Step inside Muse’s private styling room, above the beautiful Ponsonby boutique, and you will find a shopping sanctuary. Designed with Isabelle Tolich and Alisa Allison Interiors, the space is well-dressed for the occasion, with a mesmerising painting by Nick Herd above a custom bouclé sofa and Twister side table by Sophie Davies. But what will really catch your eye is the pick of new season pieces as you peruse the rack.
Whether you attend a one-on-one session or share with a friend, your personal shopper consults ahead of your appointment. With a clear idea of your personal style requirements, they curate a line-up of clothes that suit your taste — while being in step with the season. For summer, this includes refined resort collections and hints of 70s-nostalgia, the latter coming through in the form of bold prints and colours, co-ordinate sets, floaty kaftans and crisp cotton poplins.
The bespoke experience is also a chance to preview new collections — complimentary Champagne in-hand — before they reach the shop floor. Currently, this includes the vibrant vintage patterns of Milan-based label La Double J, eclectic and floral designs from Australian label Alemais, chic and comfortable footwear from Proenza Schouler, and sparkly and slimline swimsuits from Oséree.
While each experienced stylist has their own unique flair, they draw on Muse’s 25-year heritage to ensure you receive the most luxurious and specially tailored advice. Effortless elegance is always paramount — whether you’re here for a seasonal update, a special event piece, or a re-stock of staples. Aiming to help clients fill much-needed gaps in their wardrobes, Muse welcomes you to bring along problem pieces, to work out exactly what you can wear with them.
The experience ensures you find garments that you will hold dear — while learning some style secrets along the way.
The pizza market is burgeoning in Auckland, as outposts have spun the most delicious pies into a kind of culinary art form. Next to get a slice of the perfected pizza genre is Onehunga, with the opening of Slabs Pizza.
As the name suggests, the neighbourhood eatery serves deep-dish squares, Detroit-style. Cooked in traditional blue steel pans, the pizzas are slow to rise. Holding high hydration in the dough while it’s in the pizza oven results in a soft, fluffy interior — almost like focaccia — and a super crispy base.
Whether you grab a full or half size slab, each is made to order. Toppings are lavishly layered on top, with sauce often going on — not before — but after most for a truly sensational mouthful. The O.G Square treats us to the classic red sauce, Grana Padano cheese and basil. The Pepperoni takes things up a notch with the addition of tabasco and guindilla peppers. For vegetarians, the Mushroom option, with ricotta, truffle, pecorino and parsley, is a sell-out — and there is also a vegan option with all the trimmings.
Thanks to the cooking method, the crusts of each slice have a crave-worthy caramelised cheese crust. These are given the attention they deserve with additional dips created specifically for the outer edges, including ranch, red and BBQ sauce.
For those after a little more, there is a trifecta of sides — garlic bread with all the cheese, garlic butter and red sauce; fries with house seasoning and roasted garlic aioli; and wings with BBQ and ranch sauce.
While we think it’s worth taking a seat at the purple-hued pizzeria for the all-consuming smell of freshly baked pizza, Slabs has also developed an online ordering system to make it easy to pick up takeaway orders as soon as they come out of the oven.
Before Slabs, owner Simon Murphy started Umu in Kingsland, which specialises in pizza with a sourdough base that took ten years to develop, and the cultivation of an ancient starter. This new venture has the same level of care. Spotlighting only six signature flavours, and a drinks menu of ice-cold soft drink cans, the focus is on curation and quality before all else.
A key ingredient to achieving success in the home kitchen is the collection of tools you’re working with. Just as sharp knives, high-quality pans and appropriate implements all contribute to making the gastronomic process as hitch-free as possible, so too do appliances.
If you’ve ever struggled to cook a roast chicken without it drying out, or to bake a cake evenly, then perhaps it could be time to look at upgrading to an intuitive oven that takes the guesswork out of meal prep.
Opening up a whole new world of cooking, Miele’s steam range utilises impressive technology that will have both home cooks and culinary experts racing to the kitchen. Available in various niche sizes and designs, the range has options to suit any room, whether compact or cavernous.
Kitted out with DualSteam technology — which enables fast heat-up times and cooking durations, as well as even steam distribution — it’s easier than ever for you to prepare food. During the cooking process, the whole oven compartment fills with steam and the oxygen is displaced — so the food remains visually and structurally intact, while retaining its natural flavour. Picture how good steamed broccoli tastes when it is as vibrant as when it was picked, or salmon that is blushing pink.
Pushed for time? A spacious oven interior and large tray offers maximum space, allowing several portions to be prepared simultaneously. No more waiting for the roast veges to cook before you can slide in the lamb rack. The Miele steam and microwave combination ovens even have a popcorn setting, with times and wattages tailored to a 100gram packet of microwave popcorn.
Several models of the steam oven also boast a built-in sous vide function, for you to prepare meat, fish, fruit or vegetables with utmost tenderness and flavour.
Back to that dreaded dry chicken, you’ll never have to worry about that again with a steam combination oven. Imagine locking in all that moisture, while also perfectly crisping the chicken skin. The steam combination simultaneously puts moisture into the cavity while the elements heat up and brown the bird. With such exquisite possibilities, we’re sure there will be chefs kisses all around.
If you’re wondering where to eat this February, fear not — there’s plenty of culinary goodness to delight in. Even with the country in the red setting of the traffic light system, we can still get out and about to local eateries, which need our support more than ever. From collaborative events to the best new openings, here’s what to sink your teeth into this month.
Make a booking Gochu debuts a new event series After the roaring success of their sell-out Test Kitchen events last year, the Gochu team has come up with a new must-book series. They’ll be inviting their favourite producers across the country to Commercial Bay, offering a night of delicious food by chef and co-owner Jason Kim, plus whatever their friends will bring along.
To kick things off, the Kelly Washington winemakers will join them on the 22nd of February. Seeking the most unique and diverse parcels of high-quality fruit, the husband-and-wife team work with vineyards in Marlborough and Central Otago to make elegant and honest wines. They prioritise old vines, high-density planting, vineyards of altitude, and organic and biodynamic farming.
Gochu and Friends, Tuesday 22nd February $75 per head for food, featuring a special menu to be revealed on the night by Jason Kim, and the latest organic wines from Kelly Washington. Click here to book.
Auckland eateries offer plenty of delicious ways to celebrate Chinese New Year Beginning on the 1st of February this year, the Chinese New Year period runs for up to 16 days. It’s customary to celebrate the transition to a new zodiac sign by gathering the family for a delicious feast — and many Auckland restaurants are offering special menus that will make the occasion even more auspicious. Find all the one-off menus, plus the best Chinese restaurants to indulge in authentic dishes, in our guide here.
Kelmarna Gardens hosts al fresco ‘Farm Dinners’ Arguably the perfect event for these times, Grey Lynn organic farm Kelmarna is bringing back its popular outdoor Farm Dinners. Collaborating with their favourite chefs to celebrate the bounty of the land, Kelmarna’s team invites diners to join them at long tables on their Village Green, right in the heart of the gardens.
This year, the dinners are set over six nights, with acclaimed Eden Terrace plant-based restaurant Forest taking up residence from 16th to 19th February, and Ozone and Salo Salo taking over the following week on the 23rd and 24th of February respectively. Forest and Ozone, which both feature Kelmarna’s produce on their menus every week, will each be serving a four-course set menu, while Salo Salo will provide a new experience for many, bringing their take on the traditional Filipino communal dining practice of ‘kamayan’, a celebration feast laid out on banana leaves and designed to be enjoyed with the hands. Click here for more details and to book.
Stand-out restaurant dishes to try Many of Auckland’s best restaurants are serving up fresh summer menus to welcome the new year, and we’ve loved getting amongst. From oh-so-fresh sashimi platters to heavenly pasta and unforgettable snacks, find all the dishes you should be seeking out right now in our guide here.
New openings to check out Pōni The harbour-facing Commercial Bay restaurant previously known as The Poni Room has been given a new lease on life by hospitality virtuoso David Lee (The Candyshop, Gochu, Camper Coffee and more). At Pōni, the Asian-fusion direction remains, having been elevated and tweaked, and a revamped drinks offering has broader appeal. Read all about it here.
Taco Medic Queenstown’s favourite craft taqueria (and food truck) has opened on Ponsonby Road, slinging its signature hand-crafted corn tortillas filled with mouth-watering Mexican-inspired combinations. Head along for a flavoursome meal and perhaps a frozen margarita or two to stave off this heat. Read all about it here.
Slowlane Arriving to fill a gastronomic hole in the area of Greenlane, Slowlane is a welcoming and peaceful daytime eatery with plenty to love. Find a menu of classic Kiwi brunch and lunch fare, cooked with finesse, and top-notch coffee. Read all about it here.
Tiger Burger Dominion Road has welcomed a second outpost of the Korean-fusion burger favourite. Serving all the staples, including the chicken Gang-Jeong burger and the patented Kimcheese, Tiger Burger Mt Eden has also added Korean fried chicken to its menu especially. Read all about it here.
Knead on Benson A new Remuera café has locals lining up for its exquisite pastries, handmade from scratch onsite, and Allpress Espresso coffee. As well as the aforementioned baked goods, Knead offers a variety of delicious sandwiches, pies and whole loaves of bread. Should you be after a hot meal, there’s a selection of scrumptious dishes from the kitchen including scampi spaghetti, halloumi with smashed eggs, eggs Benedict and more.
Slabs Pizza It’s hip to be square at Auckland’s new Detroit-style deep dish pizza joint. Named Slabs Pizza, this new joint has opened in Onehunga courtesy of the founder of Kingsland’s Umu, and serves deep-dish squares with a variety of mouth-watering toppings. Read all about it here.
If anyone understands music’s ability to make a mood, it’s Nathan Haines and Jaimie Webster Haines. The husband-and-wife duo is a music industry dynamo, and founded Zoot Music in 2019 — a multi-faceted sound design, music production and playlist curation company.
Offering everything from original productions for fashion shows to artist collaborations, brand identity, custom playlists and in-house DJ installations, Haines and Webster Haines utilise their hefty musical nous and excellent taste for all manner of projects. Here, they kindly share a blissful jazz-focused playlist to cue up this season.
Since it opened in 2016, Grey Lynn eatery Tiger Burger has garnered fans from far and wide for its particular brand of fusion that melds Korean flavours with decadent burgers, to offer a whole new take on the bun-encased genre.
As of today, the burger purveyor is set to become even more popular with the opening of its second outpost at 590 Dominion Road in Mount Eden.
The Tiger team has been working away at this new opening for three years — as with nearly all of Auckland’s hospitality businesses, lockdowns provided far too many challenges. Now, they’re “super excited” about arriving among the many excellent eateries of Dominion Road, their Korean-tinged fare poised to be the perfect addition to the area.
Find all your favourites, from the Gang-Jeong burger comprising double-fried, free-range chicken thigh in a chilli-soy glaze with pickled radish, shredded lettuce and gochu mayo; to the patented Kimcheese with signature blend, New Zealand grass-fed beef and sautéed house kimchi, aged cheddar and gochu mayo.
For Tiger Burger’s new location, Korean fried chicken has been added to the menu, which is sure to be a must-add side to any order. Meanwhile, classics like the various loaded fries, bibimbap slaw and chicken bites are back and better than ever.
While “very different” to its Grey Lynn store, Tiger Burger 2.0 can seat 65 people dine-in, and also offers online orders for pick-up — plus delivery via Uber Eats and Delivereasy.
So, should the hankering for a burger seize your tastebuds, why not pay this flavoursome new opening a visit?
One of the many restaurants celebrating Chinese New Year with colourful feasts for friends and family is Azabu Mission Bay. Especially auspicious, its Lunar New Year Seafood Platter presents the best market seafood of the day, including crayfish, sashimi, Ruakaka kingfish ceviche and tuna guacamole in one abundant dish.
It’s best enjoyed in the spacious Roku Gin Garden, where you can feel the breeze of the sea as you enjoy a cocktail made to celebrate the Year of the Water Tiger. The bold concoctions are sure to help you face the year ahead with the courage and conviction of 2022’s zoological zodiac sign.
To celebrate the Chinese New Year, between Tuesday the 1st and Sunday the 13th of February, Denizen and Azabu Mission Bay are giving away a festive experience for the lucky number of eight. This is your chance to win three Lunar New Year Seafood Platters to share, as well as two cocktails per table member, valued at $800.
There’s so much more to Auckland than the five-kilometre radius encompassing its centre and the neighbouring suburbs. Whenever a new hospitality opening brings more culinary options to a previously lacking area, we are all for it. Seeing an opportunity to do just this in Greenlane, the founders of the hugely popular &Sushi have opened a new cafe: Slowlane.
Jeff Kim and Isaac Yu form the duo behind both ventures, which operate under the umbrella of their hospitality company And Group. While the road to opening Slowlane was long and arduous, due to Covid and lockdowns, they’re delighted to now be able to welcome customers.
Of the Great South Road location, Kim says he has lived in the area for 12 years, and always lamented the lack of good food options nearby. The space became available, so he decided to take matters into his own hands.
The thought behind Slowlane was to provide a relaxing environment where people can come and enjoy a bite and a great cup of coffee, and take a moment to detach from the daily grind. The space itself can seat 85 to 90, including outside. It’s peacefully tonal, with a mixture of textures from light grey concrete and dark-grained wooden tables to realistic faux plants (designed to mimic toetoe) that bring a feeling of nature and calm.
Food-wise, the focus is on daytime fare done well. We’re told Head Chef Marvin Choi brings experience from the likes of former waterfront stalwart Euro and Hobsonville Point’s Fabric, and under his guidance, everything is cooked with delicious finesse.
Find breakfast and brunch-appropriate dishes like granola, creamy mushrooms on toast, omelettes, bruschetta and more. The brioche French toast is a lovely rendition of the dish, surprisingly light and airy and served with citrus maple syrup, poached peaches and mascarpone. Eggs Benedict lovers will be well served with three options — bacon, portobello mushroom, or cured salmon.
For lunch, you would do well to order the market fish — we tried the snapper, cooked to crispy-skinned perfection and served on a silky cauliflower purée with moreish grains and pomegranate seeds. The butterfly steak, comprising flat sirloin with two fried eggs, onion rings and savoury Diane sauce, was also cooked beautifully. Should you be operating more in the fast lane for the day, there’s a cabinet stocked full with sandwiches and wraps, baked goods and more to takeaway.
There’s an emphasis on making from scratch at Slowlane, from house-made sauces and condiments to the coffee which they source and roast themselves — single-origin from Papua New Guinea. The eatery is also licenced, serving crisp Continental Platter prosecco on tap as well as beer from Asahi, Sawmill and Boundary Road, plus a range of wines.
Slowlane is open during daytime hours for now, but its owners have plans to eventually expand to dinner. For the time being, they’re working on perfecting the offering, a pursuit there’s no need to rush.
As the long weekends stretch out before us, it’s time to reach for an outfit that will act as its own ray of sunshine, no matter the weather or traffic light level. Having recently arrived at Muse Boutique, La Double J is signalling a sense of la dolce vita — providing a well-timed pick-me-up to our summer wardrobe.
Unearthing a halcyon heritage of vintage patterns from the archives of Italy’s top textile manufacturers, La Double J prints these vibrant designs onto fine silks and crisp cottons from the shores of Lake Como. The effortless dresses and matching sets with joy-enhancing, eye-popping prints feel right for this hemisphere too.
The heart and soul of La Double J is founder J.J. Martin, a spirited former journalist for the likes of Harper’s Bazaar and WSJ, who brings an editor’s eye and the holistic ease of her native California to seek out the best crafts and culture of her adopted home.
As the brand’s exclusive stockist in New Zealand, Muse’s curated range of its maximal ready-to-wear garments has a welcome sense of spontaneity, while skilfully satisfying every summer style whim.
Starting the new year back in the city may come with a creeping sense of foreboding as we move to level ‘red’, but there is still plenty to look forward to on the horizon. The Chinese New Year celebration (also known as the Lunar New Year) leaps at the chance of new beginnings over 15 days of celebration this January and February.
Marking the the transition between zodiac signs, 2022 is set to be the Year of the Tiger. Given that this spirit animal is known to be strong in the face of adversity, we can’t think of a better alignment. More specifically, this is the Year of the Water Tiger, which is known to bring good fortune in relationships and family life, as well as success in work life, with some determination. So, let’s toast to turning this year around with some of the most auspicious menus around Auckland.
Huami Meaning ‘nectar’ in Mandarin, the masterful Huami restaurant promises something beautiful and precious at every sitting. The Sky City stalwart is offering three unique set menus from Monday the 31st of January to Tuesday the 1st of February. The Nectar, Premium and Deluxe set menus include favoured dishes such as wood-roasted Peking duck, braised supreme seafood treasure soup, and wok-braised supreme abalone slices with fish maw, black moss and black truffle. If you don’t set out for the set menu, you can still add some of these special dishes to your bountiful table from a side menu. It includes the wok-fried crayfish with butter and superior broth and Beijing style whole fish with light vinegar sauce.
Ebisu Chinese New Year has come to be known as a time for feasting with family, and, fortunately, Ebisu has curated a special menu that will ensure everyone is satisfied. The six-course menu includes a selection of Ebisu favourites, including its signature sashimi, Wagyu and scampi sushi, crayfish and spanner crab dumplings and Shio Koji lamb rack. We recommend matching the meal with its themed cocktail list and premium wine list, selected to mark the occasion. Given the exceptional nature of this set menu, it must be booked in advance, for a minimum of four people.
Pearl Garden With 45 years of experience up their sleeves, the team at Newmarket sensation Pearl Garden have created one of the best Chinese eateries in town. While you can count on the prawn toast, prawn and chive dumplings and steamed pork buns to satisfy your savoury cravings, the golden custard buns have also been called a must-try dish. Given its a special occasion, we recommend ordering extra.
Park Hyatt Auckland To ensure the Lunar New Year starts on a prosperous note, Park Hyatt Auckland is putting on two excellent dining experiences. Onemata is offering an inspired four-course dinner menu, created by Head Chef Rob Hope-Ede on Monday the 31st of January and Tuesday the 1st of February. The mouth-watering menu marries Asian inspiration with premium local ingredients, including pork and pāua dumplings, grilled scampi with XO chilli sauce and Szechuan braised lamb shoulder. Meanwhile, The Living Room is offering an auspicious afternoon tea, filled with five courses of delicious treats, to enjoy in the light-filled restaurant.
Balenciaga’s Year of the Tiger Series While it’s not offering sit-down meals as such, Balenciaga has created a range of Lunar New Year-themed beverages and chocolates while you feast your eyes on the luxury brand’s Year of the Tiger series in store. The exclusive collection includes a spirited update of Balenciaga classics, including its Hourglass bags and luxury streetwear staples in vibrant orange and tiger stripes. Private appointments at its Westfield Newmarket store are available from Friday the 28th to Sunday the 30th of January, so we suggest you pounce at the opportunity. (Call the store’s sales associate at 09 520 3180 or email [email protected].)
Ghost Street Known for its city slicker space, thoughtfully designed by Dajiang Tai and James Ting of Cheshire Architects, Ghost Street is celebrating Lunar New Year in style with a special menu of delectable dumplings, noodles and desserts, including the traditional Tang Yuan — with vegan alternatives on-hand. In collaboration with Peddlers Gin Company, the pop-up series includes refreshing cocktails — we have our eyes on the Negroni-esque Flying Cat. Order any item from the Lunar menu, and your table will receive a red envelope, with your chance to win a bottle of Peddler’s Gin, a dining voucher valued at $150, cocktail specials and winsome gifts.
Sunnytown With chefs who have trained in China, and who place great importance on their selection of ingredients including genuine Sichuan peppers from Sichuan, Sunnytown is a joy to visit this Lunar New Year. We recommend heading to its Lorne Street or Commercial Bay locations to see what in-restaurant specials they have on offer.
Ostro When it comes to celebrating in style, Ostro is always on the menu. To ring in the Lunar New Year, it is offering a set dish feast, including an exquisite seafood platter, with a crayfish upgrade on request, and a sublime beef Wellington. A still-secret Chinese New Year cocktail special will keep spirits high, while gold and red themed petit fours will complete the meal with charm. If your evenings are already booked up with festivities, there is also the option of a Lunar New Year High Tea on Sunday the 13th and 20th of February — sure to elevate any catch-up with friends and family.
Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour Ring in the New Year with a flavoursome roar at the Sofitel’s La Marée restaurant. Its festive menu features traditional Chinese delicacies, paired with classic culinary techniques. A fresh seafood platter with poached or sashimi lobster, oysters, market fish, clams, and mussels, is followed by a three-course set menu that includes saffron noodles, spanner crab with Shaoxing jiu spiked bisque and salmon caviar. For something sweet, try the citrus eclipse meringue with a hint of mint and ginger sorbet. Bookings are essential, and some dishes are subject to seasonal availability to keep things fresh.
Grand Harbour Viaduct Harbour’s Grand Harbour is an institution that has cultivated a loyal following of customers and a strong reputation for being home to some of the best dim sums in town, with over 80 different varieties to choose from. While it may be hard to secure a booking at such a busy time for the Hong Kong-style restaurant, it’s still worth trying your luck for its bustling atmosphere alone.
Auckland Fish Market The Chinese New Year will be celebrated at the Auckland Fish Market with decorations on view from the 1st of February and a range of divine dishes available from its family of eateries. Bang Bang Kitchen has whipped up a crayfish yi mein noodle with ginger and spring onion. Market Galley has perfected a grilled crayfish with garlic butter, and Lobster & Tap are offering a spicy option of its beloved lobster roll. The Wreck bar is supplying the cocktail specials, including a Mandarin Spritz, Lychee Bellini and Mandarin Ginger Sour. If you are feeling lucky, the fishmongers at Sanford & Sons are running a red packet giveaway, with spot prizes and promotions.
Azabu Azabu always does things its own way, and its Chinese New Year specials are no exception. Both Azabu Ponsonby and Mission Bay are offering a seafood platter artfully arranged with the best market seafood of the day, including crayfish, assorted sashimi, Ruakaka kingfish ceviche and tuna guacamole. The soon-to-be-revealed cocktail list shares in the festivities with creative concoctions you’ll feel fortunate to drink. For one lucky table of eight, Denizen and Azabu Mission Bay is giving away an excpetional Chinese New Year experience here.
Empress Garden Chinese Restaurant This Herne Bay institution is known for its heavenly crispy yet succulent Peking duck, not to mention its Yeung Chow fried rice that sees a medley of pork and shrimp woven into a bed of deliciously fluffy rice. While they are not putting on a special menu as such for Chinese New Year, their range of delectable dishes is reason enough to book in a convivial round table.
Chamate With a focus on modern cuisine that represents the cuisines of many different regions, Chamate takes our taste buds on a tour of China — all from its central Auckland City location. Connoisseurs can expect to find hand-pulled beef noodle soups from Lanzhou, the spicy flavours of Sichuan, and dim-sums and more delicacies from Xinjiang and Shanghai.