Azabu's karaage chicken.

Denizen’s definitive guide to the best fried chicken in town

These days, a fried chicken craving needn’t be fulfilled at a greasy fast food joint or on a bad hangover. From karaage to buttermilk, Korean fried to Southern-style, the number of eateries putting their own spin on this crunchy, tender, deep-fried delight is impressive to say the least — for which we count ourselves lucky. For your perusal, we’ve compiled the best places in Auckland to get a fix of the good stuff.

Azabu
What do you get when you combine Peruvian and Japanese cuisine? Criminally tasty buttermilk karaage chicken with pickled daikon and mayo laced with aji amarillo — a yellow, fruity South American pepper. Both Ponsonby and Mission Bay locations have their own take on this classic dish, so you can get your fix wherever suits.

Gochu.

Gochu
There are many reasons to visit Commercial Bay’s modern Korean restaurant Gochu, and the fried chicken is a strong contender for the top of the list. Head chef Jason Kim has made sure his signature fried chicken is irresistibly sticky, crunchy and juicy. Heat seekers would do well to order ‘Jason’s fried chicken, but spicier’.

Hello Beasty.

Hello Beasty
An essential addition to any order at this Viaduct favourite, Hello Beasty’s kaarage chicken is served with a sweet-leaning Japanese-style BBQ sauce. A lemon wedge on the side means you can cut through the richness with a refreshing zing of citrus — making this one seriously moreish dish.

The Chamberlain.

The Chamberlain
A fresh new fried chicken menu has landed at Britomart bar and eatery The Chamberlain, and it’s described as being ‘tasty as cluck’. Tailored to your liking, you can pick from white meat (breast and wing), brown meat (thigh and drum), tender fillets or classic wings, and choose your spice level from four tongue-tingling options. Served with sliced bread and pickles, the only thing that could make it more perfect is pairing it with one of The Chamberlain’s 15 top-notch tap beers.

Nook.

Nook
This St Kevins Arcade yakitori spot from the duo behind Lowbrow (read more about its irresistible wings below) and Culprit does great bite-sized pieces of karaage chicken. Free-range pieces of chicken thigh are lightly coated in delicious batter and served with delectable wasabi mayonnaise and a dusting of sesame salt. What more could you want?

Kai Eatery.

Kai Eatery
If you like your fried chicken as big as your face, you’re in luck. Serving modern Taiwanese street food, Kai’s infamous ‘XL’ chicken is the Mount Everest of fried chicken — a mighty bite begging to be conquered. Take your pick from three flavours (original, five-spice or flame-kissed charcoal sauce). If you’re not up to the challenge, the fried chicken bites are a good option.

Ebisu 
As the home of some of the city’s best sushi and sashimi, Ebisu is our go-to when we’re seeking excellent Japanese fare. It’s no surprise then, that the Britomart stalwart has karaage chicken down to a delicious science. Served with crunchy, fresh mixed carrot salad and soy onion dressing, we even feel a little virtuous after polishing off this perfectly balanced dish.

Peach’s Hot Chicken.

Peach’s Hot Chicken
Specialising in authentic Nashville hot chicken, Peach’s Hot Chicken is so popular the former food truck transitioned to a restaurant in East Auckland’s Panmure. Choose your spice level (ranging from mild to Holy Cluck — described as a religious experience) and enjoy it served on either a piece of soft white bread, inside a tender brioche bun, or piled atop waffles.

Simon & Lee’s KFC (Korean Fried Chicken).

Simon & Lee
Get your hit of KFC (Korean Fried Chicken) at Simon & Lee, the Parnell eatery that indulges our desire to order chicken for breakfast, lunch or dinner. There’s the KFC chicken lunchbox, which pairs chicken with slaw, pickles, shoestring fries and aioli; chicken nibbles ranging in spice level up to ‘danger spicy’ (you’ve been warned); a fried chicken burger and finally the fried chicken bao. Consider this fried chicken heaven — complete with disposable gloves to keep your paws pristine.

Beau.

Beau
Fans of Freaky (the now defunct CBD cafe) are eternally grateful that its famous fried chicken lives on at Beau. A triumph with sesame mayo, this Ponsonby wine bar makes fried chicken and a crisp glass of something good taste like the height of sophistication.

Winner Winner.

Winner Winner
Born in Hamilton, this joint is so popular it’s since established branches in Wellington, Pukekohe and Takapuna. Specialising in all things chicken, these guys know a thing or two about creating a winning chicken dinner. Brined for 12 hours and fried in buttermilk, boneless bites can be ordered with ranch and pickles, in a sandwich or stuffed in a burger with white BBQ sauce and crispy onions. With three spice levels to keep any palate happy, this is the perfect quick pitstop for a no-frills feed.

Ockhee.

Ockhee
Ponsonby Korean restaurant Ockhee serves up two different (yet equally delicious) takes on Korean fried chicken. The sweet chilli and a roasted peanut glaze is delightfully sticky and syrupy while spicy soy and sesame glazed has a deep umami flavour. We recommend pairing with the Chun Sa Chae noodle salad for a deliciously fresh contrast.

Lowbrow.

Lowbrow
As our go-to purveyors of fancy fast food, Lowbrow throws down a bloody good fried bird, taking its interpretation of this naughty nibble very seriously. The chicken sando is a thing of beauty, incorporating American cheese, iceberg, McClure’s pickles, and mac sauce with free-range chicken thigh, and the organic chicken wings… let’s just say a bucket disappears remarkably quickly.

Chop Chop’s Cobra Kai ramen with fried chicken.

Chop Chop Noodle House 
If ramen is the first thing you think of when Chop Chop comes to mind, fried chicken should be a close second. The Ponsonby noodle house can’t get enough of the stuff, whether its dripping with chilli sauce, crushed peanuts and yum yum mayo, crispy with hot Ssäm sauce or placed atop of a piping hot bowl of ramen as a delicious pièce de résistance.

Gastronomy


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Land Rover Discovery.

Three key updates to look out for on the new Land Rover Discovery

As an SUV with a stellar reputation for both practicality and luxury, the Land Rover Discovery needs no introduction. What might need more of an introduction, however, are the facelifted features of the new Land Rover Discovery — freshly debuted in the New Zealand market this year, with an extremely impressive array of updates since Discovery’s last version. 

Encompassing both the exterior and interior in a sleek design refresh, the new Disco also boasts superior technological updates such as a new, highly-intelligent infotainment system, plus even more capacity for both passengers and luggage. There are three tiers of model available on our shores; the R-Dynamic S, the R-Dynamic SE, and the R-Dynamic HSE. 

Without further ado, here are the key updates to know about the Land Rover Discovery.

New style upgrades add even more refinement
Forging ahead in its streamlining of exterior aesthetic elements, the front grille is now rendered in a more visually regular honeycomb-style, rather than the previous split frontage. Headlights and rear lights have also been updated; continuously-flowing LED lights now grace the front, replacing the former, dissected lights and new wheel designs are available in 20-to-22-inch, five split-spoke style.

Inside, the stylish updates continue, with a new steering wheel brought over from the latest Defender, and a new toggle-style gear selector. Seats have also been given a facelift with the second row now offering longer bases for improved under-thigh support, and the choice of materials spanning classic leather or a new, sustainable non-leather trim. 

The most intuitive infotainment system yet allows for ultimate connection
It’s always a joy when automobile technology is effortless (especially when you’re trying to concentrate on the road) and the Discovery’s new ‘Pivi Pro’ touchscreen interface not only incorporates a high-definition, 11.4inch touchscreen — that’s 48 percent larger than previous models — but it also facilitates advanced features such as an onboard Wi-Fi hotspot powered by a 4G LTE data connection, able to give real-time traffic-and-weather updates without any slow-down.

There are nine USB ports dotting the cabin, and it’s easier than ever to keep little ones entertained on longer journeys with novel tablet-holding accessories that can be set up in the rear seating. The Pivi Pro system also enables wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring, while two Bluetooth devices can be connected at once — no more disagreements on that front.

More space than ever before makes every journey tremendously comfortable
Even long-distance roadies can be undergone in a breeze thanks to seven genuine seats. The R-Dynamic S also incorporates heated 14-way electric front seats with a comfortable captain’s armrest, while the R-Dynamic SE is even more luxurious with heated 18-way electric memory front seats. The R-Dynamic HSE takes the overall comfort one step further with heated second-row seats as well. With all the seats folded down, there’s a vast 2485 litre boot volume, and 41.8 litres of cubby spaces means those belongings will be saved from rattling around in what is clearly a very roomy vehicle. 

Design


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Love entertaining at home? These sleek new pieces are essential for your bar cart

Whether you love hosting your nearest and dearest for drinks and dinner, or simply prefer the ritual of mixing a cocktail or two after work, a well-stocked home bar is nothing less than essential, particularly as winter rolls around.

Luckily, renowned tableware and home accessories brand Christofle has recently released a series of new additions to its lauded Graphik collection, designed to take your humble, homemade cocktails to a whole new level.

Comprising a line-up of pieces that will have you making drinks as professionally as your favourite local bartender might, the new Graphik additions include a double-walled, isothermal ice bucket (carefully designed to keep cubes intact for longer), a sleek Champagne bucket and a similarly-shaped wine cooler, a jigger, which for anyone unfamiliar with the term, is a pouring tool used for measuring the exact amount of liquor needed for each drink, and the pièce de résistance, a three-piece shaker.

The shaker in question is not only silver-plated, and etched with the Graphik collection’s signature geometric lines (as with the other pieces mentioned above) but it features a specially-made strainer to filter pre-mixed cocktails, and encourages cooling so as to ensure that every drink poured from it is exactly the right temperature.

Available locally from The Studio of Tableware, these exquisite pieces deserve to take pride of place in your at-home bar and promise to make at-home entertaining sleeker than ever.

Design


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Weekend dining agenda: We’ve got you covered from after-work tipples to comforting Sunday lunch

If an oft-repeated refrain in your friend or family circle is “So, where shall we eat?” join the club. With all the culinary choice our brilliant city has to offer, sometimes you need someone to throw some suggestions your way to make a decision. From the ideal spot to sip a Friday night tipple to Sunday morning breakfast and beyond, here are some gastronomic options you could work into your weekend plans.

Kumara skins with truffle goats feta and honeycomb from Brolly.

Friday night drinks and snacks
Park up in Viaduct Harbour bar Brolly‘s cosy space and see out the week with some moreish drinks and tasty bites. Located just downstairs from Parasol & Swing, the 20-seat venue looks right out over the water and is the perfect place to watch the sun go down. We like the look of kumara skins with truffle goats feta and honeycomb, and the house-made charcuterie plate, to be joined by one of Brolly’s delicious cocktails. A House Martini, perhaps?

Bucks Bistro’s delicious seafood is a highlight of the restaurant’s offering.

Cosy beachside lunch with the family
Even though the weather’s not meant to be flash, Bucks Bistro‘s ocean-front location is spectacular. Rain or shine, it’s a great place to bowl up to with the whānau and let the team take care of you — we’d be making a beeline for the booth by the fireplace. As seafood is one of their key offerings, we highly recommend the signature seafood platter, plus the whole flounder. Bucks Bistro also has a children’s menu comprising tasty flatbreads, fish and chips and pasta, so the whole clan can leave happily well-fed.

Duck risotto from Andiamo.

A warming Saturday night dinner
We’ve started gravitating enthusiastically towards comfort food, and the duck risotto from Andiamo hits all the spots as far as this category is concerned. Admittedly quite a rich dish, this might not be one to consume if you plan on hitting the dance floor later, as both confit and parfait duck joins a hearty dose of truffle, woodland mushrooms and pecorino to warm both the belly and the soul.

Pain Perdu (French Toast) from Lieutenant at Commercial Bay.

Sunday morning shopping pick-me-up
Sometimes the best part of indulging in a little retail therapy is planning what food or beverage outlets you’re going to visit simultaneously to keep your energy up. The superior selection of local and international boutiques at Commercial Bay is matched only by its culinary offering — grab an excellent cup of Joe at specialty coffee brewer Kōkako‘s Level 1 coffee bar, or sit down for a smoothie and some organic brioche French Toast with mascarpone, rhubarb curd, pomegranate maple and winter fruit at Lieutenant.

Beef Wellington from Ostro.

A sumptuous Sunday lunch
At this time of year, we can practically hear Ostro‘s Beef Wellington calling our name… or maybe we’re the ones doing the calling. Regardless, parking up at a Waitematā-facing table in one of our favourite restaurants and digging into a dish that never disappoints sounds like a pretty great way to beat any seasonal blues. The Wellington is available as part of Ostro’s Sunday Roast offering — booking 48 hours in advance is essential.

Gastronomy


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These clever locally-made supplements are making it easier than ever to make wellness a priority

For those of us who lead a busy lifestyle (let’s face it, a frenetic mode of existence seems to be desirable social currency in the modern, Western world), finding ways to seamlessly integrate wellness practices into our everyday routine is essential. Note the key concept here: seamlessly. Too often, we find ourselves eschewing supplements that require excessive effort, even if they promise a host of positive benefits. 

That is why, when we came across the dietary supplements by local company Botanistry, we were delighted to learn of their versatility. Taking the form of 100 percent plant-based powder formulations, Botanistry’s targeted supplements have been developed under the expert guidance of Ayurvedic practitioners, medical doctors and food technologists, each blend a balanced combination of five nutrient-dense plant ingredients.

Suitable for most lifestyle choices including vegan, keto and paleo diets, these organic health powders can be added to drinks and dishes any time of day — from soup to smoothies, salads, coffee, even salad dressings or sprinkled on toast.

The Boosting Ambers supplement is particularly appropriate for the winter months, promising to help promote better immunity. Containing turmeric, for anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory properties, vitamin C-rich lime zest, ginger, lemongrass and black pepper, this tangy, citrus-flavoured powder aims to help that immune system stay strong. We can vouch for it being delicious incorporated into a bowl of granola with fruit.

Beauty starts on the inside, and the Glowing Greens supplement is a testament to this (we love ours on a piece of avocado on toast). With mineral, vitamin and amino acid-rich Moringa powder, plus soothing peppermint, antioxidant-laden green tea and more, its main goal is to help revitalise and support skin health and metabolic function.

Botanistry currently offers a further two blends — Active Corals to help relieve muscle tension and stimulate circulation, and Digestive Jades to assist the digestive system and alleviate discomfort.

Taken daily, any of the brand’s clever supplements will harness both function and flavour to effortlessly deliver a dose of goodness — and when it comes to improving our day-to-day wellbeing, we can certainly get on board with that.

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Under The Volcano.

Culture Calendar: Six riveting documentaries you need to see at this year’s Doc Edge Film Festival

This June marks the 16th iteration of Doc Edge Festival, a celebration of documentary filmmaking organised by not-for-profit charitable organisation Documentary New Zealand Trust. Showcasing the best films from New Zealand and around the world, the Academy Awards® qualifying, international documentary film festival is held annually in Auckland, Wellington and online — although last year’s entire programme was held digitally.

As per usual, the festival line-up is impressive in its variety, delving deep on both hard-hitting and more lighthearted topics. What they mostly have in common, is they are a window into the beauty, conflict and sometimes pain of our shared humanity, one of the many reasons why documentaries are so important (and often inspiring).

Here, we highlight six films we’re looking out for.

Under The Volcano
When famed music producer George Martin built his AIR recording studio in 1979, on the picturesque yet isolated Caribbean Island of Monserrat, the world’s music legends came in droves. Dire Straits, Duran Duran, Elton John, Jimmy Buffet, Lou Reed, Paul McCartney, The Police and Stevie Wonder all made some of the most iconic songs of that generation on this tiny island, and this film (touted as one of the best music documentaries of the year so far) chronicles some of the memories and music that were shaped there.

MLK/FBI
A film that will have your pulse racing as much as any fictional thriller, MLK/FBI covers explosive information from newly-declassified FBI files, revealing the alarmingly dogged methods of surveillance and harassment of activist Martin Luther King Jr. by the US government and the FBI — in particular, the FBI’s First Director J. Edgar Hoover. It’s often important to reevaluate history through a contemporary lens, and this documentary shows us some of the discriminatory racial viewpoints (in this case, against Black activists) that have been foundational in American politics.

The Garden of Evil
Showing in its world premiere, The Garden of Evil is another documentary in the Crime and Conspiracy category that you won’t be able to tear your eyes away from. The story of Sir Peter Blake and Captain Pete Bethune, who were viciously set-upon by pirates 16 years apart in the Brazilian Amazon, is both infamous and tragic. Celebrated yachtsman Sir Blake was murdered, while Captain Bethune survived. Irish journalist and Professor of Criminology Donal MacIntyre, Brazilian Caio Vilela and British journalist Sam Cowie meet up with the Captain, and they travel back to the crime scene to explore the dark possibility that these horrific attacks may have both been carried out by some of the volatile region’s powerful criminal organisations.

A.rtificial I.mmortality
If you were able to create an immortal version of yourself, would you? This is the question asked in this futuristic documentary, along with “can we replicate the human mind and soul with technology?” Investigating some of the latest advancements in robotics, A.I and biotech, this fascinating insight into humanity’s technological evolution enlists the likes of Nick Bostrom, author of Superintelligence; Japanese roboticist, Hiroshi Ishiguro; and Deepak Chopra, who is currently creating his own A.I. mind twin.

Valerie Taylor: Playing With Sharks
Afraid of sharks? This might be one to avoid — but, then again, it might help change your viewpoint. Valerie Hunter was a famously ruthless shark hunter in the 1950s, until a personal epiphany transformed her into one of the ocean-dwelling animal’s most outspoken protectors and a passionate marine conservationist. This documentary features captivating re-mastered film footage, captured over 50 years, of Taylor’s up-close interactions with these carnivorous creatures that are so often villainised on-screen.

The Rossellinis
More of a lighthearted watch, The Rossellinis centres on one of Italian cinema’s most famous families for what Variety describes as “an indulgent but interesting exercise in documentary therapy”. Directed by Alessandro Rossellini, grandson of legendary film-maker Roberto, this wryly humorous film is the first cinematic release from the director, who uses the process to grapple with notions of legacy and inherited creativity.

Doc Edge Festival
3rd June-11th July

Showing in Auckland at SkyCity Theatre & The Civic
Wellington at The Roxy
& Online Nationwide

www.docedge.nz

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Photographer Holly Burgess on wish lists, pantsuits and unforgettable advice

Holly Burgess (Ngāpuhi, Te Ātihaunui-a-Pāpārangi) is one of New Zealand’s most exciting young fashion and portrait photographers. Increasingly in demand, the Loupe Agency-repped creative has a packed roster of clients clamouring to collaborate with her skilful eye, including Harris Tapper, Deadly Ponies, An Organised Life — plus, the pages of Denizen. A dynamic force whose reputation is a testament to her uplifting energy and beautiful imagery, here Burgess shares what’s inspiring her and what she’s enjoying currently.

What I do for a job described in one sentence: I am a photographer, I capture moments in time and space.

My personal style can be defined by: I don’t think it can be defined. My style is always in a state of flux, but vintage and retro op shop finds remain constant.

The last thing I bought and loved was: My Lady Shaka hoodie! Designed by Ngaumutane Jones. If I’m not wearing vintage I’m wearing my friends. 

An unforgettable place I visited was: The Hokianga every time. It’s home.

The next place I’d like to go to: Back to the Hokianga! I am planning a shoot with cuzzie/model Roimata up there in a few weeks. 

An object I would never part with is: My pounamu.

On my wish list is: I would love a pair of Prada loafers. My feet need a treat after wearing chunky sneakers on set from Monday to Friday. 

When I was younger, I wanted to be: I always wanted to have a corporate job because I loved pantsuits (wore one to my year six formal even). I realised later it was fashion that I loved. Phew.

My favourite app is: I hate to admit it but … TikTok. 

My guilty pleasure is: TikTok! Lol.

From left: JessB; RuPaul’s Drag Race, Burgess’ pounamu; Lady Shaka hoodie; Whose Futures? book; Emma Lewisham skincare; Prada loafers.

My secret talent is: Touch rugby.

My style icon is: My mum and aunties inspire me. I love that timeless aunty style. 

The best book I’ve read in the last year is: Whose Futures? My sister Hana and her friend Te Kahuratai Painting wrote a book chapter about Māori futurisms. I am on journey learning about my whakapapa.

Three people I’d have dinner with, living or dead, are: My mum, her mum Maata, and her grandmother Te Hana. Our matriarchal line connecting me to the Hokianga. 

I can’t miss an episode of: RuPaul’s Drag Race

In my fridge you’ll always find: Chocolate, cheese and wine.

My favourite room in my house is: My bedroom. I currently have artwork from loved ones on all four walls.

I recently discovered: The West Coast of the South Island! Stunning. 

My favourite website is: Pinterest.

A gadget I can’t do without is: My camera! 

If price were not an issue, the one artist whose work I would collect is: Nikau Hindin.

The podcasts I listen to are: Nuku, After Work Drinks and Guys We F****D.

The best gift I ever received was: My taonga from my whānau.

The beauty product I can’t live without is: All Emma Lewisham products. 

The last music I downloaded was: JessB

I have a collection of: 10-plus years of film negatives. I will get to archiving them one day. 

One of the best pieces of advice I’ve ever received is: When I was nervous my Dad would always tell me “it’s good to have butterflies, just let them fly in the same direction”. That will forever stick with me.

Culture


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Step confidently into winter with our round-up of the best boots to buy now

Forget the rubber soles of old. This winter, we’re casting aside our classic wellies for a pair of polished (but practical) boots that will see us confidently stomp through puddles without a care in the world. From Dior’s sleek iterations to Bottega Veneta’s supremely practical pairs, whether you opt for rubber or leather, the boots of the season are as much about making fashion statements as they are about keeping our feet warm and dry.

← GO BACK

SEE ALL SLIDES |

Gucci Matelassé Chelsea boot

Gucci Matelassé Chelsea boot

Gucci Matelassé Chelsea boot

Gucci Matelassé Chelsea boot

Available from Gucci

Isabel Marant Remko boots

Isabel Marant Remko boots

Isabel Marant Remko boots

Isabel Marant Remko boots

Available from Workshop

D-Major boot

D-Major boot

D-Major boot

D-Major boot

Available from Dior

Louis Vuitton Laureate desert boot

Louis Vuitton Laureate desert boot

Louis Vuitton Laureate desert boot

Louis Vuitton Laureate desert boot

Available from Louis Vuitton

Isabel Marant Demar boot

Isabel Marant Demar boot

Isabel Marant Demar boot

Isabel Marant Demar boot

Available from Workshop

Prada Monolith boots

Prada Monolith boots

Prada Monolith boots

Prada Monolith boots

Available from Prada

Rebe riding boot

Rebe riding boot

Rebe riding boot

Rebe riding boot

Available from Rebe

Diorcamp ankle boot

Diorcamp ankle boot

Diorcamp ankle boot

Diorcamp ankle boot

Available from Dior

Bottega Veneta waved-sole leather boots

Bottega Veneta waved-sole leather boots

Bottega Veneta waved-sole leather boots

Bottega Veneta waved-sole leather boots

Available from Matches Fashion

Louis Vuitton Rhapsody high boot

Louis Vuitton Rhapsody high boot

Louis Vuitton Rhapsody high boot

Louis Vuitton Rhapsody high boot

Available from Louis Vuitton

Alexander McQueen Chelsea boots

Alexander McQueen Chelsea boots

Alexander McQueen Chelsea boots

Alexander McQueen Chelsea boots

Available from Net-a-Porter

Coveted


We round up the most noteworthy moments from the Cannes red carpet

See the most desirable new releases from this year’s Watches & Wonders

Win a personal shopping experience & $1500 voucher with Commercial Bay’s new exclusive space

Our highly-anticipated new Winter Issue is here, announcing the winners of the Denizen Hospo Heroes Awards

Denizen was built around the inherent philosophy of celebrating the best of the best, shining a light on those dedicated to a particular cause and drawing attention to notable up-and-comers across a range of industries.

Aiming to lift people up and keep our readers abreast of the seemingly endless pool of talent we have on our doorstep, we have never been (nor do we ever intend on being) a platform that criticises or passes judgement.

Denizen’s Winter issue unveils the Denizen Hospo Heroes presented by American Express winners, runners up and top ten of each of the award categories — as voted by you — our food-savvy, enthusiastic readers. Once again we celebrate and honour the dedicated people who keep us satiated and drive our hospitality industry forward.

Elsewhere, we delve into awe-inspiring design, the best forward-looking fashion, the newest trends and treatments to know about in wellbeing and a comprehensive cultural guide on what to read, watch and listen to while tucked up on the couch.

We also garner exclusive access to inspiring people including renowned interior designer Virginia Fisher (who delivers a fascinating masterclass), former ‘it’ girl and prolific writer Garance Doré, lauded radio DJ and Apple Music’s Global Creative Director, Zane Lowe, and rugby great-turned-entrepreneur Dan Carter.

And with the forthcoming season likely to see you heading south to our own version of wonderland, we have curated a concise edit on the very best places to wine and dine in the Queenstown region this season.

Coveted


We round up the most noteworthy moments from the Cannes red carpet

See the most desirable new releases from this year’s Watches & Wonders

Win a personal shopping experience & $1500 voucher with Commercial Bay’s new exclusive space
Lobster & Wagyu.

Denizen’s definitive guide on where to eat and drink in Britomart

Britomart, the nine-block precinct that straddles the space between downtown and the waterfront, is one of Auckland’s most enviable dining areas. Tempting us with a formidable range of eateries, you can be certain you’ll scratch any culinary itch with its range of coffee shops, lunch spots, tasty bakeries, bustling brasseries, fine dining establishments, and cool bars. From breakfast bites to sophisticated cocktails (and just about everything in-between) here is where you should be eating and drinking in Britomart.

Morning & daytime
The Store
A longstanding favourite of the Britomart crowd, The Store boasts a two-fold offering that has made it as much a go-to for quick takeaway options as it is for longer, more leisurely lunches. The Takeaway side offers coffee, juices, smoothies, sandwiches, soups, salads and more for those seeking an easy, transportable meal; while The Diner side allows punters to enjoy an al fresco meal in a sun-drenched courtyard, with a casual, European-inspired menu that is fresh and flavoursome.

Daily Bread.

Daily Bread
Now with a number of locations around Auckland, Daily Bread has cultivated a reputation for delivering some of the tastiest baked treats this city has to offer — think expertly-made loaves of sourdough, satiating sandwiches, flaky croissants and more — and its centrally-located Britomart bakery (at the base of The Hotel Britomart) is the perfect place for a morning cuppa and a quick bite.

La Petite Fourchette
Bringing a taste of France to Britomart, this cute spot boasts an all-day breakfast menu where brunch dishes are given a delightfully French twist. (Think daily omelettes, Pain Perdu Brioché — a decadent French toast — and Galette de Pomme Terre — potato and herb hash served with a choice of avocado, bacon or salmon.) La Petite Fourchette also offers a range of delicious patisserie and savoury treats to-go.

Yeah Bowl
If it’s an easy, healthy lunch you’re after, look no further than the Britomart chapter of Yeah Bowl. Serving a range of poke bowls made with fresh, organic ingredients and free-range meats, this colourful, simple stop-in is on a mission to reimagine the idea of traditional ‘fast food.’

Better Burger.

Better Burger
Sometimes, a good old-fashioned burger and shake is just what you feel like, and this Britomart spot delivers every time. With a simple menu that covers the traditional cheeseburger, a chicken burger, a mushroom burger and fries (all able to be made ‘epic’ with a mix of mustard, cheese, onion and ‘secret sauce’) alongside free-range fried chicken and shakes that are some of the best we’ve ever had, Better Burger is perfect if you’re in the mood for something a little naughty for your lunch.

Day to Night
Ostro
One of our favourite downtown restaurants, Ostro Bar & Brasserie has long been our pick for special date nights, celebratory lunches and group affairs thanks to its consistently delicious, classic and hearty fare. Open from midday until late into the night, it isn’t just Ostro’s elevated location (in the Seafarer’s building) that sees it rise above the rest. Its menu is a celebration of modern, New Zealand food and fresh, seasonal ingredients, and its atmosphere is sleek and sophisticated. And if all that weren’t enough, Ostro recently announced that its famous Sunday roast is back on the menu — giving us even more reason to book a table, stat.

Amano. Photo: David Straight.

Amano
Undoubtedly one of Auckland’s most popular eateries, Amano is open from early in the morning, when it serves elevated à la carte breakfast (and a selection of breakfast cocktails to boot), until well into the afternoon and evening, when it is consistently humming with hungry punters. For lunch and dinner, Amano offers a delicious Italian-inspired menu that highlights seasonal, local produce (the pasta dishes are a particular highlight) and transforms from a light-filled eatery into an elegant restaurant. Attached to Amano’s expansive dining room is its dedicated bakery, where coffee, freshly-pressed juices, pastries, sandwiches, salads and more are made on-site and available for anyone seeking a simple takeaway.

Ortolana
With a name that means ‘market gardener’ in Italian, it’s hardly surprising that Ortolana has built its reputation on serving delicious, Italian-inspired fare that showcases seasonal produce from local growers. Open from early in the morning until late into the night, this intimate, cosy spot is suitable for any situation — with a range of tasty breakfast, lunch and dinner options. Recently, we’ve been loving the smashed eggs with chive and prosciutto piadina and the blue cheese gnudi with mushroom, truffle and pangrattato — but expect menu items to change according to seasonal availability.

Alma.

Alma
Heroing Andalusian flavours in its menu that marries Spanish culinary ideas with fresh New Zealand ingredients, Alma is a great place to post up for a delectable lunch or to book into for an intimate dinner. Serving small, tapas-style plates designed to share, this eatery has become one of our favourites for its unique food, relaxed atmosphere and impressive wine and gin list.

Lobster & Wagyu
Located on the rooftop of Britomart’s Seafarer’s building, Lobster & Wagyu boasts a menu that is more or less captured in its name, taking ‘surf and turf’ to bold new heights. Satiating lobster rolls sit alongside top-quality wagyu beef burgers and sandwiches like the Katsu Sando made with Black Origin wagyu sirloin, as well as a selection of decadent sides and desserts. Thanks to its enviable views across the Waitematā, this spot will see you rise above Britomart’s daily bustle.

The Brit
Perfect for a casual lunch with friends or an after-work drink, The Brit is Britomart’s answer to the classic gastropub, serving a raft of elevated pub fare and satiating share dishes. With a laid-back vibe that ramps up with screenings of rugby games and live music events, The Brit is not only an ideal place to gather with mates but is also great for dropping into with the little ones in tow.

Kingi.

Kingi
From the guys behind Orphans Kitchen, Kingi offers a menu that celebrates our kaimoana, showcasing a range of locally-sourced, sustainable seafood that draws attention to New Zealand’s unique environment. Located on the ground floor of Britomart’s historic Masonic building (right next door to The Hotel Britomart) and open throughout the day, Kingi is great to drop into for breakfast, lunch or dinner, or even a quick coffee or cocktail.

Miann
If it’s a sweet treat you’re after, look no further than Miann. Serving up a range of decadent pastries, savouries, petit gateaux, macarons, gelato and housemade chocolates (all of which are made from ethically-sourced Cacao at Miann’s dedicated Morningside factory), and open from 7am until late into the night, this is the ideal pitstop for an afternoon pick-me-up or a post-dinner dessert.

Mr Morris. Photo: Anna Kidman.

Nightime
Mr Morris
Despite being a relative newcomer to Britomart, Mr Morris has already made a serious splash. Widely praised for its food that showcases local, sustainable and seasonal produce in dishes that present as a modern mash-up of New Zealand and Pasifika cuisine, this impressive restaurant is the perfect place to go if you’re looking for a calm environment and a culinary experience.

Ghost Street
Another Britomart newbie, Ghost Street was conceived by the same culinary minds behind Xuxu Dumpling Bar, Cafe Hanoi and Saan, and has fast become one of the hottest dining spots in the area. Set in what used to be the Basement of 1885, the restaurant is dimly lit and atmospheric, designed to reimagine the bustling, hole-in-the-wall eateries of Beijing’s famous food street. This idea carries onto the menu too, where punchy, seasonal dishes (inspired by a wide crosssection of Chinese cuisine) run the gamut of flavours from tart and savoury to Sichuan and spice.

Xuxu Dumpling Bar
Handcrafted dumplings and outstanding cocktails collide at this cute little corner eatery and bar. From its casual atmosphere to its seriously flavoursome food and drinks, this enchanting spot will have you coming back time and time again for an easy, delicious bite and an expertly-crafted, seasonal cocktail (or two).

Ebisu.

Ebisu
You’ll find some of the city’s best Japanese fare at this Britomart stalwart, where izakaya-style dining is given a sophisticated twist. Settle into Ebisu’s moody, low-lit dining room and enjoy a selection of delicious plates to share, from sushi and sashimi to dumplings, tempura and larger dishes like seared duck breast and Kagoshima Black wagyu scotch. Although open for lunch service as well, nothing beats an intimate dinner here with friends or family.

Cafe Hanoi
Having recently undergone a relocation (although just next door) and a refurbishment, Cafe Hanoi continues to be one of Britomart’s most popular eateries. From its delectable menu that takes traditional Vietnamese flavours and gives them a modern twist, to its lively atmosphere that promises a fun, buzzing dining experience, it’s clear to see why this downtown hotspot has remained on our radar for so long.

Caretaker.

Drinks
Tommy’s Champagne Parlour
An air of sophistication hangs over this opulent hideaway, tucked into level six of the Seafarer’s building. Cosy and intimate, Tommy’s Champagne Parlour offers more than 30 varietals of Champagne (a number of which they do by the flute) alongside a number of classic cocktails and wines, which makes its perfect place for a drink with friends or a toast to a special occasion.

Caretaker
Designed after a New-York style speakeasy, Caretaker is a cocktail lounge inspired by the golden era of bartending. Beloved for its dimly-lit, underground vibe and its meticulous cocktails (punters can choose from an extensive menu or simply ‘trust the bartender’ to whip up a delicious concoction) this popular bar will transport you to another world.

Fukuko
Dubbed ‘the rowdy little brother to Ebisu’ Fukuko offers simple, tasty bites and delicious cocktails from its small but buzzing bar on Tyler Street. Doing dinner and drinks in a relaxed, fun way, punters can satiate their hunger with a bowl of ramen, some fried chicken or a delicious donburi and quench their thirst with one of Fukuko’s seasonal cocktails or Japanese whiskys.

Gastronomy


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