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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We have your chance to win the highly-coveted Samsung Galaxy Z Flip phone

There’s something about the gesture of opening a flip phone that carries the drama of tossing your hair or swinging a jacket over your shoulder. In recent years that drama has been missing as smartphones became mini-tablets but Samsung is tapping into the sensibility of style with its Galaxy Z Flip, available for a test drive in stores now.

Yes, there’s that satisfying flip that lets you finish a call with so much more finality than a mere swipe but it’s also the compact folded size, perfect for your micro-purse, and hands free functionality that is bound to get you hooked. 

The screen is made from bendable Samsung Ultra-Thin Glass, meaning that when it’s open you have more screen space to watch the latest episode of Emily in Paris. It can also stand on its own, preventing your arm from falling asleep mid-episode.

An innovative invisible hinge means that you can easily adjust the angles to mimic the familiar functionality of a laptop screen. It also unleashes greater selfie potential to release your inner-Kardashian.

Even when it’s closed and attracting attention on the table you can still receive messages and real time notifications on the cover display. 

Yes, you can tap into the full Galaxy experience with high level camera, battery and security but just as importantly… it comes in Mirror Purple or Mirror Black for RRP $2399.

This competition has now closed.

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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


Faradays opens its flagship bar, a sumptuous oasis of delicious bites and delectable pours

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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


Don’t miss your chance to be a part of The Reserve, one of Auckland’s most idyllic developments

Making an art out of illumination, these interestingly-shaped table lamps will light your imagination

A vacation-feeling is this family home’s vocation, with Nina Maya’s carefree yet highly curated interior design

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


Faradays opens its flagship bar, a sumptuous oasis of delicious bites and delectable pours

This inner-city eatery has been given a new look and a new lease on life by hospitality maestro David Lee

Back in the city? Keep that holiday feeling going with Auckland’s best outdoor dining restaurants
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


Don’t miss your chance to be a part of The Reserve, one of Auckland’s most idyllic developments

Making an art out of illumination, these interestingly-shaped table lamps will light your imagination

A vacation-feeling is this family home’s vocation, with Nina Maya’s carefree yet highly curated interior design

Colour vs Neutral: Pick your wardrobe palette and commit from head to toe

Fashion’s style spectrum is vast and varied, and within its grey areas it can be difficult to find your place. However, most of us know whether we gravitate towards a neutral palette, or more colourful pieces — or a bit of both.

A key trend for several seasons, seen on both the street style set and on the runways, is to pick one and commit head to toe. The effect is much more wearable than you would think, as it provides visual cohesion — even if you go the colourful route. And if you do, we applaud you!

NEUTRALS

From left: Louis Vuitton trousers; Dior waistcoat; Elle + Riley cashmere T-shirt; Anna Quan trousers from The Undone; Prada shirt; Cartier watch from Partridge Jewellers; Paris Texas boots from Matches Fashion
From left: Anna Quan dress from The Mercer store; Wynn Hamlyn tank top; Prada loafers; Louis Vuitton blazer; Anni Lu pearl bracelet from Workshop; Gabriela Hearst skirt from Matches Fashion

STATEMENT SHADES

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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.

Culture


The new documentaries to enlighten your world view, and entertain you

The books everyone should read in their lifetime, according to Auckland’s leading booksellers

Journalist Charlotte Bellis on her career trajectory, working in Afghanistan and understanding the Taliban