It might not feel like it this week, but summer is around the corner, and with seasonal change comes a raft of exciting new developments in our local hospitality scene, from new openings to new menus and more.
One such development that has landed on our radar (and should definitely be on yours too) is a mouthwatering new menu at East St. Hall, for which East St.’s Owner, Henry Mitchell Temple, called on the renowned culinary stylings of Dan Pinto, the man behind foodie-favourite pop-up, Passa Passa.
Passa Passa started as an ode to Italian food and flavours done right. And for a while, it operated as an under-the-radar pop-up kitchen, dubbed by those who tried it as one of Auckland’s best-kept secrets. But when people cottoned on to Pinto’s delicious offerings, all of Passa Passa’s pop-ups garnered something of a cult following — and for very good reason. Pinto plays with Italian classics by giving traditional flavours a unique, modern and unexpected twist, and his pizza fritta and pasta creations have taken the local foodie scene by storm.
Now, Pinto has brought his signature Passa Passa flair to the new menu at East St. Hall, which Mitchell Temple tells us is an ode to summertime in Northern Italy. Built on the idea of tasty, made-to-share bites that harness the best seasonal produce around, the concise menu starts with a series of small plates. From creamy stracciatella served with anchovies and lemon basil, to smashed cucumber with buttermilk, to parsley, orange and fennel salad to agria potatoes with rosemary, parmesan and aioli, these bites are simple, unfussy and full of flavour — the perfect way to whet the appetite.
But it’s the pizzetta that really steal the show. There’s a chilli and butter iteration, a version with leeks, lemon and taleggio, one with anchovies, tomate and pickled cucumber, and a deliciously simple marinara, with mozzarella and basil. And if all those didn’t sound delicious enough, each pizzetta comes with the option of adding extra toppings like pancetta, prosciutto or nduja.
To finish (much to the delight of those harbouring a sweet tooth) is a satiating chocolate tart with sherry, mascarpone and vanilla.
In true Passa Passa fashion, Pinto isn’t afraid of breaking the mould, so expect new flavours, rotating specials as well as seasonal changes as the weather gets warmer. The new menu is running now until Christmas, on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays from 5pm, so we suggest getting in while you can.
Alongside the new menu, East St. Hall has also reinstated its popular Jazz Nights, set to see some of the city’s most talented musicians fill the space with sultry sound. Taking place on the first Thursday of every month, keep an eye out for October’s instalment, on next week.
So, whether you’re looking for somewhere to catch up with friends for an easy meal, or are simply seeking something out of your ordinary routine, snap up a table at East St. Hall. From the good vibes to the live music to the tasty new food and always-good cocktails, there’s something here for everyone to enjoy.
Passa Passa Menu Available:
Now until Christmas, Thursday to Saturday from 5pm
East St. Hall
5 East Street