Left to right: Valentino Spring 21, Chanel Spring 21, Bottega Veneta Resort 21, Christopher Esber Spring 21, Paris Georgia 02 Collection

Get your glad rags on with our pick of the best party-ready pieces to add to your wardrobe

Party season is upon us, and we’ll gladly embrace any opportunity to get a little (or very) spruced up. One of the simplest recipes for a soirée-ready outfit is a beautiful dress, finished off with eye-catching jewellery, a great bag and some appropriately glamorous shoes. Et voila, whether it’s for a New Year’s Eve event, or simply a summer cocktail party, these are the pieces to help you step into the fray feeling like your very best self.

Coveted


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These artisan farm-to-plate savouries will guarantee you never have to resort to a gas station pie again

We’re not ashamed to admit it: we’re big fans of a meat pie. Buttery pastry, rich filling — what’s not to love? When they’re locally made with premium ingredients, ready to be snaffled up from our hot little hands, even better.

Taking the concept of farm-to-plate one step further is Lake Farm Pies. Farming and processing its own meat on the shores of Lake Karapiro, Lake Farm Pies are expertly crafted from prime Angus beef and artisanal ingredients, and — cutting out any middle man — the pies can be ordered in packs directly from the Lake Farm website.

With flavours ranging from classic prime mince to the more creative Indian keema mince curry, to a delicious collaboration with award-winning cheeses (think classic steak and Kapiti Kahurangi blue cheese) there’s never been a better excuse to stock up the freezer for summer. We guarantee you’ll never stop for a service station pie again.

Gastronomy


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

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Forget the glazed ham and panettone, this is the ultimate Christmas indulgence for the gastronomic connoisseur in your life

Made to be enjoyed on its own or as a tantalising accompaniment, caviar is the perfect treat for the upcoming season of celebration. Looking for the perfect gift for the luxury lover or the gastronomic connoisseur in your life? A tin of French Sturia Vintage caviar ticks all the boxes.

Respecting the history of caviar, Sturia is produced simply and is at its best when served with crème fraîche on a blini and a flute of crisp champagne. Or simply place the tin on a bed of ice, and serve the caviar on a spoon.

The receptacle itself is also gift-worthy, featuring beautifully eye-catching layers of colour and the iconic Sturia font.

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

Staying in Auckland this New Year’s? Secure your spot at these unmissable events and see out the year in style

What a year 2020 has been. We’re surely on the same page when it comes to seeing out this dumpster fire of an end of the decade, where we can hopefully leave words like ‘unprecedented’ in the past. However, let’s not forget, we also have a lot to celebrate. We’re incredibly lucky to inhabit our strong, scrappy little island at the bottom of the world, where life has been mostly business as usual for the last few months and a summer of relative freedom sparkles so close we can almost touch it. While many of us will be scattering far and wide across the country, those staying in Auckland have a plethora of events to choose from for ringing in a very welcome new year, where you can sip celebratory champagne and sing Auld Lang Syne until the last of the confetti descends.

The Poni Room
This pumping Commercial Bay eatery is sure to have the vibes turned up for its New Year’s Eve party. The Reign of Ryūjin is an immersive dinner and show, with head chef Fred Wong taking diners through an edible underwater tribute to Ryūjin (the mythical God of the Sea) featuring seafood aplenty and scrumptious side dishes. There are two sessions available to book, and The Poni Room will be welcoming revellers from 10:30pm to dance under sparkling disco balls while DJs, champagne and cocktails provide the perfect accompaniments to welcome in the new year.
Find more details and tickets here.

Culprit
The team at Culprit has put together New Year’s Eve menu that’s guaranteed to be exactly what you want one of your last meals of the year to be. On 29th and 30th of December, the scrumptious New Year menu features eight courses for $75 a head, plus $65 drinks match and other additions available, while on the 29th, 30th and 31st of December the New Year Epic Menu is just that — epic. Ten courses of Culprit’s favourite trolley bites from the year that was, plus optional wine matches, will have you in tip top spirits all evening long.
Find more details and book here.

Onslow
Onslow’s inaugural New Year’s Eve dinner will be a plush affair indeed, with two separate ticketed sittings, Laurent-Perrier Champagne and guest DJs ringing in the new year. The early sitting, from between 5 and 6:15pm for two-and-a-half hours, features a 4-course meal and Laurent-Perrier Champagne on arrival, while the late sitting from 7:45pm includes a 5-course meal, and the aforementioned champagne both on arrival and another served as the clock strikes midnight. Enjoy Onslow’s refined yet relaxed ethos, and be in a prime position to watch the Sky Tower fireworks as 2021 arrives.
Find more details and tickets here.

Euro Bar and Restaurant
Sitting pretty on Auckland’s waterfront, this renowned restaurant is offering to add a touch of finesse your New Year’s celebrations. Book in for dinner on the 31st and the vibes will be at an all-time high thanks to a rotation of DJs right up until midnight, and Euro’s delicious summer menu.
Book here.

Andiamo
No matter how your night ends, you can start it off on the right foot with a delicious meal from Andiamo. Offering a set menu from 5pm for $95 per person, diners can expect a generous smattering of courses, from aperitivo (including G.H.Mumm Rose) to primi, secondi, sides and dessert, with a vegetarian option also available.
Book here.

The Sugar Club
Take your New Year’s Eve celebrations to new heights at The Sugar Club, where, for $235, you can experience a specially-curated tasting menu, comprising mouth-watering dishes like the freshest of fish and Hawke’s Bay lamb. A glass of bubbles, of course, will be there to meet you on arrival.
Book here.

Soul Bar and Bistro
If it’s a glamorous atmosphere and rousing beats that you’re after for the final hurrah of the year, look no further than Soul Bar & Bistro. This Viaduct Harbour stalwart is offering two-hour dining slots from 4pm (and they’re filling up very quickly) with a full DJ line-up taking punters from the tables to the bar, then the dance floor with ease. Either pop in for a drink (who knows when they’ll be closing their doors?) or book in for dinner by clicking here.

Saxon + Parole and Liquorette
These two Commercial Bay venues are ramping up for the big countdown with The Year That Was party. Get tickets and you’ll be able to dance the night away to DJs and live music, enjoy delicious bites from food stations and imbibe on flowing champagne and cocktails as you roam between Saxon + Parole and Liquorette, plus a decadent champagne lounge. 
Find details and tickets here.

The Oyster Inn
Should you want to spend the last day of 2020 on an (even smaller) island, or if you’re a local, Waiheke Island institution The Oyster Inn has you covered for what is sure to be a fun and fabulous evening. With two sittings available to be booked — the earlier from 5pm and the later from 7:45pm — a three or four course set menu, Veuve Clicquot Champagne, DJs and a dance floor, spending our last hours of the year overlooking the bay sounds pretty good to us.
Find more details and book here.

Ostro
Take in some of the best waterfront views in town from on high at Ostro this new year’s. The restaurant has a set menu on offer for $120 per person, which includes a flute of Veuve Clicquot on arrival. Expect the likes of a crayfish toasty, choice of ceviche, mozzarella, carpaccio or octopus for entree and beef scotch, snapper, spinach and mushroom pasta or lamb cutlets for main — plus dessert. A delicious way to see out 2020.
Find more details and book here.

Gochu
Contemporary Korean restaurant Gochu has gotchu covered when it comes to dining in style on New Year’s Eve. Pull up a seat at the Commercial Bay eatery and feast on an $85-a-head set menu, with the option to add a drinks match for $65. A ‘bite’ of salmon roe and duck liver parfait sandwich is to start, followed by the likes of grilled scampi with gannjang and chives; 21 day dry aged beef prime rib, delectable vegetable sides and a cherry custard choux to finish. The Gochu team will be stocked up on magnums and champagne, and will have drink specials running all day and night.
Find more details and book here.

Culture


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Denizen’s definitive guide to the best new restaurant openings of 2020

It’s amazing (and almost unbelievable) that after a year of lockdowns, pandemic precautions and financial uncertainty, the hospitality industry has responded with such an incredible range of new establishments. In 2020 we have truly been spoiled with the calibre of refined, casual, and cheap and cheerful eateries that have opened their doors, and our extensive list reflects this. Without further ado, these are Auckland’s best new restaurant openings of 2020 (in no particular order).

The Lodge Bar & Dining

REFINED
The Lodge Bar & Dining
While Queenstown locals and regulars are well familiar with The Lodge Bar, it was just this June that Rodd & Gunn expanded its culinary empire to grace Aucklanders with its delicious dining concept. Encompassing an all-day eatery integrated with a flagship Rodd & Gunn retail space, The Lodge Bar & Dining is helmed by globally revered chef Matt Lambert and showcases top New Zealand produce via its exceptional menu of Kiwi-centric bar snacks, fresh seafood and expertly grilled meats.

Ahi scamp corndogs

Ahi
Ben Bayly’s eagerly awaited new eatery took up residence in Commercial Bay on the last day of August, opening with a bold dining concept and familiar yet exciting dishes that have already become icons in their own right (scampi corndogs, we’re looking at you). Named Ahi, meaning ‘fire’ in Te Reo Māori, the restaurant champions the unparalleled produce of Aotearoa in a way that aims to pay homage to both our special local ingredients, and the people who harvest, prepare and serve them.

Onemata honey and thyme cake

Onemata
The highly-anticipated Park Hyatt opened its doors this year, and with it came Onemata, its flagship eatery that promised a world-class dining experience right here in Auckland. The inviting environment sees locals as welcomed for a meal as the hotel’s guests. From breakfast until late, diners can expect both classics and the unexpected from this excellent restaurant, with dishes such as paua risotto and Filipino style Te Mana lamb proving particular favourites. 

Onslow salmon gravadlax

Onslow
Situated on the entrance level of luxury residential development The International, Onslow is the new venture from Josh Emett and wife Helen. Bringing a sophisticated yet welcoming fusion of tradition and modernity to its prime Princes Street location, Onslow’s offering is described as “refined but not fine-dining”. Highlights include the salmon trolley service, whereby your waiter carves 48 hour-cured Big Glory Bay salmon gravadlax at your table and the nostalgic chocolate soufflé served with hazelnut ice cream.

Mr Morris pani popo. Photo: Anna Kidman

Mr Morris
After a three year hiatus, Michael Meredith (perhaps best known for his award-winning fine-dining restaurant Merediths), made a triumphant return to the industry with new venture Mr Morris. Located in Britomart in what was previously Cafe Hanoi, Meredith and head chef Fabio Bernardini have created a menu devoted to using local, ethical, sustainable and seasonal produce to create “a modern Pacific and New Zealand experience”, perfectly exemplified with the likes of passionfruit pani popo, salt and vinegar oyster mushrooms and smoked eel devilled egg.

Stanley Ave. Photo: The Hospo Guy

Stanley Ave
North Shore residents were blessed this year by the opening of Stanley Ave, an impressive new wine bar and bistro helmed by a team with varied and notable provenance in the hospitality industry. With a menu that spans lighter snacks to more substantial mains, sides and desserts alongside a hefty wine offering that includes both familiar and more unusual varieties, Stanley Ave encourages plenty of reasons to cross the bridge (and allows lucky locals to stay right where they are).

Gochu

CASUAL
Gochu
It was welcome news indeed when David Lee and Oliver Simon, one of the industry’s most formidable duos, announced their intentions to open a Korean eatery in Commercial Bay. Joined by Jason Kim and Nathan Lord, Gochu was introduced to eager diners in June and we already can’t imagine the dining landscape without it. More contemporary than traditional, with cuisine described as ‘New Korean’, Gochu offers the perfect dining experience for both seasoned fans of Korean flavour and novices looking to whet their appetite.

Candela. Photo: Luke Foley-Martin

Candela
Joining the in-demand culinary scene of Karangahape Road is Candela, a brand new eatery and wine bar bringing the irresistible flavours of Spain and Latin America to one of Auckland’s most colourful strips. Helmed by chef and owner Matt Ross, with Leola King managing front of house, Candela’s offering centres on small plates to go well with a cocktail or glass of wine — figuratively whisking us away to far flung destinations at a time when we’re dreaming about foreign shores the most.

Nook

Nook
With Culprit and Lowbrow under their belts, hospitality duo Kyle Street and Jordan Macdonald know more than a thing or two when it comes to creating a great restaurant concept. Enter Nook, the newest offering from the pair that’s handily located right opposite their St Kevins Arcade Lowbrow outpost. Taking inspiration from the fun, fresh and informal fare of Japanese izakaya and yakitori eateries, Nook’s menu simply comprises of ‘sticks’ and ‘not sticks’ – offering the likes of karaage chicken, various skewers and handmade dumplings for revellers looking to snack from lunch until late.

Ockhee

Ockhee
Casual and cool is how we’d describe Ockhee, the tasty Korean eatery that landed on Ponsonby Road post-lockdown. Owners Paulee and Lisa Lee have done a stellar job at showcasing authentic Korean food to Kiwis in a relaxed and contemporary setting, with fresh, flavourful dishes, house-blended soju and an unbeatable atmosphere.

Omni katsu sando

Omni
Word was buzzing as soon as Omni opened its doors, bringing a unique 25-seater izakaya-inspired ‘bar-estaurant’ to Dominion Road this June. Owners John Yip and Jamie Yeon are the brains behind this clever and approachable concept, offering a succinct, tasty and original menu alongside an excellent wine list of predominantly natural wines. The katsu sando has reached cult status, offering a truly unbeatable introduction to this popular Japanese snack.

East Street Hall

East Street Hall
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, chances are you have heard about East Street Hall, the new collaborative venture from the hospitality maestroes behind Bar Céleste and Annabel’s wine barNick Landsman, Emma Ogilvie and Henry Mitchell Temple. Offering a place to dine and dance (with a strong music and events focus that sees good times rolling well into the night), East Street Hall’s Israeli-inspired food is easy to share, moreish but also healthy, and goes well with one of its fresh, herbaceous cocktails.

Lobster & Wagyu

Lobster and Wagyu
Fans of Auckland Fish Market destination Lobster and Tap were given another reason to thank the food gods this year with the opening of Lobster and Wagyu, the new eatery bringing a whole new level of deliciousness to the Seafarers rooftop. As well as showcasing Lobster and Tap’s famed lobster rolls and sides, Lobster and Wagyu has added another prime ingredient to the menu: Black Origin Wagyu. With Happy Hour, sparkling views and some of the best surf and turf in the city, Lobster and Wagyu is a welcome addition to Auckland’s dining scene.

Ada

Ada
With a prime location inside a historic building-turned-hotel and one of Auckland’s most respected chefs at the helm, Grey Lynn’s Ada had all the ingredients for success from the start. From chef Hayden Phiskie, formerly of Karangahape Road restaurant Cotto, Ada’s menu comprises sharing plates that embrace the foolproof philosophy of simplicity done well. From pizza frittas and pasta to inventive veges and decadent desserts, Ada is not one to be missed.

The Poni Room

The Poni Room
As the winner of ‘Best New Opening‘ at this year’s inaugural Denizen Hospo Heroes awards, it’s no surprise The Poni Room ranks highly on our list of new openings. As Commercial Bay’s resident cheeky, rosé-centric eatery, The Poni Room is the perfect location for long lunches that turn into convivial nights. The all-day eatery boasts a sun-drenched, panoramic outlook, a lighthearted spirit and a Japanese and South-East Asian-inspired menu that includes the likes of freshly shucked oysters, steamed duck buns and crispy pork belly.

Saxon + Parole

Saxon + Parole
Bringing accolades and attitude from New York City, Saxon + Parole joined the ranks of several fun and frisky venues that opened their doors in Commercial Bay this year under American hospitality group AvroKO (including the aforementioned The Poni Room). With a triple-height space that offers sweeping views of the Waitematā Harbour, alongside impressive seafood platters and expertly-cooked meat, Saxon + Parole has solidified its reputation as the place to be.

Mr Hao numbing chicken

Mr Hao
As one of our most viewed new openings of the year, Mr Hao emerged from lockdown and offered diners a taste of authentic flavour when they craved it most. Inspired by Shanghai’s late-night bar scene, Dominion Road’s Mr Hao is just the place for a relaxed get-together. Alongside the infamous Numbing Chicken, a dish which sees gently fried chicken drowning in a delicious sea of chillies and numbing Sichuan peppers, you’ll find a range of tasty skewers, noodles and irresistible grilled seafood, plus a refreshing tea cocktail on tap.

Esther

Esther
Joining the ranks of exceptional chefs who have made their mark on Auckland this year is internationally renowned Sean Connolly, who is back from a stint in Sydney with Esther, QT Auckland’s signature restaurant. Focusing on the beguiling flavours of the Mediterranean, the sophisticated European-style bistro serves breakfast, lunch and dinner and brings an exciting and undeniably delicious new dining experience to Viaduct Harbour.

Pici
Pici

Pici
Inspired by the beautiful simplicity of traditional Italian cuisine, this cosy St Kevins Arcade spot has quickly become a favourite for those seeking delicious yet unfussy fare and good wine. With a refined menu including the likes of fettuccine with prawns and nduja, spaghettini vongole, and its namesake pici cacio e pepe, Pici is the place to be for pasta lovers.

Homeland

Homeland
A new project from globally acclaimed New Zealand chef Peter Gordon has arrived at the tailend of 2020, taking over the prime waterfront spot which was previously Mantells On The Water. Named Homeland, the new offering is far more than just a restaurant — although it is that as well. With Gordon and his partner Alistair Carruthers at the helm, Homeland describes itself as a ‘food embassy’, encompassing an all-day eatery, a cooking school, a film studio, a ‘food innovation hub’, and a community space.

Good Dog Bad Dog

CHEAP & CHEERFUL
Harbour Eats
Inspired by international food precincts in London, New York and Barcelona, Harbour Eats brought a new calibre of communal dining to Auckland city this year, something our tastebuds are eternally grateful for. With the likes of Good Dog Bad Dog, Hawker & Roll, Wise Boys Burgers and Fatima’s (to name just a few), Harbour Eats has proved to be the ideal place for not only the downtown work crowd and weekend shoppers but also those purely looking to dine in style.

Mr. Taco

Mr. Taco
We’re not going to lie, the moment we bit into one of the tacos from tiny inner-city Mexican spot Mr. Taco – La Taqueria, we considered not sharing any information on its whereabouts so we could keep coming back with less fear of them selling out. With a succinct menu of traditional Mexican favourites, Mr. Taco has us returning time and time again for what we consider as some of the best tacos in town.

Bang Bang Kitchen lobster fried rice

Bang Bang Kitchen
Giving us yet another reason to make our way to Auckland Fish Market, Bang Bang Kitchen’s delicious offering focuses on Asian-fusion flavours, garnering inspiration from Hawker markets in Singapore and Malaysia and distilling the moreish flavours into explosively fresh dishes. From the signature lobster fried rice to dumplings, sashimi and Peking duck, Bang Bang Kitchen’s punchy dishes spark a craving that simply must be satisfied.

La Mexicana

La Mexicana
If we thought we knew what ‘authentic’ Mexican food tasted like, La Mexicana is showing us a whole different side to our favourite bite-sized morsels. Founded by Marco Muñiz, this cute Grey Lynn eatery has been greeted with rapturous enthusiasm for its speciality: fresh corn tortillas made from scratch on site. Perfect for a quick pit-stop or takeaways to-go, La Mexicana is shaping up to be one of our favourite discoveries for 2020.

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

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Best In Beauty 2020: These are the beauty buys you should be adding to your bathroom cabinet

From game-changing new formulations to ultimate multi-taskers; opulent luxuries and ingenious tech, we’re coveting, repurchasing and scraping every last inch of these products from the jar. Whether you’re a makeup maven or a skincare guru, these are the beauty buys you should be adding to your bathroom cabinet.

CULT BEAUTY AWARD: Augustinus Bader The Face Oil
You might have heard of Augustinus Bader’s acclaimed moisturiser The Cream, but joining the brand’s stable of game-changing skincare this August was The Face Oil. The firm favourite utilises the patented Trigger Factor Complex (TFC8) and the fast-absorbing formula promises to instantly nourish, hydrate, refine and protect.

BEST TECH: Joanna Vargas Magic Glow Wand
If you want to create spa-worthy results at home, this is your gadget. Launched by the renowned facialist and founder of Joanna Vargas Salons and Skin-Care, the Magic Glow Wand utilises hot and cold temperature and massage settings to promote lymphatic drainage and a luminous glow to the face.

THE MULTI-TASKER: Kosas Revealer Super Creamy + Brightening Concealer
Cosmetics brand Kosas makes high-performing products without any dubious ingredients or animal testing, and this recently released concealer combines skincare with makeup in an aim to improve the skin while it’s worn. Containing arnica and panthenol to calm blemishes; caffeine to brighten and peptides to plump, this creamy formula is especially good under the eyes.

THE GAMECHANGER: iS Clinical Active Serum
From results-oriented skincare range iS Clinical, this Active Serum is a godsend for those with acne-prone skin who are also wanting to address the signs of ageing — often a tricky combination to remedy. Promising to provide both rapid and long term results, this serum uses a combination of glycolic, lactic and salicylic acids to exfoliate, and arbutin and mushroom to promote radiance. 

SENSUAL SCENT: Carven Sao Paulo
From Parisian fashion house Carven, this hypnotising fragrance encapsulates a heady sensuality. With top notes of rum, cinnamon and bergamot; middle notes of orange blossom and cardamom, and base notes of sweet, spicy tonka bean with patchouli and vanilla, the composition of this scent pairs perfectly with sunkissed, summer skin.

BEST BASE: By Terry Hyaluronic Foundation
Another formula espousing both skincare benefits and makeup coverage, this long-wearing foundation is especially recommended for mature skin thanks to its radiant finish and dose of wonder-ingredient hyaluronic acid that holds 1000 times its own weight in water.

THE MASK: Angela Caglia CellReturn Platinum LED Wireless Mask
Is this the future of anti-ageing skincare? Utilising near-infrared rays, this high-tech mask claims to penetrate deep beneath the skin’s surface to stimulate collagen production, minimise signs of ageing, reduce inflammation and eliminate blemish-causing bacteria — all without a lotion or potion in sight. 

THE MAKEUP TRANSFORMER: Dior Backstage Eye Palette
Whether you want low-key enhancement for every day, or a sultry going out look, this palette will do it all for you and more. Pictured in the Rosewood Neutrals iteration, these high-performing eye shadows are loved by professionals, influencers and novices alike thanks to the universally flattering shades, designed to be buildable yet richly pigmented.

LUSH LASHES: Hourglass Unlocked Mascara
Ditch the dreaded panda eyes for good with a tubing mascara, like this one from Hourglass. A level up from waterproof, this vegan formula doesn’t budge all day but come time to remove it, slides off easily without the wearer having to scrub that sensitive eye area. Able to be applied as multiple coats depending on the level of lash drama required, this mascara is truly the key to glamorous lashes with no smudges.

DAILY POLISH: Emma Lewisham Illuminating Exfoliant
New Zealand’s most coveted skincare brand recently released two must-have cleansing products, including the Illuminating Exfoliant. Exfoliating is a crucial aid for anti-ageing alongside daily cleansing, it stimulates cell turnover and helps with product absorption. This product contains natural lactic acid to slough excess sebum buildup and round jojoba beads to physically exfoliate, while Pentavitin replenishes hydration.

PUFFINESS BE GONE: Sothys Eye Patches 
A moisturised eye area works wonders for makeup application, and helps the eyes look more awake and youthful. Small but mighty, these Sothys under eye masks are infused with a potent skincare formula that provides instant freshness to the area.

NEW KID ON THE BLOCK: U Beauty Super Smart Hydrator
Following the runaway success of the Resurfacing Compound, U Beauty’s first product which sold 20,000 units in the first 24 hours of its launch, the Super Smart Hydrator has joined its ranks to impart some serious moisture into the skin. Promising anti-ageing properties as well as ongoing hydration, the result is radiance that lasts.

TOP TANNING: Isle of Paradise Tanning Drops
Taking the hassle out of the tanning process, these ingenious drops can be added to any moisturiser for a year-round glow. With 12 shades available depending on how deep you wish to go, the drops have been designed with sensitive skin in mind, also encompassing ingredients that hydrate and reduce inflammation.

NATURAL RADIANCE: Sans Ceuticals Superdose Luminosity Masque 
New Zealand-based beauty brand Sans Ceuticals specialises in active products without any nasties, and the very first mask released by the company this year does not disappoint. A soothing slick of a formula with Vitamin C, 5 percent lactic acid, hyaluronic acid and MGO 100+ mānuka honey working to increase radiance, this mask is uber-comfortable to wear when applied, adding to the overall pampering experience.

EXTRA SPECIAL: Angela Caglia Crystal Goddess Face Mask
Do your chakras need realigning? Crystal energy aside, this mask is wonderfully soothing on the skin, made up of over 500 hand-cut and polished rose quartz beads. The naturally-cooling stone encourages lymphatic drainage, helps calm inflammation and increases blood flow. Hot tip — storing in the fridge beforehand lends even more of a helping hand to a puffy face.

THE BODY SAVIOUR: Codage The Oil
It’s all well and good for a product to be specifically targeted for one purpose, but when it can be wielded in a variety of ways? Even better. The Oil by Codage mixes eight oils, each with its own desirable property, to nourish, sooth, restructure, protect and more. The resulting combination can be used on body, face and hair — including men’s beards — for an all-over glow.

AT HOME SPA: Brow Code Lustre Advanced Lamination
Brow lamination is arguably the most popular new beauty treatment to arise this year, and now an at-home lamination kit allows you to take matters into your own hands. Equipped with all the tools you need, the Brow Code Lustre Lamination Kit offers around 15-18 services, so it’s also economical.

 

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Non Solo Pizza

Denizen’s definitive guide to the best long lunch spots in Auckland

As we inch closer to the end of the year, work meetings are shifting from planning over cups of coffee at a local café to celebrating grand achievements with flutes of champagne at Auckland’s finest restaurants. The season of long lunches is upon us and we have rounded up our favourite hotspots at which to wine and dine in the lead-up to the end of the year, into summer and beyond.

Soul Bar & Bistro

Soul Bar & Bistro
In Viaduct Harbour is the vibrant Soul Bar & Bistro — our reader-voted winner of the Best For Long Lunching at the inaugural Denizen Hospo Heroes. Its outdoor deck boasts a beautiful floral ceiling while providing stunning views of Auckland’s waterfront, making this restaurant one of our favourite spots for a long lunch on a sunny day. Open from 11am until the late hours, Soul encourages its patrons to stay for as long as they want. And while ordering a bottle of champagne is inevitable at this restaurant, before you do, we recommend perusing the cocktails on offer — like its infamous espresso martinis. Pair this with Soul’s iconic salt and pepper squid and you’re guaranteed to have a good time.

The Lodge Bar & Dining
While Queenstown locals and regulars will be well familiar with The Lodge Bar & Dining, it was just this year that Rodd & Gunn expanded its culinary empire to grace Aucklanders with its delicious dining concept. From spectacular seafood (think the freshest oysters, clams, prawns and flounder) along with a dedicated pasta section, The Lodge Bar & Dining has all the ingredients for an unforgettable long lunch. Plus, with Michelin-starred Executive Chef Matt Lambert back from New York, you know your tastebuds are in the very best hands.

Saxon + Parole
Commercial Bay’s modern American steakhouse Saxon + Parole might be new to Auckland’s dining scene, but it certainly has wasted no time in proving itself as the place to be, come lunch o’clock. The triple-height space offers sweeping views of the Waitematā Harbour, ideal for soaking up the magic of the City of Sails, no matter the weather. Sample one of its award-winning burgers with dry-aged beef, harvati and maple bacon and craft a Bloody Mary to your liking from the DIY Bloody Mary bar.

Hello Beasty
While the cuisine of choice for long lunching can often lean towards Italian-inspired dishes, there’s something to be said about lingering over the punchy, full-bodied flavour of Asian-fusion delights. Enter Hello Beasty, a Viaduct Harbour winner that also happens to be the perfect place to while away an afternoon. Take your pick from potstickers and buns aplenty, plus favourites like KFC (Korean fried chicken) and seared snacks from the hibachi grill. Wash it all down with a Heart + Seoul cocktail with soju, rhubarb shrub, lemon and egg white and you’re on your way to a stellar lunch session.

Ostro

Ostro
Nestled in the Seafarer’s building, Ostro Bar and Brasserie boasts prolific views across Auckland Harbour, which makes heading there for lunch a beautiful affair for more reasons than just the food. Once you’ve charged your glasses, look to classics like the infamous lobster, prawn and snapper pie or the smoked kahawai omelette to satisfy your appetite.

SPQR
While this stalwart might not have a view of the ocean, SPQR sits proudly on Ponsonby Road and is a go-to lunch spot for many Aucklanders. The combination of delicious Italian food, friendly, personable staff and the people-watching that can be done from its outside tables have us returning to SPQR time and time again. This restaurant’s designed-to-share menu includes endlessly enticing dishes, but our favourite would have to be the scampi tail linguine and the Italian herb and cajun spice chicken pizza. Not to mention, SQPR’s mixologists shake up one of the best espresso martinis in town — just what you need to keep energy high for a long session of lunching.

Onslow
Fans of timeless design and classic bistro fare with a twist will be right at home at Onslow, acclaimed chef Josh Emett’s new venture with wife Helen. The Rufus Knight-designed interior features large windows at the rear framing the cityscape, providing the ideal backdrop for a day spent imbibing and dining. Described as ‘refined but not fine-dining’, the menu spans the likes of fried chicken with caviar to the fluffiest soufflé we can ever recall sampling.

Ahi
For the ultimate trifecta of impressive location, exemplary service and unmatchable food, newcomer Ahi ticks all the boxes. Located on level 2 of Commercial Bay, Ahi is helmed by multi-award-winning chef Ben Bayly, who celebrates New Zealand’s food story via a range of creative and innovative dishes. Soaking up the exceptional view with a scampi corndog, bubbles in hand, is a recipe for a successful lunch outing.

Prego

Prego
Situated on the same strip as SPQR and also serving Italian, but providing a whole different experience, is Ponsonby institution Prego. Another winner from this year’s Denizen Hospo Heroes (this time for Best Stalwart), Prego is the place to go for a fun-filled lunch with family and friends. Since its doors opened in 1986, Ponsonby locals have formed a strong attachment to the restaurant and, as such, it boasts arguably the most loyal customers of any restaurant in Auckland. A plate of calamari for the table is the only way to start a party at Prego and there seems to be no way to end because nobody ever wants to leave.

The Poni Room
As Commercial Bay’s resident cheeky, rosé-centric eatery, The Poni Room is the perfect location for long lunches that turn into convivial nights. The all-day eatery boasts a sun-drenched, panoramic outlook, a lighthearted spirit and a Japanese and South-East Asian-inspired menu that includes the likes of freshly shucked oysters, steamed duck buns and crispy pork belly. It comes as no surprise that this winning combination saw it score ‘Best New Opening‘ at the inaugural Denizen Hospo Heroes awards.

Euro Bar & Restaurant
This waterside establishment has been a favourite for as long as we can remember, a sentiment that has done nothing but increase since it re-opened after its highly-anticipated refresh. There’s nothing quite like taking a seat in Euro Bar & Restaurant’s outdoor area and looking out onto Princes Wharf and the blue waters of the harbour. Not only does this restaurant provide the most gorgeous tableau of the city, but the new food and beverage offerings pair themselves perfectly to the tradition of a long, luxurious lunch.

Andiamo

Andiamo
Everybody wants an excuse to visit Herne Bay favourite Andiamo, and what better than a long lunch? This restaurant only gets better over the warmer months, especially if you’re lucky enough to grab a table outside in the sun. Whether you’re after some antipasti and Aperol or a full feast with never-ending pours of the finest drops, Andiamo has you covered. The beloved local’s lunch offering invites you to lunch like a local, with an entree, main (we’re partial to the spaghetti, prawn and crayfish bolognese) and a glass of wine for just $35.

Gerome
If the thought of a lazy lunch with barbecued eggplant, fried prawns and lamb shoulder souvlaki sounds like a little slice of heaven, you’re in luck. Parnell’s Gerome, home of some of Auckland’s best Greek food, is just the place to kick back over a tasty spread and a glass (or two) of something good.

Cibo
For over two decades, Cibo has consistently proved to be one of Auckland’s top restaurants through its premium food and stellar service. The restaurant enjoys all-day sun, resulting in its space being constantly bathed in natural light. Cibo exudes a feeling of exclusivity and luxury, and when you walk into the restaurant you will feel like you’ve been swept away from reality for a few hours. Pop a bottle of champagne and order the eye fillet and crayfish. This dish sees a juicy steak topped with grilled crayfish and is guaranteed to be the fanciest surf ‘n’ turf you will ever eat. But be sure to leave room for dessert as the salted caramel and peanut brittle pavlova is out of this world.

Non Solo Pizza
Parnell institution NSP is the place to be when the sun’s out and there’s fun to be had. With more than two decades of long lunching experience under its belt, you can trust NSP to deliver when it comes to casual dining with a refined edge. Its recently renovated courtyard is more covetable than ever, with a Paul Izzard designed space that transports diners to a Tuscan garden. Settle in with an Aperol Spritz or an NSP sour and graze away on the likes of burrata, lobster crostini, pan-fried gnocchi and, of course, woodfired pizza.

The Golden Nest at Woodpecker Hill
With an adaptable space and Asian-fusion menu, The Golden Nest (the new incarnation of pumping Parnell eatery Woodpecker Hill) is perfect for those looking to add some spice to their day. With plates designed to share, icy cold beer and a buzzing atmosphere, The Golden Nest is just the place for a tasty lunch sesh. Order the cheeseburger bao and surrender to the possibility you may linger longer than you initially anticipated.

Baduzzi
Come for a seat in the conservatory, stay for the meatballs. Wynyard Quarter’s Baduzzi is a solid favourite with the long lunching set, with tasty food and reliable service that can’t be beaten when you want to sit back, relax and let the good times roll. The handmade pasta is always a treat, and the seasonal spritz never goes amiss.

Depot
Freshly-shucked oysters and clams taste the best in the daytime and Depot’s raw bar is one of the best the city has to offer. It might not be the sunniest spot in town, but the laid back and relaxed ambience still has a liveliness which is driven by the casual yet attentive staff. The fish sliders are a must when dining at Depot and make for a great accompaniment to the Malborough Sauvignon Blanc by Wendy Stuckey, which is served on tap. Embrace the fact that you’ll be here for hours, ditch the glass and go for the carafe from the get-go. Slowly sip your way through to the late afternoon as you tuck into Al Brown’s iconic fish belly with eggplant kasundi. Paired with some truffle potato skins, you have yourself an elevated version of the Kiwi classic: fish and chips.



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I tried a Reiki session and this is what happened

While a massage can address our bodily aches and pains, and foster a sense of calm for the duration of a session, another form of lighter touch is said to promote a deeper sense of relaxation and understanding within mind, body and soul. Reiki, a combination of two Japanese words that, translated, mean ‘spiritually guided life force energy’, is administered by a practitioner who lightly lays the palms of their hands across the body from head to toe. 

Auckland-based energy healer and life coach Olivia Scott is in demand for her relaxing and insightful Reiki sessions, having practiced professionally for two years. Combining her own energy healing and channelling abilities with Reiki and crystal therapy, Scott says she uses Reiki as a tool to gently prompt clients to find their own clarity.

“We do often know, deep down, what is right for us,” she says. “When we can drop out of our heads, and into our bodies, we are able to remember what we truly want. Energy healing facilitates this process because we tap out of our thinking mind and into our feeling body. Supported alongside with Reiki, we can release blockages, patterns or realign us to our true centre.” 

Olivia Scott

I’ve always been intrigued by Reiki, having experienced it from my mother at various points throughout my childhood. Obviously several years have passed since then, so I was looking forward to a refresher session with Scott. The day I went to see her, I was feeling tired and burnt out, with deadlines looming and the general detritus of 2020 seeming to rest more heavily on my shoulders than usual. “It sounds like it’s an ideal time for a healing,” she said, when we sat down. 

During the short consultation, Scott asked me what I wanted to get out of the day’s session, whether there was anything I needed to work through or focus on. We didn’t go super in-depth, which is why I was even more impressed with what she managed to pick up — more on that soon. 

She then led me over to the therapy bed, where I lay down on my back, and she draped a weighty blanket on me which kept me feeling warm and at peace. 45 minutes then seemed to pass in about 10 as she gently placed her palms on me, starting with my head and ears, moving to my shoulders, my arms, stomach, and legs. At one point Scott placed a crystal on my sternum, and at various intervals throughout, she would pause to pen a few words in a notebook beside her, before continuing. 

During this process, I let my mind wander and tried not to focus on anything in particular. Getting a little personal here, I usually consider myself to have quite a poor memory — whenever I’ve been asked to pinpoint specific memories from my childhood, for example, I can usually remember very little. However, as I was lying on the therapy bed, random yet specific past experiences kept drifting into my head. Nothing groundbreaking, but things I hadn’t thought about for a long time, like sitting on the roof of the garden shed at my childhood home, eating guavas from our tree. Scott wasn’t surprised. “We store memories in our legs, was it around the time I was working on them?” It was. Spooky. 

After the lying down portion of the appointment, Scott went and got me a cup of tea, and we sat once again in the consultation area of the room where she told me what she had “channelled” from whatever higher power communicates with her, and written down while she was laying her hands on me. I was honestly a little gobsmacked at the specificity and accuracy of some of the things she was saying, things she never could have known and that I never mentioned to her. Most things were phrased as a gentle statement or a question, but as she calmly conveyed her astute observations, I was prompted to hone in on some truths that I had perhaps already known or had been sloshing around in my brain, but through this process they were clarified and brought to the surface. 

Leaving the session, I felt calmer and more uplifted than when I went in. I also felt reflective, with a clarity of thought gently sparking me with purpose. Whether you believe in the supposed healing powers of Reiki or not, a session with Olivia Scott is both a relaxing and enlightening experience, thanks to her tranquil nature and surprisingly astute observations.

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Win a meal for four at acclaimed chef Ben Bayly’s restaurant Ahi, valued at $900

Since opening in September, Ahi has celebrated New Zealand food with a story. The brainchild of well-known chef Ben Bayly, Ahi is situated on level 2 of Commercial Bay and champions the unparalleled produce of Aotearoa in a way that aims to pay homage to both our special local ingredients, and the people who harvest, prepare and serve them.

From the gobble-worthy snacks like the battered scampi corndog and hāngi pāua, to larger dishes like the crayfish soup with kūmara and saffron ravioli, and Te Mana lamb, spring nettles and leek, Ahi’s menu incorporates indigenous ingredients and techniques, interpreted in a contemporary way which diners can enjoy in the restaurant’s relaxed yet sophisticated setting.

If you haven’t yet tried this eatery, you’re in luck — we’re delighted to have a meal for four people to give away, valued at $900.

The winning group will be treated to the Trust Us tasting menu, a delicious exploration of all the best bits of Ahi, matched with the delicious Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir from Martinborough winemakers The Elder.

To enter the draw to win, simply head over to our Instagram.

Terms and conditions:
All attendees must be over the age of 21
Bookings are subject to availability at time of booking
Entries close on Wednesday 16th December
Winner will be contacted privately

Gastronomy


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