Come Friday afternoon, the conversation inevitably turns to weekend plans. In the Denizen office, this means discussing which restaurants we plan on visiting, and which dishes we intend to order. With social media providing all manner of temptation throughout the week, a curated shortlist is vital for weekend dining success. So without further ado, here are the delicious dishes from around Auckland that you need to try over the weekend ahead.
1. Wild Red Deer Sirloin from Ahi
While the days of wintry dishes are almost numbered, we plan on returning to Ahi for a final taste of a seasonal favourite. The Wild Red Deer Sirloin is simply unparalleled, with tender, juicy meat that is premium quality and cooked to perfection. Served with equally-tender coal-baked beetroot, creamed horseradish, activated walnuts and a cheese savoury, it is a dish we would happily order all year round.
2. Duck & Waffles from Jervois Steak House
We have it on good authority that this dish is set to be our new favourite — and while we haven’t had a chance to try it yet, it’s one we’ve been hanging out for. Here, the kitchen has paired duck liver parfait with croissant waffles, roasted grapes and vin coyto, giving us the elevated take on the ‘croffle’ we’ve long been craving.
3. Hot Fish Sando from Alpha
Despite its small, intimate nature, there is no shortage of dining inspiration at Alpha. Set up as Pasture’s ‘test kitchen’, this cafe (which has recently expanded into night-time service, too) showcases how creative the culinary process can be. The absolute must-try dish is a simple sandwich that might just be the best iteration of this classic staple we have ever tried. Hot market fish (both in temperature and spice) is placed between fluffy shokupan bread, with homemade tartare and crunchy lettuce. It’s perfectly spiced, outrageously flaky and completely, utterly delicious.
4. Gochujang Charred Octopus from Gochu
The popularity of Gochu head chef’s latest venture, Tokki, has us looking back to his Commercial Bay roots (conveniently easier to find a booking for). And while diners often come for the milk buns, they always stay for the unassuming favourites — the gochujang charred octopus being one. Resting on a bed of garlic chives, shallot namul and cashews, one could almost call this healthy, if it wasn’t so damned delicious.
5. Hot Buttered Lobster Roll Combo from Lobster & Tap
Sweet, divine, and always best served with lashings of butter, lobster is something we often crave. Leave it to Lobster & Tap, purveyors of the most elevated humble lobster in the city, to hit the spot just right. We’re quite grateful for the Hot Buttered Lobster Roll, with chopped lobster meat, clarified butter, lemon and chives, served warm on a hot toasted bun. Paired with chips (or crisps), coleslaw and pickles, it’s the most delightful addition to a weekend of dining.
6. Wagyu Oxtail Raviolo from Soul Bar & Bistro
It’s a big call but this just might be Soul Bar & Bistro’s greatest pasta to date. Never a venue to shy away from bold new flavours, Soul’s heavenly raviolo is the crown jewel of its current menu. Served with celeriac and pickled onion gremolata, this satiating dish is packed with rich, warming flavours that complement a perfectly-filled piece of al dente pasta.