Since opening in Birkenhead earlier this year, it’s been rare to find a moment in time where Duo Eatery isn’t packed — in the best kind of way. It is perhaps a testament to owner Jordan Macdonald’s unassailable career in Auckland’s hospitality scene. A formative force in creating the likes of Culprit and Lowbrow, earlier this year he joined forces with his wife Sarah, (of Masterchef fame among many other talents) to create what would fast become one of the most popular eateries in Birkenhead, capturing the hearts (and the stomachs) of the neighbourhood in a big way. It’s been so popular, in fact, that the kitchen recently expanded the offering from brunch and lunch to a dinner service too, and we’ve got all the details.
When we initially met with the Macdonalds earlier this year, they assured us delicious brunch wouldn’t always be the main offering at Duo. Now, the eatery has procured a liquor licence and an impressive wine list, transforming into an intimate, elevated bistro once the sun goes down. Having amassed an extremely loyal following, partly thanks to their considered use of high-quality produce and artisanal products, and partly for their sophisticated fit-out of what used to be a butchery, dinner feels like the final missing piece for this neighbourhood mainstay.
Evenings at Duo are a decidedly slower affair than during the day. The menu boasts a curated selection of snacks to share alongside smaller and larger plates that can either be kept for one or shared around the table. The lamb ribs, for instance, which come with a Sicilian olive gremolata and smothered in apple glaze, are best when shared between friends. But we wouldn’t blame you if you were to keep the oyster mushroom gnocchi with cavolo nero and celeriac all to yourself. And, of course, any dinner here isn’t complete without a serving of stracciatella, fried Jerusalem artichoke and salsa verde for the table. Local, artisanal produce features heavily on the menu, including bresaola from Cazador, whipped curd from Clevedon Buffalo and tomatoes from Curious Croppers, and the chef will often use seasonality as the starting point for his culinary vision.
To match all this delicious food, Duo’s wine list is a master stroke. It is Jordan’s pride and joy, filled with bottles to which the chef himself has attached some kind of personal meaning. Comprising a curation of surprising wines from New Zealand, Australia and France, alongside an impressive line-up of natural varietals, the drinks offering is rounded off with a few zesty cocktails, including a passionfruit margarita and a housemade, yuzu-infused vodka fizz.
With Duo Eatery’s nighttime sessions firmly underway, it always becomes a question of what’s coming next? We have it on good authority that a summer cocktail hour is a possibility on the horizon, but until that happens, we will be watching this space with interest.
Wednesday — Friday, 5pm until 9pm.
138 Hinemoa Street,