Culprit — A European style yum cha restaurant located in the heart of the city

Having graduated from the school of Al Brown, these two chefs are doing it on their own.

Mounting anticipation in recent weeks has finally culminated in the new opening of ex-Depot head chef Kyle Street and fellow chef Jordan MacDonald’s first venture. The newly christened ‘Culprit’ is a European style yum cha restaurant located in the heart of the city, but if you ask them for their take on things, they’ll describe it as “yum cha our way”.

Located where The Black Hoof once resided on Wyndham Street (above Misters cafe), signified by tastefully subtle signage conceived by Studio South, the space has been enhanced thanks to the aesthetic direction of Kirsty Mitchell. The brick walls have been subject to a few imperfect layers of white paint while fluorescent lights hang from every which direction and curtains cordon off the kitchen and bar from the larger dining room. All this sets the stage for a truly modern dining experience that goes a little something like this:

With two sittings each evening at 6pm and 8pm, it’s a structured scenario although walk-ins are welcome. Once settled in, ideally with a drink in hand (it might be a classic cocktail or Brothers Beer draught) diners then wait for the various menu items to come to them. Dishes including kokoda, duck liver parfait with freshly cooked mini beignets, and modest but flavoursome servings of asparagus, carrot and Curious Cropper tomatoes that are wheeled out on custom-made trolleys. Anything you select gets marked up on your ticket just as it would at a traditional yum cha restaurant.

With several substantial dishes also on offer to share between the table — we tried the pull-apart serving of pork served with bitter leaves and pickled apple topped off with a puffed then deep-fried crackling that fulfils an onomatopoeic prophecy when the jus is poured overtop — fear not the thought of going hungry. Though ambitious in its concept, the experienced team have managed to make “yum cha their way” work.

Open from Tuesday. To book, click here.


12 Wyndham St
Auckland CBD


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