Eden gem Time Out, there are a number of places to go to find your next page-turner perfect for a day like today.

Auckland Art Gallery
Auckland Art Gallery is home to a panoply of significant New Zealand art, making it the ideal place to take cover. Plunge into the contemporary, historic and modern works that are a mainstay, or immerse yourself in one of Auckland Art Gallery’s brilliantly thought-provoking exhibitions (currently it’s the incredible Frances Hodgkins European Journeys — on until 1st September). Open seven days a week, Auckland Art Gallery is a no-brainer for downcast weather days.
Wellesley Street East, CBD

Go to the cinema
The Capitol Cinema, to be exact. This Dominion Road gem offers the classic, old-school cinematic experience and is always showing a range of interesting, current and blockbusting movies. And, if the rain has subsided when you emerge from the movies, head to one of Dominion Road’s many delicious dining destinations for a feed unlike any other you’d find in Auckland. But be sure to consult our definitive dining guide to Dominion Road first, here.
610 Dominion Road

Eat your way through the rain
Whether it’s to get some work done, to catch up with a friend or to simply sit for a few hours with a book and some delicious food, Auckland’s hospitality offering is comprehensive. From Ozone’s all-day menu and perfectly-brewed coffees to Andiamo’s cosy ambience and delicious, Italian food, if you feel overwhelmed with the vast and varied array, see our round-up of the best new openings of 2019 so far. 

Wintergardens
It may be raining outside but fear not; inside the Winter Gardens awaits a light-filled paradise. Saturated blooms blossoming from lush green palms adorn the glass walls and vast gardens, while still waters shimmer under the glare of the overhead lamps. Visiting the Auckland Domain Wintergardens is like stepping out of rainy Auckland and immersing yourself in a lush, tropical nirvana, complete with an on-site cafe for a relaxed afternoon pick-me-up. The best part? Admission is free.
Wintergarden Road, Parnell

The Domain Wintergardens
The Domain Wintergardens

Meditation Auckland
As if you need an excuse, Meditation Auckland is offering free ‘Learn Meditation’ courses. With the daily grudges of city life combined with the dampening effects of miserable weather, a meditation session might be just what your strained mind, body and soul are pining after. A typical course involves two guided meditations focusing on breathing and concentration techniques, lead by class givers who have studied under the guidance of Sri Chinmoy, (an Indian spiritual leader who totally knows his stuff).
Class locations in various places around Auckland, for the full list, check here.

Go to the ballet
The RNZB’s Bold Moves is on at the moment and is offering the ultimate temporary escape from this blustery weather. Featuring works by George Balanchine, William Forsythe and Andrea Schermoly, this compilation of incredible pieces moves through definitive danceworks from different decades and is a captivating exploration of how dance has captured the zeitgeist over the years.
On until 15th September, buy tickets here

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House-made terrine from Apero

We asked some of NZ’s top fashion designers about their favourite places to eat in Auckland

With New Zealand Fashion Week 2019 around the corner, we thought it would be interesting to talk to some of the top designers taking part in this year’s line-up. But instead of fashion, we discussed food and asked them about their favourite dishes to eat around Auckland — and many of their answers (especially one in particular), is not what you’d expect.

Paris Mitchell Temple & Georgia CherrieParis Georgia 
Announced as this year’s Mercedes-Benz Presents Designer, Paris Georgia, started by Paris Mitchell Temple and Georgia Cherrie is definitely one-to-watch this season. Mitchell Temple named K’Road’s Apero as her favourite restaurant and tells me, “it’s simplicity at its finest. The beautifully curated wine list goes hand in hand with the house-made terrine (my favourite on the menu) the specials are always super impressive and never disappoint.” While Cherrie also chose a K’Road establishment as one of her favourites — Gemmayze St. “The hummus is unbelievably smooth, I swear that it’s creamier than a moisturiser and the space is such a lively vibe.” She follows this up with another favourite — this time an unexpected one, “I get KFC once a week, I have a serious problem but I’m not sorry about it.”

KFC (on the left) and Gemmayze St (on the right)

Benjamin Alexander 
Following his grand victory in Project Runway NZ, all eyes are on the young and talented designer, Benjamin Alexander. Presenting at his first Fashion Week this year Alexander tells me that when he has time to spare, his favourite restaurant in Auckland is “probably Coco’s Cantina on K’ Road. Mainly because of the people and the atmosphere. I love how simple and homely it is.” At this Italian restaurant, he tells me that he will “always order the ravioli and, of course, a decent amount of prosecco.”

Wynn Crawshaw — Wynn Hamlyn
Renowned for his elegant, beautifully simple designs, Wynn Crawshaw of womenswear label Wynn Hamlyn, applies a similar philosophy to food as he does to fashion. With Wellington burger joint, Five Boroughs recently popping up around Auckland, Crawshaw tells me that the double cheeseburger is his favourite, simply because “I love burgers and I think this one is the best.” Having tasted this for ourselves, we can confirm that it really does tick all the boxes from its soft, toasted bun, to its juicy beef patties with plenty of sauce, melted cheese and zingy pickles.

Jessie WongYu Mei
The Founder and Director of handbag brand, Yu Mei, Jessie Wong is a self-proclaimed, passionate foodie. The boss lady’s favourite place to eat when she’s in Auckland is Odettes Eatery. She tells me, “the menu always changes but they always have a sweet and savoury crepe on there and either one is good depending on what mood you’re in.” She explains that the laid-back yet classy ambience makes it a great place to have meetings with clients but when she’s with close friends and family, she tells me “yum cha at Grand Harbour for lunch and then Negronis at Annabel’s Wine Bar at night.”

Sweet crepes from Odettes Eatery (on the left) and double cheeseburger from Five Boroughs (on the right)

Elisabeth Findlay and Dayne Johnston Zambesi
Celebrating their 40th birthday this year, Zambesi is one of this season’s most hotly-anticipated shows. Co-Founder and Designer Elisabeth Findlay’s favourite thing to eat in Auckland is Non-Solo Pizza’s gnocchi al Ragù di Vitello — fluffy potato gnocchi, braised veal, creamy mushrooms, pecorino and thyme. This is ideally paired with a Makers Anonymous prosecco and followed by a classic affogato. Zambesi’s Menswear Designer, Dayne Johnston, on the other hand, selected Madame George as his restaurant of choice. Having recently designed the team’s aprons, a touch of Zambesi is always seen at the K’Road bar, where Johnston tells me he particularly loves the potato puffs and attentive hospitality.

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The French tip and other noughties trends that are sneaking back into fashion

Last week our Advertising Manager, Fliss, came into the office with a new look on her nails. As someone who takes pride in her paws — we’ve recruited her on numerous occasions to be our in-house hand model (her best work here) — her nails are almost always done and when it comes to manicures of the moment, she’s generally in the know. But her recent proclivity for a particular style has me saying two words I didn’t think I would ever use post-2010 — “French. Tip.”

When I was younger, my mum would take me with her when she was getting her nails done and I’d insist the kind ladies in the spa give my mini hands the ‘French tip’ treatment. It was 2005, I loved The Simple Life and I was OBSESSED with having fingers that each ended in a little white line. Off I would trot, proud as punch of my glossy digits, waving them about and slinging them through the belt-loops of my low-slung Urban Angel jeans. Me and almost everyone else from that strange, bedazzled decade.

Eventually, the French tip fell out of favour (as these things usually do), after tragic, reality-TV-types started giving their ‘tips’ far too much real estate on their nails. The overly square, more-tip-than-nail look spoke to the tackiness that seeped its way into the zeitgeist of the early noughties. And perhaps it was because it became so synonymous with bad taste that I was certain it would never emerge again.

But I was wrong. There we were on a crisp Monday morning and Fliss’ nails were adorned in a style I had long sworn off — and they looked good. Granted, the French tip of today has evolved from its first outing. Fliss, for example, had hers done with a fine, burgundy line. Others I have seen on the likes of Instagram are definitely more subtle and refined than the styles of old. But it seems this is just another in a string of noughties comebacks, harking the return of a decade that I truly didn’t think had the sartorial merit to warrant a second coming.

That said, here are some of the unexpected noughties styles set to make a bold return — and like it or not, we’re getting on board.

Left to right: Halter necks, flip flops, low-rise jeans, zebra print, cargo pants.

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These trailblazing lighting fixtures are making a case for the bold finishing touch

From sophisticated sconces to lighting that leaps out, these unique wall adornments are reminding us to think outside the box when it comes to finishing touches. Resident’s V Wall Light and Bert Frank’s Rift Wall Light, for example, both harness brass to create sophisticated and refined lighting additions, the former sees the brass drop lighting suspended in place via by two, adjustable wires, while the latter sets an opal glass globe against a solid brass backplate. Spherical lighting is clearly having a moment, with The Aballs Wall Light by Parachilna, the Series 28-S by Bocci, the Compact 02 Wall Light by Douglas & Bec and the Cerine Sconce by Trueing all boasting the unique, alluring design, but for those who really want to make an impression, sometimes opting for something truly one-of-a-kind is key. The Horsehair Sconce from Apparatus, combining horsehair, brass and etched glass, is a fine option for a quirky and memorable home addition.

L-R: Cerine Sconce, Horsehair Sconce, Compact 02 Wall Light, Series 28-S, Rift Wall Light, Aballs Wall Light, V Wall Light

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Gemmayze St and Orphans Kitchen are collaborating for a one-time-only Lebanese breakfast

Mark your calendars for next Friday as you won’t want to miss out on this one-time-only collaboration between two highly-acclaimed chefs, Samir Allen from Gemmayze St and Tom Hishon from Orphans Kitchen. Together, they are hosting a special breakfast at Orphans’ Ponsonby space that will feature two courses of Lebanese-inspired dishes. Judging by the food we’ve tasted at both eateries, we can guarantee that this will be well worth the 7am start.

Tom Hishon (on the left) and Samir Allen (on the right)

Allen and Hishon will be pairing their dishes with refreshing juices and freshly brewed coffees to kick the day off on a good note and anyone who has had the OJ from Orphans will know that this is definitely something to look forward to.

Tickets are essential and are $45 per person with 10% of all proceeds going towards the pay-as-you-feel restaurant Everybody Eats.

This unmissable culinary event will take place next Friday, 30th August from 7am until 10:30am. To book your ticket, make a reservation at Orphan’s Kitchen, here.

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Sopes with beans

It has been touted as the best Mexican food in Auckland — so we went and tried Cielito Lindo for ourselves

Finding Mexican food is no easy task in Auckland. Truthfully, I don’t think I’ve ever really tasted authentic Mexican food. According to my friends who have travelled around Mexico, crispy hard-shell taco (like the ones we make for dinner) are not as common as you might think and the copious amounts of cheese, sour cream and classic sauces are not, in fact, the real deal. But apparently, Cielito Lindo — an understated Mexican eatery in Henderson, is. Touted as serving the best Mexican food in Auckland, Cielito Lindo was recommended to me by a number of friends, and after a hefty Instagram stalk of the place, I was intrigued — deciding finally to make the journey out to The Concourse earlier this week.

This was a chance to expand my horizons and become a better food writer, which made paying a visit during office hours completely justified (in my opinion). I asked Clara (the Digital Editor and Photographer here at Denizen), to come along and take a few snaps. We pulled up and my Shore Boy instincts took over as I thoughtlessly exclaimed “woah.” Sure, the restaurant itself is a bit run down but there’s nothing wrong with it and if you can’t see past the facade, well that’s your loss. It’s rugged but charming and sported an exterior painted in a pastel pink shade that honestly, I loved. And while the inside was small, it was a cosy space that captured a lot of sunlight and was perfect for a winter’s day like this one.

Nopales taco (on the left) & Tinga nachos (on the right)

Cielito Lindo’s menu was short and succinct, featuring tacos, nachos, burritos, quesadillas, sopes, burritos and chips and dips — all available with a range of meats. So, in order to gain a true and accurate understanding of Mexican cuisine and whether Cielito Lindo really was serving some of the best in town, Clara and I went above and beyond on the ordering — choosing everything that jumped out at us.

What we ordered:
Chips + guac + salsa
Sopes with beans
Borrego taco
Fish taco
Nopales taco

Tinga nachos (added guac)
Bistek quesadilla 

We started with the chips, guacamole and salsa and judging by the crispiness and heat coming from the chips, they seemed like they had been freshly fried to order and seasoned with a generous amount of salt. The guacamole was simply smashed avocado and diced tomatoes with no presence of anything else really, apart from a light sprinkle of onions. But the avocado and tomatoes did taste incredibly fresh. The handmade sopes with beans were completely new to me. They were like a hybrid of a soft taco and tostada and the beans had a creaminess to them which was quite comforting. At first, I was quite underwhelmed until I drizzled some salsa over the top, taking the sope all the way to one hundred — simple yet flavourful.

Chips + guac + salsa

The tacos were served on corn tortillas (not flour) so they were quite soft and a little more delicate than what I was used to. The little morsels were topped with lamb, fish and the most interesting one — nopales which apparently is a type of cactus. The lamb was succulent and juicy but flavour-wise, it was incredibly clean-tasting and was a great canvas for the side of salsa. The fish taco was a nostalgic fried fish finger and the nopales tasted like jalapeños without the spice and surprisingly had the most flavour out of the three. The tinga (chicken) nachos were closer to my interpretation of Mexican cuisine, cheesy and gloriously greasy.

Lamb tacos

My personal favourite, however, was the bistek quesadilla. The two flour tortilla wraps sandwiched large chunks of steak, some fresh salsa, melted cheese and a drizzle of sour cream. The steak strips were incredibly juicy and it was a pleasant change to have a quesadilla that was properly filled, unlike many fast-food Mexican joints that can’t seem to get the ratios right.

Bistek quesadilla

After demolishing enough food to feed a village, it was time for us to go back to the office. I would usually need to have a lie-down/carb coma, but here I am, writing this piece as if I didn’t just eat my body weight in guacamole. As a passionate lover of cheese and fried, beige foods, I was taken by surprise with the lack of grease in Cielito Lindo’s food, but that’s the whole point.

Cielito Lindo is simply delicious, fresh, pure and clean-tasting. Owned by Eliseo Delgado Munoz, who is also the chef (and originally from Mexico), this place seems to be the closest interpretation of authentic Mexican cuisine in Auckland. The menu reflects the kinds of food Delgado Munoz ate growing up in Morales and we can tell you now, fried chicken with chipotle and jalapeño mayo (no matter how tasty that might be), was certainly not one of them.

Opening hours:
Monday — Thursday, 7am until 4pm
Friday, 7am until 6pm,
Saturday, 10am until 6pm
Sunday, 11am until 5pm

Cielito Lindo

14 The Concourse,
Henderson

www.instagram.com/cielitolindonz/

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Flexible style: How to wear athleisure without looking like a try-hard

The whole wearing-activewear-while-not-doing-anything-active trend is something that it’s taken some convincing for us to get on board with. And now that it’s been mainstream for a while, it’s a movement that has started to feel a little stale.

Don’t get us wrong, the idea that we can get away with wearing clothes that are comfortable and practical on a day-to-day basis is great. But we’re sick of watching it cause individual style to morph into a spandex-clad, homogeneous version of its former self.

Now that Spring is around the corner and we inevitably start thinking more about how we can fit exercise into our daily routines, there is a growing impetus to find ways to dress that are casual (without looking like we’ve just rolled out of bed), versatile and easy to transition from a morning walk to a coffee date to work. Athleisure, therefore, is a logical look to start embracing.

So, in a bid to cultivate a wardrobe of athleisure pieces that will do their job while still allowing us to express our individuality and not fade into the (Instagram) crowd, we have looked around to find pieces that fit the athleisure mould, but in a more refined way.

Left to right: Ganni Isoli sweatshirt from Workshop, Ragdoll LA Vintage sweatshirt from Superette, Oversize sweatshirt with Gucci Tennis from Gucci
Clockwise from top left: Adidas x Alexander Wang AW Body Run sneakers from Workshop, Dior Fusion high-top sneakers from Dior, Iro Paris Curve Raw sneaker from Superette International, Jil Sander Connors sneaker from Muse Boutique, LV Archlight Sneaker from Louis Vuitton
Left to right: Technical nylon leggings from Prada, P.E. Nation Strike short from Superette, Ernest Leoty Romy corset top from MATCHESFASHION, Ribbed bralette from Georgia Alice, Cotton canvas and plexiglass visor from Prada, No Ka’oi overcome striped stretch shorts from Net-A-Porter

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Video: Driving Miss Duncan is back to put the new Land Rover Discovery through its paces

So, is the new incarnation of this hallowed marque the ultimate family vehicle? Watch to find out.

Our automotive series Driving Miss Duncan is back. And this time, Denizen’s resident car expert, Rachelle Duncan is taking the new Land Rover Discovery off the beaten track in search of some farm-grown, organic produce.

Over the course of her intrepid day trip — between picking up veggies, stopping for a cup of tea and trying to corral a cow into the Discovery’s boot — Miss Duncan discovers that the fifth generation of this much-loved marque has seriously upped the ante on all its bells and whistles — without losing any of the charm that made it such a lauded family car in the first place.

For one, it looks sleeker than previous incarnations. The rear of the car pays homage to the Discovery’s rich lineage, with its asymmetrical back and offset number plate, while the body feels more elegantly proportioned and modernised thanks to touches like sleek wraparound LED headlights. It has also lost a whopping 480 kilograms thanks to a new monocoque body that is 83 percent aluminium.

And even though it’s still relatively big-boned, the new Discovery whips around town with agility and grace, its ride is smooth and it sports a sophisticated look that makes it feel as at-home on unsealed country roads as it is on the mean streets of Herne Bay. Not to mention the fact that a 360-degree camera and ingenious parking assist feature make this car a breeze to park — even in the heart of the city.

The luxurious interior, with features like an infotainment touchscreen, heated seats (in every row), stacks of USB ports and a Wi-Fi hotspot, is almost as impressive as the car’s storage. It boasts 2,400 litres of load space, seven comfortable seats (the third row can be put up and down using the Land Rover InControl app), and an ample boot with the option of a pet ramp designed to get the family dog in and out with ease.

From its ‘Automatic Terrain Response’ that makes driving on unpredictable ground a breeze, to the way the Discovery meets the demands of family life, this SUV is, as Miss Duncan discovers, capable of handling anything.

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I’ve been using Olaplex for the past year and this is how it has changed my hair

We’ve all been there. Sitting in the chair at the hair salon while the stylist prattles off some must-try products that would be perfect for your unruly mane. I’ll be the first to admit I almost always check out. Firstly, there’s no way my hair will ever look as good as it does when it has just been washed and blow-dried to Julia Roberts-level perfection at the salon. Secondly, my hair is akin to the American actress only ever in my dreams. It’s thin, slicks itself back at the first sight of oil and yet manages to be, at the same time, dry. Or at least that’s what it was like before I gave in to one particularly convincing sales pitch — and bought a bottle of Olaplex.

Olaplex is a system that works at a molecular level to find single sulfur hydrogen bonds in your hair and link them back together (otherwise they eat away at your reserve hair proteins), thus multiplying the bonds and making your hair stronger. In layman’s terms, it repairs broken hair and then works to protect it from the damage caused by things like dyes and heat. I get my hair done approximately every eight-to-10 weeks, and because I don’t enjoy sitting in a chair at the salon for hours, it was promising to know that there was a product that promised to extend the quality of my hair between professional treatments.

My hair has been dyed so many different colours and has been taken from its natural, lacklustre brown to bleached blonde and even pink. So technically, I’m the perfect Olaplex candidate. Although it’s worth noting that this treatment is not exclusively reserved for those with damaged or bleached hair. It will be of benefit to even those with virgin (uncoloured) hair and anyone susceptible to environmental factors and heat damage.

I started off using No. 3, the Hair Perfector — which is an at-home treatment — once a week. Applying a generous amount of it through the roots to the ends of my unwashed, towel-dried hair, I left it in overnight. Olaplex recommends a minimum of 10 minutes, but I decided to sleep in it — why not give it as much time as possible to really work its magic?

The results were instantaneous after rinsing it out the next morning. And although it was similar to what it feels like after conditioning (which is expected), what was really surprising was that this time, the feeling lasted for the entire week.

After getting used to using the No. 3 treatment religiously, six months ago I introduced the No. 4 and No. 5 bond maintenance shampoo and conditioner into my routine too. The results of using these alongside the treatment as my only haircare regimen have been good enough for me to come into the office and present an entire spiel on why everyone should be doing the same. I do not work for Olaplex, but I should. This stuff is magic.

Pre-Olaplex, if I let my hair dry naturally, frizz was always expected, which would see me constantly patting my head down to tame it. This was part of the reason why it had a tendency to turn pretty oily, pretty fast. But, after six months of using this trio, I can honestly say my hair dries with significantly less frizz (if any at all). It is also easier to style and feels a lot stronger. I’m looking forward to seeing how this holds up during summer when I’m constantly exposed to the sun and sea, but so far, it’s safe to say I’m impressed.

I may not have shiny, tousled hair à la Pretty Woman, but what I do have is hair that feels thicker, less unruly and much easier to maintain.

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