From left: Clay founders Brendan Manning and Dan Gillett; Cotto co-head chef Hayden Phiskie

K’ Road’s new guard: Meet the owner-operators championing handmade pasta and natural wine

Having long been the breeding ground for independent thinkers and those who eschew the traditional, Karangahape Road’s new generation of hospitality operators are contributing exuberantly to the area’s vibrant heart and soul, firmly establishing it as a destination for both gastronomic pleasure and rollicking good times.

We spoke to the owners of natural wine bar Clay and handmade pasta restaurant Cotto about how K’ Road has become the go-to for diners seeking superb food in unpretentious settings, and what they love about the area.

Halfway down Karangahape Road, Dan Gillett and Brendan Manning, co-owners of natural wine bar Clay, are adding to the sense of culinary allure to the street. They launched their venture with a clear shared ambition, “From day one, our focus has been to have the most exciting wine offering in Auckland.” 

Having opened in December last year, Clay has proved itself a welcome addition to Karangahape Road’s varied gastronomic scene, with its large, banquet-style shared table, mosaic floor and sun-trapping courtyard out the back. 

With organic and biodynamically-grown, low-intervention wines only rising in popularity in New Zealand, Gillett in particular has been a key part of this movement on our shores through his import and distribution company Wine Diamonds. After meeting Manning in London at — where else — a natural wine bar, the two lamented the lack of establishments in New Zealand pouring the types of wines they liked to drink, and the idea for Clay was to be realised some two years later. 

With a 200-strong selection of bottles in the space’s five temperature-controlled fridges, Clay attracts a variety of demographics from regulars who come in for dinner each week, to couples on date night and families having a catch-up. “We don’t just tick the box for one demographic of people,” says Manning. 

Clay

Changing weekly, chef Ray O’Connor’s menus revolve around inventive but never over-complicated sharing plates. There’s always a sourdough pizza or two, a handmade pasta (O’Connor’s speciality) and usually a good proportion of vegetable-focused dishes to boot. The food fits with Gillett and Manning’s philosophy of simplicity done well.

As for the bar’s location, they wouldn’t want it to be anywhere else in the city, says Gillett. “K’ Road appealed a long time ago, and it still does. One of the reasons it’s become so interesting is it’s one of the last remaining affordable places to rent in Auckland, that’s still close enough to where everyone is. There’s everything you need here, be it public transport or options for dining, drinking, galleries and more.”

“I think it also makes it a lot more authentic,” adds Manning, “because it’s not been set out in a very strategic way. It’s a lot more organic the way people have come here, and I think now that’s reflected in the way it’s more of a dining destination, a dining precinct even, that you don’t even have to walk 100 metres on K’ Road and there will be somewhere nice to drink.”

Despite the obvious recent challenges, the duo are optimistic about the future of Auckland’s hospitality industry as a whole. “In any period of downturn, it forces the competition to work harder, to be better, to improve on their offering and not become complacent,” says Gillett. The pressure’s on, he says, but ultimately he thinks it’s for the good of the industry. “If we have to work harder for it, that’s good for us, it’s good for the customer, and overall it’s good for the industry because we improve on what we’re doing, and we can take ourselves to a point where we can stand head to head with bigger, more popular cities around the world.”

Manning agrees: “During the time that I’ve been in Auckland, I’ve never seen such an inspiring range of hospitality offerings. It’s great to have that energy in the industry, for both the people in it, and for the people who live here coming to experience it.”

Across the street, Cotto has had a large part to play in channelling this energy. Its menu is a love letter to the beauty and satisfaction of handmade pasta, and a testament to the power of honing in on a singular vision. So too is the fact that, at peak dinnertime most nights, there’s roughly a two-hour wait to get a table.  

Cotto chefs Hayden Phiskie (left of right image) and John Pountney

Helmed by chefs Hayden Phiskie and John Pountney, Cotto started life as a pop-up in 2017, inside what was then 69 bar at 375 Karangahape Road. Shortly after, 69 had run its course and Cotto, which had been immensely popular even then, took over the premises. 

“For John and I, it was important to have a concise offering,” explains Phiskie. “It terrifies me when I see a huge menu, when people try and do something to appeal to everyone. How do they do that? How is it fresh, and how is everything going to be good?” 

Sticking with a seasonally-focused selection of handmade pastas, plus a handful of protein and vegetable options should someone not want (or not be able to eat) the aforementioned, Cotto’s exquisite dishes are affordable, designed for sharing, and come out as and when they’re ready — not a new concept by any means, but at the time of its creation, there wasn’t anyone doing the same thing with pasta that Phiskie loved about visiting any one of Auckland’s noodle or dumpling houses. 

“We want everyone to feel welcome and for Cotto to be inclusive,” says Phiskie. “That’s our main objective. I really love it when we see the customer base. It sounds cheesy, but I don’t want to make it exclusive to people of a certain bracket — it’s a good business decision too, but I just think it’s awesome that everyone can come and feel comfortable.” 

Indeed, looking around on any given night at Cotto, which does a roaring trade in group bookings thanks to the size of the space (and a new, large function room upstairs), one might see a family gathering, a table of friends starting their night out with a plate of pasta, work functions, and more. It echoes the Cotto team’s love for K’ Road and all its various walks of life co-existing. 

As for its steady transformation into a dining destination, Phiskie remembers how different things were even a decade ago. “Ten years ago you wouldn’t come to K’ Road [to eat] — maybe you’d go to Coco’s, but usually you’d walk down and maybe go to a club. Now, you come and dine here, it’s so cool.”

While each plate at Cotto is visually beautiful, at its core pasta is food that lacks pretension — no microgreens or smears here. “That’s the cool thing about pasta, you get rid of all that bullshit. You can only put, like, three flavours on a plate and every one of those flavours has to be really strong. There’s nowhere to hide.”

Cotto will always be synonymous with Karangahape Road, says Phiskie. He also believes there’s a lifespan to restaurants, but says “I don’t think we’ve hit that yet.” The restaurant’s legions of loyal diners are sure to agree. 

Gastronomy


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Looking for your new favourite novel? Pick up one of these noteworthy books

Some say reading is a lost art, but how could it be when the calibre of new books coming out is so high? These are our top fiction picks.

Real Life by Brandon Taylor
The story of a young, Black, Queer man who moves from Alabama to attend a mostly-white, mid-western university, Real Life is the searing, partly autobiographical debut by Brandon Taylor that asks: what is real life?

Luster A Novel by Raven Leilani
Another stunning debut, this widely-acclaimed razor sharp and darkly comic novel follows a young woman navigating uncertain worlds as she falls into her art at the same time that she finds herself embroiled in someone else’s open marriage.

Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid
With a narrative underpinned by race and privilege, this story unfolds from an unfortunate event in which its protagonist Emira, a young, Black babysitter, is accused of kidnapping the white child she was hired to watch, setting her and her influential employer on a complicated journey of discovery. 

Death in Her Hands by Ottessa Moshfegh
After discovering an ominous note about the murder of a woman named Magda, an elderly widow is shaken. With no evidence and no clues, the protagonist’s obsession with imagining what happened starts unveiling truths in the real world. Masterfully and provocatively told, this haunting tale is a study in suspense.

Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi
Love and loss, addiction and redemption frame this poignant novel. Following the story of a family that has moved from Ghana to Alabama and the traumas they have carried with them through generations, this bold narrative takes us on a journey into the hidden heart of contemporary America.

Antkind by Charlie Kaufman
From the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Being John Malkovich, this stellar debut tells the story of a neurotic film critic who stumbles upon what he thinks is the greatest movie ever made. He is the only one to have seen it when the sole copy is destroyed, setting him on a journey to remake its magic. A richly-layered story, Antkind cuts to the heart of the human condition. 

Utopia Avenue by David Mitchell
Following “the most curious British band you’ve never heard of,” the latest work from David Mitchell traces the rising star of a fictional band in London in the 1960s. From riots to revolutions to the hedonistic culture of this infamous era, Utopia Avenue is a rich coming-of-age story that celebrates the power of music. 

The Heatwave by Kate Riordan
A mysterious dead girl, family secrets and scorching heat collide in this sultry and gripping mystery novel set in provincial France in the 90s. Who was Elodie? What has Sylvie been hiding about her daughter? And why does something feel off in the small town of La Reverie? Don’t expect to be able to put this one down.

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A polished new bar opens on Auckland’s waterfront, concocting classic cocktails with a local twist

Amidst the new Park Hyatt Auckland’s extensive hospitality offering is a polished, decadent bar that we’d gladly while away a few hours winding down from a long day’s work — or, if you’re lucky, a day on the water.

Opulent yet not ostentatious, Captain’s Bar will have you feeling at home as soon as you walk in, with its dark leather couches, wooden walls and impressive granite fireplace. Concocting classic cocktails with a local twist that draw on an extensive list of fortified spirits, the main focus of Captain’s Bar is rum, of which there are 60 varieties on offer.

While Auckland has long embraced gin and whisky as championed spirits on cocktail menus, the team at Park Hyatt Auckland noticed a lack of recognition for rum, a spirit executive chef Brent Martin came to understand from his time living in the Caribbean.

As well as a comprehensive list of craft beers, wines, and spirits by the glass, expect a hefty selection of delicious cocktails. From the N3 which blends Plantation 3 Stars Silver Rum, coconut water, Falernum – a fragrant syrup – and spiced pineapple juice; to the N10 comprising Mt Gay XO rum, Disaronno Amaretto, Frangelico, dark chocolate and bitters, the selection is appetisingly unique.

The food menu has been designed to complement the drinks offering perfectly, with a focus on Latin-style tapas, snacks and sharing platters. Find the likes of spicy chorizo patatas bravas, Caribbean prawn ceviche tostadas, and signature Kikorangi cheese empanadas made with a recipe that runs in the family of Captain’s Bar chef Leandro Minelli.

While the evenings are still cool, we’ll be cosying up by the fireplace, and when the mercury rises we recommend taking advantage of balmier nights on the outdoor terrace, soaking up the stunning view over the water and the cityscape. With a delicious cocktail in hand, conjuring to mind a tropical island, what could be better?

Captain's Bar
Park Hyatt Auckland
99 Halsey Street,
Auckland

www.hyatt.com

Gastronomy


Denizen’s definitive guide to the best pizza in town

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Your first look at Amaia of Takapuna, the development bringing a new generation of apartment living to the North Shore

Auckland city’s reputation as one of the country’s most desirable places to live is set to be further solidified with an exciting, brand new development.

Promising to introduce a new type of urban neighbourhood to the North Shore, Amaia of Takapuna has been designed by award-winning architects Jasmax and developed by KBS Capital, with a view to combining city-edge living with beach-side leisure. 

Situated at 48 Esmonde Road, the development will offer 81 premium, freehold apartments, overlooking a central civic plaza and surrounded by green spaces, creating a connection to nature and the waterfront. 

The apartments will comprise one, two or three-bedroom configurations, with either integrated balconies or internal winter gardens, and each abode is elegantly designed to feature natural timber floors and quality fittings within. 

Set to appeal as much to nature-lovers as to those after the convenience and ease of apartment living, Amaia is surrounded by a 7,000m2 green reserve and also located close to State Highway 1, Akoranga Bus Station and within walking or cycling distance to both Takapuna and Auckland’s east coast beaches.

With a master plan inspired by canopies of forest islands, Amaia’s apartments are situated on an island-like formation offering stunning views of the water. A seafront boardwalk on the southern side will look towards Auckland City and the Waitematā Harbour, providing the sense of space and calm that only the ocean can bring.

A highly-connected urban village by design, Amaia has been designed with walkability and livability in mind, and communal courtyard-level retail, fitness, cafe and restaurant offerings, combined with Amaia’s close proximity to Takapuna, will mean everything one needs is within reach.

The diverse range of apartment options is sure to appeal to a broad spectrum of potential buyers, including first home-buyers as well as downsizers, New Zealanders returning from overseas, couples, young families and singles. 

Amaia of Takapuna’s pre-sales launch this Friday 23rd October, with a 400 sqm display suite opening to the public at 10 Northcroft Street — Takapuna’s well-known The Department Store site. Perfect for anyone wanting to get a feel for the development, the display suite will bring to life a premium apartment floor plan including bedroom, kitchen, bathroom and living area. 

With Auckland’s growing population, ever-longer commutes and decreasing accessibility of real estate close to the city centre, Amaia of Takapuna is set to be an in-demand solution for living, with a worthy emphasis on a lifestyle of connection, health, wellbeing and community. 

Amaia of Takapuna display suite
10 Northcroft Street
Monday to Sunday: 10am — 3pm

www.amaialiving.co.nz

Design


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Cocktail lovers, this limited edition mixology kit is here to bring happy hour to your house

When the cocktail craving hits, we usually want the amount of time between shaken and sipped to be as short and effortless as possible. 

Having launched earlier this year to the palpable joy of tipple fans everywhere, the cocktail boxes by the drinks experts at Black Pineapple have now had a new, limited edition kit added to the fold, in collaboration with Glenmorangie whisky. 

Delivered conveniently to one’s door, the new Glenmorangie Department of Deliciousness kits each come with three easy-to-follow cocktail recipes, harnessing a combination of zesty, juicy, sweet and silky flavours.

Spanning a fresh and fizzy Highball, a bittersweet take on an Old Fashioned and a zesty Sour, there’s sure to be something for every taste, making these boxes a brilliant gift for the tipple purveyor in your life — or a treat for yourself. 

Included in the kits is a 700ml bottle of Glenmorangie The Original 10 Year Old and a handmade cocktail cordial that incorporates the flavours of stone fruit tea, floral sheep’s sorrel and honey sourced from Bees Up Top rescue beehives on Karangahape Road. 

With a scent of citrus and ripening peaches, softened by the aroma of vanilla, and a lingering aftertaste of hints of orange and peach, Glenmorangie The Original 10 Year Old is a delicious single malt Scotch whisky by a distiller that has been honing its craft for more than 175 years.

Each Department of Deliciousness cocktail is sure to look as professional as if it were purchased at a bar thanks to locally-sourced garnishes and the requisite cocktail-making tools, including a shaker, bar spoon, ice tray and East Imperial soda.

With only 100 kits available for $130 each including nationwide delivery, you’d better get in quick when pre-orders go live on 21st October. Visit the Black Pineapple website to order, with deliveries commencing 9th November.

Gastronomy


Denizen’s definitive guide to the best pizza in town

new

Global milk tea sensation, Machi Machi, opens its first store in Auckland

Comfort food and bottomless coffee collide at Avondale’s delicious new cafe
Basecamp Power Yoga in Grey Lynn by Studio 11:11
Basecamp Power Yoga in Grey Lynn by Studio 11:11
Basecamp Power Yoga in Grey Lynn by Studio 11:11
Basecamp Power Yoga in Grey Lynn by Studio 11:11

A former warehouse undergoes a serene transformation into a yoga studio

Transforming a warehouse shell into an exercise studio, Studio 11:11 created a space that spoke to Basecamp Power Yoga’s inherent philosophies.

Requiring balance, poise and calm concentration, yoga is designed to train the mind as much as it is the body. And at Grey Lynn’s Basecamp Power Yoga, it’s something through which proponents can cultivate strength. It makes sense, then, that when asked to conceive Basecamp’s space in a warehouse complex, Studio 11:11 drew on similar qualities to inform its aesthetic. Here, raw solid concrete meets a light, neutral palette thanks to the use of Resene Half Tea on the walls, resulting in a space that feels resolutely calm.

Left to right: A805 Floor light by Alvar Aalto for Artek from Matisse, Civil bench by Cassina from Matisse, Alentes Mushroom side table from ECC, Ilary side table by Jean Marie Massaud for Poltrona Frau from Studio Italia, Gijs Loveseat by Piet Boon from ECC, Vase Incense holder by Walk in the Park from Tessuti
Create zen spaces of your own at home by balancing intriguing textures with calm tones. Neutral furniture will provide cosy spots for contemplation, while walls painted in colours like Resene Half Tea and Resene Colins Wicket will provide the perfectly subdued backdrop. To complete the look with a textural finish use Resene Sandtex.

Design


Past meets present in this stunning family home, set in a historic Victorian building

Here’s how to display your favourite pot plants like works of art

Plumy is the iconic 80s settee making a comfortable comeback

10 unconventional Christmas work party ideas that go beyond the usual

The standard Christmas work party is almost formulaic. Beginning with cocktails and polite conversation, followed by wine, beer and food before perhaps, a little dancing. Then, just as Grant from accounts is performing his ‘hilarious’ David Brent impression, and the intern is oversharing with the boss, you bundle up your belongings and call it a night. It’s fun, if not a little repetitive. So this year, in an endeavour to change up the Yuletide celebrations, we have rounded up 10 less predictable party plans so that you can mix things up a bit.

Cooking Classes at Auckland Fish Market (AFM)
Refining your cooking skills will definitely come in handy for the festive season as you’ll find yourself doing a fair share of hosting this summer. Use this as a team-building experience and encourage everyone in the office to get involved in a cooking class at Auckland Fish Market. This is your last chance to experience these classes before they close for good, so whether it’s a Caribbean seafood cook-off or an International street food feast, now’s the time to try this tasty activity.

Heletranz

Fly to a destination with Heletranz
Making chartering a helicopter easier than ever, Heletranz offers a range of day-trips to suit the needs of any group. Perfect for smaller offices seeking an elevated experience for the annual party, Heletranz will help to curate a day to remember. Whether it’s choppering over to Waiheke Island for a long, indulgent lunch, flying to Great Barrier Island for a day off the grid or arranging a more adventurous trip to some heli-fishing spots, whatever your vision for the Christmas do, Heletranz will take it to another level.

Opt for a day of activities at Kauri Bay Boomrock
This beautiful property, nestled in Clevedon (just south of Auckland) has long been a favourite for weddings and events, and aside from its obvious natural beauty, it’s the wide range of activities on offer at the property that makes it a serious contender for an elevated office Christmas party. Thrilling outdoor activities like clay bird shooting, extreme golf and archery sit alongside more food-focused pursuits like cooking challenges and wine and whisky tastings. For more information about everything on offer, click here.

Paintvine
Hosted by a local artist, wine and art collide at this cultured event where you are invited to first examine a famed work before picking up a palette and emulating it in your own style. The wildly popular series — with events rolling out across the city right up until the week of Christmas — can host private and corporate bookings for 15 to 150 people. It’s particularly entertaining for those with a competitive streak and provides a fitting chance for people to bring out their inner Picasso.

Clan VIII from Yacht Charter Fleet

Charter a boat
Give your employees an unforgettable experience on the water, by chartering a boat from Auckland Harbour. Sail across the calm waters under (hopefully) blue skies and toast to the end of the year in fine, seafaring fashion. Depending on the size of your group there are a number of options to choose from in Auckland but this is a good place to start.

Archie Brothers
Brought to us by the same people behind Holey Moley, Newmarket’s Archie Brothers is guaranteed to be a popular spot for end of year work functions with a range of party packages available. The space is decked out with something for everyone, offering a range of ways to keep your colleagues entertained, from Dance Dance Revolution, to a bowling alley, to VR games, and more. In addition to the 65+ gaming machines on offer, Archie Brothers also has an epic bar that serves decadent cocktails such as an espresso martini served with a whole Magnum ice cream. The perfect mix of fun and frivolity.

Pamper Sessions
Moving onto something more indulgent, East Day Spa’s Corporate Christmas Parties are a relaxing way for the bosses to show they care. With 12 individual treatment rooms (five of which can be double suites), a generous relaxation area, a steam room, and group manicure and pedicure lounge, it’s the dream way for small teams to round off the year. Boasting an all-encompassing array of treatments for men and women, you can discover more about the luxurious services here.

Ecozip Adventures

A day on Waiheke Island
Take the office on an island retreat to Waiheke for a day of fun-filled activities and, of course, a tour of the island’s elevated gastronomic offering. Start the day trip at Ecozip Adventures and get the most breath-taking views of Waiheke as you zip-line across the island. Then take the team to one of the many wineries for a long and relaxing lunch, and by ‘long,’ we mean stay until the sun goes down. Let us suggest a few of our favourites: Tantalus, Casita Miro and of course, Mudbrick.

Escape Rooms
Team bonding and seasonal get-together in one, if you haven’t yet tried to mastermind your way out of an escape room, now is the time to do it. Pitting team against team (or maybe management vs. others?), you and your colleagues will battle it out to solve the clues and break out of the room the fastest. There are plenty of options in Auckland, with Escape Masters, Great Escape, Escape Rooms NZ and Escapade being a few of the finest.

Rothko Restaurant at Sculptureum
Add a creative spin to your Christmas long lunch and dine at Rothko Restaurant, located in the heart of Matakana’s beautiful Sculptureum. Surrounded by gorgeous gardens and galleries, there really isn’t a restaurant quite like Rothko and the quality of the food that is served levels up to the idyllic location. With a farm-to-table approach, utilising only the finest ingredients of the season, a dining experience at Rothko is one you need to tick off the agenda and a Christmas party is the perfect excuse.

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Looking to lease a creative office space? Look no further

Centrally located in Auckland’s Victoria Quarter, on Sale Street, Denizen’s Headquarters are a much-admired creative office space. Renovated to the highest standard in 2018, and published in Denizen Modern Living, our offices are a true reflection of the Denizen brand.

With our previous tenants moving on, the opportunity has arisen for an appropriate, creatively minded tenant to move into the ground floor of our building. We have approximately 200sqm available for lease, which includes the shared use of an impressive kitchen and bar, boardroom and luxe bathrooms. The building also comes with plenty of undercover, secure parking.

Interested parties should email [email protected] for further information.

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Meet Elliot de Lautour of Fitness All Together, the dynamic exercise classes you need to try

Whether you’ve experienced Fitness All Together or not, you’ve likely heard of it, which is largely down to the tireless work of its founder, Elliot de Lautour. Rolling three workout trends — H.I.I.T (high intensity interval training), group training and outdoor exercise — into classes, de Lautour has not only tapped into the wellbeing zeitgeist in a meaningful way, but has cultivated a community, turning FAT (its tongue-in-cheek abbreviation) into a bona fide fitness phenomenon. What sets de Lautour apart is his focus on establishing a good mindset, strong social connections and living a life that is holistically healthy. 

I’ve always been active. I played rugby at a competitive level in my final years of high school and became fascinated with the effects that specific training and health had on the body. I went on to study exercise science and work in athlete development.

My passion for outdoor fitness came during a seven-year stint in Sydney, where they have an amazing life-before-work culture. Particularly in Bondi (where I was based) there were always so many people outside by the beach being active. So when it was time for me to move home, I wanted to find a way to ignite the outdoor fitness culture in New Zealand — with a holistic and functional approach. 

I started by just training a handful of friends which, over the last couple of years, has grown organically into an incredible community and a portfolio of corporate clients. We have also expanded into group fitness and wellness events in which we collaborate with Auckland’s top instructors and live musicians. These events are curated and immersive and create a unique experience that connects like-minded communities.

Kevin Pichot and Elliot de Lautour

One of my biggest learnings is resilience. Running a start-up is not easy and you really have to ride it out when times are tough. I have recently acquired a new business partner [Kevin Pichot] but before that I was running the business solo and wearing a lot of hats — social media manager, group fitness instructor, training manager, accountant and marketing manager. 

I’m very fortunate to have the ongoing supportof several business mentors. Some of my closest friends and family members are successful entrepreneurs and their guidance and advice has shaped some of how we operate today. 

The energy of and response from our FAT community is hugely motivating. Pushing people to achieve and exceed their fitness goals and watching my clients enjoy an experience that I’ve created feels great. 

Fitness All Together at Silo Park

Music plays a significant role in the ‘vibe’ of FAT which our regulars will attest to. We carefully curate our own playlists which is a big point of difference for us.

People need to be more aware of the dangers of over training. Listen to your body. You don’t always have to smash yourself in every session, it’s not sustainable. We advise clients not to come to more than 3 x FAT sessions a week. We encourage partnering our workouts with yoga, mobility and stretching on alternate days. This will ensure you have adequate rest and will avoid hormonal imbalances. 

People need to stop approaching fitness from purely an aesthetic standpoint. The benefits that exercise can have on mental health to me are far more important, powerful and intriguing than the way it can physically change the body. 

Fitness All Together at the Greenhouse, Grey Lynn

Women are always afraid that weight lifting will bulk them up. Weight lifting actually helps to burn fat and tone the body. Over time, this increases lean body mass, which increases the number of calories that are burnt each day. Don’t be scared to pick-up some dumbbells and kettlebells, you’ll be better for it!

I’ve just started to learn about breathwork. I have always had trouble keeping calm and composed when breathing especially when out surfing or doing laps in the pool. Being present and conscious in your breath can ground you in your immediate activity. 

My advice to people looking to get into fitness is to find a friend or colleague in the same position so that you can support each other and hold each other accountable. And maybe come and try a FAT class, we will look after you!

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House of Chocolate Cafe

From morning coffee to decadent dessert, these are the best places to eat and drink in Takapuna

When it comes to food and drink, Takapuna is one of Auckland’s steadily and consistently expanding areas. Whether its breakfast, lunch or dinner you’re seeking, a spot of dessert or even somewhere to sip a few cocktails, these are the best places in Takapuna to satisfy any and all cravings.

Morning fix
Ark Coffee Company
For artful coffee and surroundings, make your way along to Ark Coffee. Established by two sisters, Naomi and Ulala, who are passionate about an excellent brew, a Probat L25 takes centre stage at Ark, roasting the single origin and blended beans on site. Sip away on your favourite blend in store, or take a bag to go for a taste of Ark at home. In the warmer months, coffee jelly and espresso soft serve are a major draw card for a cooling coffee hit.  

Holy Shot

Holy Shot
In the heart of Takapuna sits Holy Shot, a cute spot serving up two essential ingredients guaranteed to get you through the day — coffee and doughnuts. From the early hours of the morning, the friendly and highly-skilled baristas at this local can be seen churning out fresh brews of Havana coffee. Days are made at Holy Shot thanks to its stellar service, premium coffee and of course, its assortment of tasty doughnuts from The Pie Piper.

Breakfast
Takapuna Beach Cafe and Store
There really isn’t anything quite like tucking into some delicious food surrounded by a breathtaking view, and Takapuna Beach Cafe and Store offers both. Complement the vista by opting for the scampi omelette with fennel and sautéed greens, served with a crispy slice of sourdough.

Honey Cafe
Although Honey Cafe does not have beachfront views, its quirky yet stylish space along with the quality of the food that comes from it, make it one of our favourite places for a morning bite. While its menu comprises a number of tasty breakfast dishes, the house red velvet pancakes are a must if you’re feeling decadent. The fluffy stack is served with blueberry compote and is adorned with fresh seasonal fruit, chocolate soil, honeycomb mascarpone and a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Mimosa
Proving that healthy eating needn’t be bland, Mimosa showcases how food can be tasty and nourishing. Its cabinet is stocked with sweet treats, fresh salads and sandwiches, making it a favourite among those who work in the area as the perfect place to get a fast and fulfilling meal. Mimosa’s impressive menu manages to cater to most, if not, all dietary requirements, with dishes like the balanced big breakfast coming complete with spicy tofu scramble and tempeh bacon. Don’t leave without sampling the matcha latte, a beverage so delicious it might just have you forgetting all about coffee.

Shake Out

Lunch
Shake Out
Inside Goodside at Smales Farm is Shake Out, the burger joint that has people from all over Auckland flocking across the bridge. Widely acknowledged as offering some of the best burgers in town, Shake Out’s signature buns are made from a blend of potato and pumpkin flour, rendering them pillow-soft and incredibly fluffy, while its fillings are exactly what a burger should be — simple and high-quality. Shake Out also offers a number of enticing shakes, sides (like crispy shoestring fries, cheese dipping sauce optional) and sweet treats, making it the perfect place to drop into for an easy takeaway.

Ripe Deli
It’s impossible to visit Goodside and leave without being seduced by the sumptuous treats in Ripe Deli’s cabinet. With an assortment of fresh salads, wraps, sandwiches and savouries, Ripe’s virtuous lunch offerings can only be topped by one of its many sweet treats. The salted caramel chocolate brownie is a rich slice of pure chocolatey decadence.

Mamak
Offering aromatic, authentic flavours that accurately speak to the kind of hawker centres one might find in Malaysia, Mamak Restaurant has become the go-to for many Malaysian people residing in Auckland. With a number of delicious dishes on its menu, the stand-out has to be the chicken satay skewers, with meat that is both perfectly cooked and enticingly smoky, and flavours that strike a delicate balance between sweet and savoury.

French Rendez-vous Café
Tucked away on the shores of Lake Pupuke, Pumphouse Theatre adjacent cafe French Rendez-vous is the understated eatery that consists of classic dishes a la français. Cheesy galettes are a signature, and pastries, foie gras and cheese plates are also on offer. No matter what you end up nibbling on, the view across the serene waters and peaceful setting makes it a culinary experience unique to the area.

Fantail & Turtle

Quench your thirst
Fantail & Turtle

Another entry from Goodside — the precinct that never stops giving — Fantail & Turtle offers a comprehensive drinks menu, as well as a number of delectable bites such as spiced hoki croquettes, platters and pizzas to accompany your beverage of choice. Craft beer, ale, cider and kombucha flow from its over 30 taps across its two bars, and its wine list comprises of nearly 50 varieties from some of the most prestigious viticultural regions in the world. With a welcoming ambience and ethos of offering something for everyone, Fantail & Turtle is somewhere where anyone is sure to feel at home.

Regatta Bar & Eatery
Perched just up from Takapuna Beach, Regatta Bar & Eatery catches all the rays of the sun, making this beach house-like eatery the ideal place to crack a cold one. Open from early in the morning, all the way until late at night, Regatta is the place to go if you’re looking for somewhere to kick back and relax while sipping on your favourite drink.

Nanam

Dinner time
Nanam
With a cult following for its unique, modern take on Filipino fare, Nanam is a favourite with both Takapuna locals and longtime fans of the Pinoy restaurant who have been patrons since its humble Royal Oak beginnings. Nanam’s chicken sinigang is unlike any sinigang we’ve tasted as it’s soupless which is unheard of in the Philippines. Where usually a flavourful, aromatic broth would be the star of the sinigang, Nanam’s Executive Chef Jessabel Granada has managed to capture all the flavours in a thick sauce that she glazes over the chicken.

The Place
One thing the North Shore beats the central suburbs in every time is the quality and quantity of its Korean restaurants. Takapuna is home to one of the best in Auckland — The Place. Located on Hurstmere Road, it is quite literally the place to be if you’re craving a Korean feed. Serving all sorts of traditional Korean dishes, this restaurant goes beyond the usual fried chicken, Korean barbecue and bibimbap, to offer more interesting and intriguing dishes, like pork backbone broth soup and army stew.

Burger Burger
Crowned as the Best Cheap & Cheerful eatery at the inaugural Denizen Hospo Heroes, you can trust Burger Burger to deliver the goods come dinnertime (or lunchtime, come to think of it). Its Takapuna location is always humming, serving up its much lauded burgers (with vegan options abound) and unbeatable sides, of which the charred broccoli and shoestring fries are accompaniments we simply can’t go without.

El Humero
If you’ve never experienced a Colombian-style barbecue, El Humero is the perfect restaurant to start your love affair with what we can guarantee will become one of your favourite cuisines. The meats are cooked over wood-fire and chargrill, lending them a succulent and juicy texture and also an unbelievably smoky aroma. And aside from its meat options, El Humero’s vegetarian empanadas are an absolute must-try.

Soho Eats

Soho
For quite some time, there seemed to be a lack of Thai eateries in Takapuna. That is, until the chefs from Newmarket’s Billy Cafe (who are in fact, Thai) opened Soho at Goodside, its quick popularity proving just how much Takapuna locals wanted somewhere to go to get a taste of this cuisine. The lamb and kumara massaman curry, tiger prawn pad Thai and the gai yang green curry are some of Soho’s standout dishes, as they simultaneously remain true to the authentic flavours of Thailand and offer modern, refined flavours, the like of which we’ve never tasted before.

Ramen Lab
Finding a good bowl of Japanese ramen in Auckland is harder than you might think, so Takapuna locals should consider themselves lucky to have Ramen Lab right on their doorstep. The tonkotsu ramen at this joint is thick and creamy with just the right amount of salt. The thin noodles have a firm centre, preventing them from going soft or soggy no matter how long they sit in the broth for. And although karaage chicken is considered a compulsory starter dish at any ramen restaurant, Ramen Lab’s iteration is particularly delicious.

Dessert
House of Chocolate Cafe
A sweet tooth’s paradise, House of Chocolate Dessert Cafe is regularly heaving with customers no matter what night of the week it is. Renowned for its freshly-made waffles that are served with a raft of indulgent toppings, NY baked cheesecakes and other creative desserts such as banoffee Alaska with banana, salted caramel, shortbread and Italian meringue, this Takapuna drop-in might have lines of people out its door, but never let that put you off — a short wait will lead to a big pay-off.

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