Thinking about investing in your first watch? Here’s why a Rolex will hold its value

If someone were to say the word ‘watch’ to you, there’s a high chance that only one brand would come to mind. Rolex. Whether this is because of the hallowed marque’s rich history, its presence in popular culture through the ages or its consistent focus on quality — or some kind of potent combination of the three — it’s hard to tell exactly. But what we do know, is that Rolex watches often sell for record-breaking prices at auction and are widely touted as a sound way to invest your money, here’s why.

The long and storied history of Rolex has undoubtedly cemented it forevermore the watchmaking hall of fame. It was responsible for creating the first water-resistant case and watch, the Oyster Perpetual. It revolutionised watchmaking with its Perpetual movement, a self-winding mechanism that is now used widely across the industry, and was the first watch to reach the summit of Mount Everest (both Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay wore Rolex watches for their famous ascent).

Left: Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay | Right: Sir Edmund Hillary’s Rolex

Beyond its historical firsts and feats of engineering, Rolex is a brand that has permeated popular culture in such a way that if you weren’t aware of the brand’s manufacturing achievements, you’d likely know its name from the singers and rap stars who wax lyrical about the ‘Rolies’ on their wrists. Or from iconic fictional characters like James Bond’s Rolex Submariner (one of the most iconic James Bond watches, worn by Sean Connery in Dr. No) or Patrick Bateman’s Rolex Datejust in American Psycho.

Left: Sean Connery as James Bond | Right: The iconic Rolex he wore in Dr. No.

Off the silver screen, too, Rolex watches have long been favoured by those in the spotlight. Take Paul Newman’s Rolex Daytona, for instance, which made headlines in 2017 for the US$17.75 million it fetched at auction in New York. (This made it the most expensive wristwatch and the second most expensive watch to ever sell at auction.) 

All of this has undoubtedly contributed to why everyone knows the name, Rolex. Reputation, after all, counts for a great deal. But the heights Rolex has reached could not have been achieved on reputation alone.

Rolex’s longevity has been achieved by backing up its notoriety with consistent high quality. Its focus on manufacturing with integrity, without losing sight of its purpose, has ensured that Rolex goes beyond its branding. Its watches are still all designed and made in Switzerland. It has its own, on-site foundry in which it produces the gold and platinum used in its timepieces. It apparently even has an x-ray machine, under which it checks every link of every bracelet it produces. Where Rolex could have capitalised on the chance to piggyback on its reputation, it has remained true to its origins of excellence.

Left to right: Rolex Submariner Date, Rolex Cosmograph Daytona, Rolex Oyster Perpetual 36 all from The Hour Glass

The combination of reputation and quality has ensured Rolex remains at the top of its field. If you are thinking of investing in a watch that will hold its value, there aren’t as many as well-respected or as timeless as a Rolex — and buying one will feel like buying a piece of history.

The Hour Glass

154 Queen Street,
Auckland Central

09 303 2839


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We’re one step closer to saving the bees thanks to this innovative hive business

It was a common desire to aid the declining bee population that sparked a pretty buzzy brainchild between friends Sam Allen and Hohepa Rutene. Earlier this year, the compassionate duo created Ponsonbees, a revolutionary beehive business that gave Aucklanders the chance to own their very own colony of honeybees. It is a setup that incites a simple quid pro quo: the bees are graced with a nice, safe home, and in return, the owners receive fresh honey and a consistently pollinated back yard.

Hohepa Rutene and Sam Allen

There are, of course, few that can tout the title of beekeeper, and so Ponsonbees has made the process of maintaining and harvesting the hive as simple as possible for average Joes. As part of the $60-a-month package, experienced beekeepers will visit homes to inspect the hives, carry out general maintenance, check on the strength and numbers of the colony and — come the warmer months — carry out the annual harvest of the sweet amber nectar. Those involved are able to get as hands-on as they like, with the monthly visit from the beekeeping maestros also serving as an opportunity for hive owners to learn more about the current bee situation, and what they can do to help. Educational, philanthropic and downright delicious, we suspect it won’t be too long before the masses are buzzing about this new business.


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Maria Grazia Chiuri took us back to nature at Dior’s SS20 show at Paris Fashion Week

Flowers have always been a significant motif for the house of Dior. Blame it on the founder’s undying love for his garden. But when Maria Grazia Chiuri opened Paris Fashion Week with Dior’s Spring-Summer 2020 collection, there was a deeper meaning behind her decision to speak to the idea of nature.

It felt like the designer was trying, in many ways, to return to the wondrous beauty of the natural world. To the idea that nature is something to marvel at and to get lost in — as opposed to the subject of collective anxiety it has become. Of course, any nod to the environment in the context of fashion cannot be made without acknowledging the historically wasteful practices of the industry. So, the show’s set was festooned with 164 trees and was erected in collaboration with Coloco (a collective of urban landscapers striving to imbue contemporary landscapes with nature) so that after the show, the trees were taken to be used in sustainability projects in and around Paris.

The collection itself was also, of course, a sartorial nod to the natural world. Tones of blue, green and beige weaved their way across the classic Chiuri silhouettes. Boxy jackets met boyfriend shirts as the designer offered a line up that combined elevated, practical pieces (pieces we could see ourselves wearing every day) and utterly exquisite tailoring and gowns. Much of Chiuri’s success at Dior has come down to her ability to design investment-worthy pieces that can actually be worn by her customers (the collection offered up a new version of the Dior combat boots that we instantly fell in love with), and SS20 seemed no exception.

From the organic-looking textiles to the leafy motifs to the high-fashion gardener hats and the continued presence of raffia, this collection felt anchored in the context of its time and was a visually arresting reminder to love and look after our environment.

These were some of our favourite looks…


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Stepping up to the plate — Auckland’s most sustainable dishes

The expectations restaurant-goers have for dishes that are sustainable and story-rich is at an all-time high, and it’s putting provenance in the spotlight. Encouraging all of us to change our habits, and care more about where our food is coming from, these are our picks of some of the best sustainable dishes being served.

Whole-baked Flounder from Orphans Kitchen
In the world of fishing, ‘the bigger the better’ seems to be a recurring theme, judging by the various competitions that give first place to the largest fish (which is not a sustainable practice). This idea can translate to chronic over-fishing too, which often leaves fish populations depleted and ecosystems suffering. It’s an issue Tom Hishon, co-owner and head chef at Orphans Kitchen is keenly aware of and is why he puts such a strong emphasis on sourcing only the most sustainable fish for his restaurant. As such, it is the Flounder that Hishon turns to, prized for the way it reproduces in large quantities and its rapid pace of growth. Calling it one of the most sustainable fish to serve, Hishon explains that he sources his Yellowbelly Flounder from John at Awatoru Wild Food, an artisanal fishing and wild food supplier based on the Kapiti Coast. John has been commercially fishing Flounder out of the Kaipara Harbour from his humble boat since the 1960s and chefs around New Zealand, including Hishon, say his catch is second to none. (Pictured above)

Pressed Pig Face from Culprit

Staying true to their signature, innovative style, Kyle Street and Jordan MacDonald of Culprit have taken the idea of a classic pork belly and reimagined it as a game-changing dish with sustainability at its core. Sourcing pig faces from Freedom Farms (where the pigs are all traceable and raised under strict free-range conditions) the chefs are shining a light on some of the “less-loved cuts of the animal,” in a refined, delicious way. Compressing the meat, jowl and cheeks of the pig’s head into a clean, rectangular shape, the different layers and types of meat used lend an intriguing spectrum of textures to the plate. Served with a creamy roast shallot purée, chard, radicchio leaves, fresh persimmon and apple jus that elevates the pork with its refreshing tanginess, this dish exemplifies the magic that can be made from ingredients that might otherwise have gone to waste.

Flower Pot from Miann

Chocolate is a mouth-watering treat that has long been the ultimate indulgence. But the cacao that it’s made from is often cultivated via processes that perpetuate unjust working conditions and child slave labour. Ensuring that the so-called ‘universally loved’ chocolate is truly enjoyable for everyone, including the makers, Miann sources its cacao beans from transparent traders such as Uncommon and Meridian Cacao, and makes all of its own delectable chocolate in-house. Miann’s Flower Pot dessert comprises an edible chocolate pot filled with roasted pears, herbs grown from their own gardens and a rich chocolate brownie sorbet made from organic beans from the Maya Mountains. Information of its origins, including how much the farmer is getting paid and how many women are working in the farms, is investigated by Miann before any ingredient is used, as they believe that no amount of salted caramel can cover up the unpleasant taste of supporting unfair practices.

The Moroccan from Wise Boys Burgers

It is undeniable that a classic, medium-rare burger is delicious. Almost as undeniable as the excessive resources needed to raise the cattle to create it. Reportedly, the environmental impact of one traditional burger patty is the equivalent output of driving 2.5 kilometres in an efficient car. In light of such, and in a bid to shift our collective penchant for producing and eating meat, Wise Boys Burgers has created a vegan alternative that not only makes less of an impact but is also unbelievably, finger-lickingly good. Comprising pillowy-soft buns made by none other than The Dusty Apron (also behind the bread at establishments like Ostro and Saint Alice) The Moroccan soaks up every last drop of Wise Boys’ vegan garlic aioli (made from locally sourced ingredients). In place of succulent meat, the burger harnesses the power of nature with its flavourful spiced kumara patty that sits perfectly alongside the classic combo of tomato, red onion and lettuce.

Big Glory Bay Salmon Pastrami on Rye from Euro Bar & Restaurant

Image supplied

Named the Most Sustainable Farmed Salmon in the World by Monterey Bay in 2017, Big Glory Bay’s salmon are grown and farmed under strict rules that focus on the wellbeing of the fish and protecting their natural environment. It is Best Aquaculture Practices certified and its processes result in healthier fish that boast an undeniably superior flavour from their mass-farmed cousins. As such, it was a no-brainer for Head Chef of Euro Bar & Restaurant, Adam Rickett, to showcase this salmon in all its glory for his Salmon Pastrami dish. Highlighting its succulence by simply curing the fish while keeping all the natural vibrancy and melt-in-your-mouth quality intact, Rickett serves the salmon on crisp rye toast, adorns it with herbed cream to elevate the richness and finishes it off with speckles of salmon caviar cured by the chef, lending beguiling bursts of umami.

Maewoontang from Han Restaurant

The maewoontang is a traditional Korean fish soup that sees fish bones, heads and tails boiled down into a flavourful broth. It is an ideal way of making use of parts of the fish that would usually be cast aside and is as nutritious as it is delicious. Inspired by the way the maewoontang reduces waste, Head Chef and Owner of modern Korean restaurant Han, Min Baek, decided to pay tribute to the dish he had enjoyed throughout his childhood growing up in Busan — the seafood capital of South Korea — and put his own maewoontang on Han’s menu. To create the dish, he collects all the bones, heads and tails of the fish that come into his kitchen (all of which are line-caught instead of net-caught by Leigh Fisheries), and over time, collects enough to make a fish stock for the base of the soup, achieving a deep umami flavour similar to an intensified dashi.

Venison Heart from Cazador

Eating sustainably doesn’t have to involve giving up meat, as Dariush Lolaiy showcases at his renowned Auckland restaurant, Cazador. The wild meats on his menu are sourced directly from New Zealand hunters — ensuring that the animal’s heart has stopped beating before it hits the ground. So concerned is Lolaiy with the provenance of the meat he serves, that he frequently gets his dad to go hunting for him, just to be sure that his sustainable standards are thoroughly adhered to. Beyond his thoughtful sourcing practices, Lolaiy makes sure to use every part of the hunted animal — nose to tail — in his dishes, mitigating the wasteful practices of only consuming a few specific parts and making one animal go a lot further. It also makes the diners at Cazador open their minds to dishes that they would have likely never tried before.


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The founders of cult brand Glow Recipe tell us what’s next in the world of K-Beauty

K-beauty continues to dominate the beauty world, with ‘glass skin’ and the ’10-step routine’ being just a few of the many phrases now used in common parlance by beauty editors and skincare novices alike. K-Beauty products themselves are not merely being stocked on the shelves, but are being given their own specific space in major beauty stores — and there’s one brand, in particular, that’s skyrocketed to skincare stardom: Glow Recipe, renowned for its buffet of innovative, all-natural Korean products.

Its founders, beauty veterans Sarah Lee and Christine Chang, have since become two of the most respected voices in the industry. And as such, we figured now is a better time than any to sit down with the duo and get to know the brand — here’s everything we learned about Glow Recipe, K-Beauty, and what’s going to be the next biggest thing in beauty.

Christine Change (left) and Sarah Lee (right)

How long have you both worked in the beauty industry?
Christine — Sarah and I have been in the beauty industry for 15 plus years each. We met when we were just starting out at L’Oreal Korea and have been friends ever since -— we even moved to New York at the same time, where we worked at L’Oreal US, working on different brands.

How did Glow Recipe come about? 
Sarah — Christine and I were de-stressing over wine and sheet masks one evening when we realised that we were both working on projects inspired by Korean beauty technologies. As the only two employees in the L’Oreal NY office that had experience in both the US and Korean markets, we knew that we’d uniquely be able to leverage our combined 20 years of bi-cultural beauty industry experience to create a successful company — thus Glow Recipe was born.

What are the biggest challenges you have faced with the brand? 
Christine — In the beginning, there were definitely a lot of growing pains. We had been marketers and product developers our entire lives but had to figure out how to put together a site, design emails, deal with warehousing, legal issues, trademarking from scratch — we were constantly Googling to figure things out. We learned about running a business in a very hands-on way, but wouldn’t change this experience for anything.

When developing a new product, what are the most important things you take into account? 
Natural ingredients are a big part of our Korean heritage and tradition. When we would visit Korean bath houses when we were young, only natural ingredients were used. At the time we didn’t understand why, but now we understand that green tea is filled with soothing antioxidants and the lactic acid in milk aids in smoothing your skin. It has always been important to us to harness the power of these natural ingredients, as they are highly potent and antioxidant-powered for the skin. Aside from ingredients, we also focus on the sensoriality of skincare, from playful, innovative textures to tactile packaging.

When did you know that you had ‘made it’ with Glow Recipe? 
Christine — When we launched our OG Watermelon Sleeping Mask, we were so shocked and humbled by the support. Having sold out multiple times and having a waiting list thousands long, having our namesake brand launch be so well received was beyond our wildest dreams.

Are there any upcoming launches in the pipeline? 
Sarah — We have some amazing launches coming down the line this year that we are truly excited about. Currently, we’re focused on expanding within skincare — there are a lot of new innovations that we’re excited to introduce into the category, including a ‘skincare-makeup hybrid.’

Are there any misconceptions that surround K-beauty?
A common misconception that we always aim to dispel is the idea that a Korean beauty regimen is 10-steps, making it seem excessive and unnecessary when that’s truly not the case. K-Beauty is all about personalising your routine to work for you. When we realised this misconception was becoming a barrier for the skincare community to avoid purchasing and experiencing K-beauty, we had our ‘Aha!’ moment and decided to create our in-house brand, Glow Recipe Skincare, which we launched in 2017 in the US.

What are the biggest upcoming trends in K-Beauty? 
Sarah — We’re in love with the K-beauty “fog mist” trend, or 안개 (ahn-gae) mists. In Korean, ‘fog’ is called ‘ahngae’, which also has a dual meaning of baby’s breath flowers. Fog mists are ultra-fine mists that disperse so finely that you feel like you’re walking into a fog of hydration. The great thing about a fog mist is that they do all the heavy lifting of a regular mist but in this ultra-fine spray that envelops you.

What’s the biggest skincare tip you can give?
Sarah — The main Korean skincare tip we can give is patting your skincare in to aid absorption. (We created a fun video that ended up going viral, which explained the ‘7 Skin Method,’ where you pat in a toner or mist seven times in a row to drive the product deeper into skin’s layers.) Fast movements cause friction, and over time it can cause micro-tears in your skin, while tugging and pulling at the skin can contribute to wrinkles.

Glow Recipe is available locally from MECCA.


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This thrilling day trip might just be the ultimate way to escape the city

Giving us unprecedented access to some of the most beautiful vistas and experiences this country has to offer, Heletranz flies its customers from its heliport in Auckland to a number of arresting locations. But between Waiheke lunches and fishing adventures, there’s one Heletranz excursion delivering something particularly special. 

The Great Barrier Island Experience is one of Heletranz’s most impressive offerings. Able to be tailored to suit the customer, the thrilling day trip will see you flown over to the serene, untouched coastline of Great Barrier Island and given a number of exciting options for the day’s adventures.

Avid outdoorsmen can opt for a spot of heli-fishing, an activity in which Heletranz is recognised as a pioneer and one that provides access to some of the best fishing spots in New Zealand. Heli-surfing, on the other hand, will see the helicopter land at a secluded East Coast beach, giving surfers the unique opportunity to catch some stellar swell.

Those seeking a more food-focused affair can choose to embark on a secluded picnic lunch, with the picnic prepared by Heletranz according to individual taste, or can opt for a tasty stop-over at Sawmill Brewery.

One of Heletranz’s most enticing, all-encompassing experiences, this excursion is sure to be one to remember. 


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5 minutes with a foodie: We chat to Nick Brown from Cook & Nelson

Cook & Nelson supplies New Zealand with a raft of exceptional food and beverage products from artisans both here and overseas, including McClure’s Pickles and Seedlip. Co-Founder, Nick Brown tells us how he turned a passion for food into a thriving business. 

What inspired you to start working with food? My mum was a cook and a chef and so for me, working in kitchens, being around food, sitting around a table as a family for dinner… it sounds cliché but that was very much an anchorage of my childhood. That’s how my wife, Becs and I socialise, we will gather in the kitchen and cook for our friends.

How do you select the products you sell on Cook & Nelson? We look for products that we want but that might not have a strong local or domestic production. We made a decision early on that the products we stocked would have to add value to the market — we didn’t want to just add noise to the shelf. 

What do you think has been the biggest driver of your success so far? I do demonstrations once a month and become one of those annoying people at the supermarket. Saying that, I learn so much by watching people and listening to the things that matter to them. If we stepped away from doing that, we would run the risk of becoming a company that shoves stuff down people’s throats as opposed to finding out what they want and responding. 

Are you aware that you are one of the pioneers of pickle culture in this town? If we’ve done anything, we’ve inspired local and domestic producers to have a crack at creating a better product, and I welcome that. Rather than creating competition, we wanted to create an opportunity. If there is a pickle culture, it’s because other people are in that space now too — everybody should be eating more pickles!

What does the future look like for Cook & Nelson?
Joe from McClure’s Pickles says that he’s been in the first year of his five year plan for the past 10 years and I think that’s a good way to look at it. It’s not about the end goal, it’s about being present in the moment. I feel fortunate to be sharing the business with my wife and to be raising our kids, and every day I try to take a moment to be appreciative of that because otherwise, what’s the point?w


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Fisher & Paykel integrated column refrigerator and freezer and built-in oven

These dreamy kitchens are showing us why integrated appliances are the only way to go

The kitchen has moved away from its origins as a tucked-away room used solely for practical purposes. It has become a site for the flexing of interior design muscles, a meeting place where family and friends can gather and talk about their days and a space where sleek finishes have become as important as they are in the living or bedrooms.

A massive part of this transition has been in the treatment of appliances. Necessary for a kitchen to fulfil its function but not always in fitting with the space’s overarching aesthetic, the question of how to deal with appliances is crucial if one is to feel their kitchen represents the look of the rest of their home.

Luckily, Fisher & Paykel, a pioneer of the modern kitchen, is offering a number of integration options that allow homeowners to not only have a line-up of innovative appliances at their fingertips but to make those appliances fit seamlessly into their spaces. From refrigerators to rangehoods to Fisher & Paykel’s signature DishDrawers and CoolDrawers, the brand’s lauded range is able to be made with custom panels to match existing cabinetry, and slots so seamlessly into a space that at a glance, you wouldn’t even know it was there. In kitchens where a stainless steel refrigerator door, for example, would stand out like a sore thumb, this is an ideal option.

If you feel like your kitchen needs a refresh, or are unsure how on earth you’re going to make a bulky dishwasher or refrigerator work in a small or open-plan space, these beautifully-appointed kitchens, each boasting full suites of Fisher & Paykel appliances, should serve as all the inspiration you need.

Fisher & Paykel integrated French door fridge and 11 function Black oven
Photographer: Katherine Lu, Designer: Arent & Pyke (Studio: Surry Hills, Sydney)
Fisher & Paykel integrated French door fridge and gas on steel cooktop
Photographer: Katherine Lu, Design: In association with Fisher and Paykel. Designer: Three Birds renovations
Fisher & Paykel integrated column refrigerator and freezer and Built-in oven with combination microwave oven above
Photographer: Simon Wilson, Designer: Rogan Nash Architects
Fisher & Paykel integrated CoolDrawerTM multi-temperature drawer
Photographer: Sarah Elliot. Designer: @eyeswoon
Left: Fisher & Paykel gas-on-glass cooktop, built-in oven and DishDrawer | Right: Fisher & Paykel integrated French door fridge
Photographer: Katherine Lu,  Design: Baldwin & Bagnall Project 


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Deadly Ponies Mare of Diomedes scarf

4 reasons why a silk scarf is the most versatile accessory to wear this season

There is a kind of delightful nostalgia attached to the silk scarf. Wrap it around your head with a pair of cat-eye sunglasses and some red lipstick and you’re channelling screen sirens from the golden era of Hollywood. Or tie it around your neck and look as though you’ve come straight from La Rive Gauche.

Recently, the silk scarf has been experiencing something of a resurgence. No longer reserved for elegant, conservative grandmothers, the scarf is being used in outfits we wouldn’t have previously expected, styled in ways that add dimension and intrigue to an outfit. Here are four of our favourite.

1.The new wave bandana
You probably dabbled in the bandana at some point in the 00s. Despite it being a favourite back then, it would seem the style has returned — albeit in a slightly elevated way. Take a larger silk scarf and wrap it around your head so that it covers the top and ties at the back. If that’s too nostalgic for you, simply tie the scarf under your chin for a more classic look.

2.The exaggerated pony bow
Ponytail accoutrements are having a serious moment, so it’s hardly surprising that the scarf has been co-opted to the cause as well. Whether you sport short or long hair, an exaggerated scarf tied around a ponytail or bun will accentuate the sleekness of the style and make you feel undeniably chic.

3.The wrist wrap
Give your bracelets a break and wrap a thin silk scarf around your wrist instead. An easy way to add a touch of colour to your outfit without committing to a full neck-scarf look, this option offers a happy middle ground.

4.The bag accessory
Take your scarf off your head and wrap it around the handle of your favourite handbag to lend it new life. A great way to play with colours, use the tones of the scarf to bring our similar or complementary ones in the bag itself.

Left to right: Scarf with horses and feline print from Gucci, Desperado bandeau scarf from Louis Vuitton, Bandana bridle scarf from Deadly Ponies, Jonas Wood X Louis Vuitton Artysquare 70 scarf from Louis Vuitton, Empire large scarf from Deadly Ponies, Toile de Jouy Carnivora pink Mitzah scarf from Dior and Toile de Jouy Carnivora white square scarf from Dior.


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Prawn shao-mai
Sunny Town
Beef noodles

We find out what all the fuss is about at Lorne St’s Sunny Town

During a recent lunch break I took a stroll through Auckland’s CBD and while wandering along Lorne St I passed Sunny Town. When this eatery first opened in 2018, the queue was too long for my impatient tendencies and I never quite made it through the door. Fast forward to today and there’s still a long line of customers willing to wait for a table at Sunny Town, which told me that for the hype to continue, there must be something pretty special about this place. My interest was piqued all over again, and this time, I wasn’t going to let a line deter me.

Sunny Town

I returned the following day with my Denizen foodie confidant Clara. We strategically decided to go at 1:30pm, after the lunch rush, and were still greeted with a long line of customers. Thankfully Sunny Town runs a fast-paced operation, where people simply eat and exit as soon as they’re done. Diners order at the counter, and by the time they take a seat, the food arrives in almost an instant. The menu is categorised into three sections — Noodles and Wontons, Buns and Porridge, and Drinks making the ordering an easy task.

What we ordered:
– Sauced pork buns
– Vegetable buns
– Prawn shao-mai
– Dandan noodles
– Beef noodles

Watching the chefs kneading, rolling and filling the buns while we waited for a table put our expectations high, and when the buns eventually arrived at our table, they didn’t disappoint. With a pillowy-soft texture that I attributed to the fact that they are rolled, filled and steamed to order — a rarity in this town — the sauced pork buns were so soft and saucy, they reminded me of a meat pie, a very very good one. Not to be outshone, the vegetable buns were filled with vibrant greens and boasted a fresh and earthy flavour that was also utterly delicious.

Sauced pork bun

At Denizen, we love dumplings of all shapes and types, from gyoza to Italian ravioli and now Sunny Town’s prawn shao-mai is also firmly on our list of favourites. The skin of the shao-mai was thin with a gentle chewiness but it was the filling that stole the show for us. An unbelievably juicy pork mince with a plump prawn, it was almost like a xialongbao and we could have easily consumed a dozen more.

The dandan noodles were a feast for the eyes. A deep bowl was filled with chilli oil and pork mince that had been infused into a soup and sprinkled with sesame seeds. Unlike most of the dandan noodles I’ve had in the past which left me feeling heavy and with a numbed tongue (which I love), this one was more refined, stripped back and clean-tasting. The soup included Sichuan peppercorns which Sunny Town actually imports from the Sichuan province in China and despite having the numbing effect I was expecting, were not overwhelmingly spicy. Surprisingly, the beef noodles were our favourite out of the two noodle dishes. The broth was comforting yet flavourful while the chunks of beef were tender — the perfect meal for when you’re feeling under the weather.

Dandan noodles

I was admittedly quite dubious about Sunny Town before this experience. The combination of its modern and spotless fit-out, food that was ready to serve in a questionably short amount of time and the fact that it’s a franchise in China had me second-guessing its authenticity and integrity. However, the flavours of each dish speak otherwise. It’s simple things like the fact that the broths for the noodles are prepared in large quantities in the morning so that they gain more flavour as they brew, and the dumplings and buns are made fresh to order all day, every day by hand. Sunny Town is ultimately reshaping people’s perceptions of Chinese food, proving that authenticity doesn’t have to be served in a rustic restaurant that’s located on Dominion Road. I for one will be returning very soon.

Opening hours:
Monday — Saturday: 10:30am until 8:30pm
Sunday: 10:30am until 3pm

Sunny Town

10-14 Lorne Street
Auckland CBD


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