Feast on Pinchos at MoVida

From drag brunches to al fresco farm dinners, our February Dining Guide has everything to eat, drink and enjoy this month

February, it seems, is a big month for hospitality happenings, with a raft of delicious going on to look forward to. From uproarious bottomless brunches to the city’s best happy hours, wine & cheese tastings, exceptional new menus, al fresco farm dinners, sundowner specials and more, here we present our definitive February Dining Guide.

Left: Soul Bar & Bistro’s new crayfish crumpet. Right: Kelmarna’s Farm Dinners

Sample Soul’s Delectable New Menu Items

Adding to an already impressive list of exceptional fare loved city-wide, Soul has outdone itself with a handful of new menu items that have become instant hits. The crayfish crumpet (need we say more) has the perfect amount of bite, sitting pretty alongside tart grapefruit and mint & pea tendrils, topped with miso butter and bisque. Elsewhere on the menu, the Tokyo turnip cakes come two ways — the first (a vegan delight) sees the cakes topped with eggplant, zucchini and peanut crisp, while the second features beef tartare and oscietra caviar. Two new summery desserts have also been added — a mandarin and apricot ice cream cake with dacquoise and Italian meringue, and a strawberry meringue, served with matcha white chocolate crémeux and strawberry consommé. Sublime.
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Dine Al Freso at Kelmarna’s Farm Dinners

Grey Lynn-based organic community farm Kelmarna is bringing back its popular outdoor Farm Dinners this February, and spots are already filling fast. The farm is set to collaborate with a series of their favourite chefs to celebrate the bounty of the land, inviting diners to join them at long tables on their Village Green, right in the heart of the gardens, to enjoy the land’s produce. This year, dinners are set over eight nights, with Luntain, Joe O’Connell + Chino Salazar, Orphans Kitchen, and food waste charity Everybody Eats taking up residence for two nights each, respectively. Some sitting have already sold out, so be quick if you want to get in on the action.
Secure your spot here.

Left: Céleste’s famous handmade, bistro-style burgers. Right: QT Rooftop’s Bottomless Brunch

Indulge in QT Rooftop’s Bottomless Brunch

To turn Sunday into something more celebratory than scary, look to QT Rooftop’s new ‘Bottoms Up’ bottomless brunch, running weekly throughout February. Here, as you make your way through a Mediterranean feast including tasty tapas (from flatbread with tomato, oregano and manchego, to piquillo peppers, gildas, and chorizo croquettes) and plates of paella, you’ll be slung boundless jugs of sangria, Aperol spritzes, bellinis, mimosas and chilled glasses of rosé. The DJ’s will hit the decks from 4pm, for those who can’t resist turning bunch into a debaucherous afternoon.
Secure your spot here.

See Out Golden Hour at Céleste

Those who couldn’t get enough of Céleste’s very, very perfect lockdown burgers will delight in the news that you can once again get your hands on one during Céleste’s newly-instated Golden Hour. Running Wednesday through Saturday from 5-6pm (or until sold out) you’ll find the famous handmade, bistro-style burgers for a modest $15, alongside $3.50 oysters, garlic frites and daily drinks specials. We can’t think of a better way to spend a summer night.
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Gilt’s Martini Mondays

Indulge in Gilt’s Martini Mondays

With its decidedly European slant, convivial vibe no matter the day, and delicious menu, Gilt is the perfect spot to while away a late summer evening. Adding to our long list of reasons to visit are the elevated establishment’s Martini Mondays, where, from 11.30am ’til late, thirsty patrons can enjoy $15 martinis. Vesper, Gibson, Dirty — whatever your proclivity, Gilt has you well-satiated, ensuring every week is started in style.

Feast on Pinchos at MoVida

In true Basque style, every Tuesday — Saturday from 4-7pm MoVida are serving up a delicious Pinchos Hour, not to be missed. Take a seat at the bar and enjoy a selection of ever-changing small plates, for a modest $5 per piece no less, including the infamous anchoa, fluffy bocadillo de calamares, freshly shucked oysters, and plenty of drinks specials. Top tip: The sangria de le casa is a must.
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Make for Norma Taps for an Evening of Taps & Tunes

On Saturday 17th February, make for Norma Taps where you’ll find mouthwatering bites, satiating seasonal drinks (all served on tap), and the tantalising tunes of Kédu Carlö, supported by Mario & Luigi and DJ LinkedIn. Sure to be a great vibe, tickets are $25 and include a drink on arrival.
Book your tickets here.

INCA’s new dishes

Treat Yourself to Lunch at INCA

INCA has reopened for lunch at last, with a raft of new dishes and menu items to celebrate. Thursday through Sunday between 12-3pm, you’ll find new additions such as black cod and prawn gyoza, a crispy duck and watermelon salad, and ember-roasted candied Kumeu Strawberries served with basil ice cream and toasted meringue. If the kids are in tow, they’re in luck as a free churro with caramel sauce awaits. And if you’re looking for the perfect spot for dinner pre-movie or a show, INCA offers a delectable three-course rapido menu for a modest $49, too.
Book a table here.

Don’t miss the new Chef in Residence at Roses Dining Room

From next Friday, the 23rd of February, K’Road’s Roses Dining Room will welcome Dave Collins for a three-week residency. This chef and winemaker might be known for his wine label, 15 Minute Bottles, although he also boasts with an extensive background in food, having worked as a chef all around the world before returning to New Zealand to turn his attention to winemaking. For Collins, food is an experience rather than just a dish, so diners should expect plates that are for sharing, and that are nostalgic and no fuss with classic flavours and rustic notes. Notably, on the first night of Collins’ residency (February 23rd), Roses will simultaneously be welcoming its very first international winemaker Aiden Raftery of Ignavi/Vintners and Vagabond, all the way from Georiga. Shaping up to be an unmissable night for wine-lovers (given the fact that Georgia really is one of the birthplaces of wine and how rare it is to get Georgian varietals in New Zealand) the launch of Dave Collins’ residency at Roses should definitely be on every foodie’s radar.

Left: Saturday Satiation at ByTheBottle. Right: Palmer Bar

Attend an Uproarious Drag Bunch at Palmer Bar

On Saturday, February 17th Palmer Bar is hosting a bottomless, all-singing, all-dancing, drag brunch featuring Auckland’s A-list Queens. Hosted by Rosa Violeta, Crystal Quartz and Yuri Guaii (from Rupaul’s Drag Race Down Under), from 12-3pm you’ll be treated to a delicious brunch featuring a demo on how to make the perfect Mimosa or Bellini, as well as performances by the Queens — from routines and spirited lip syncing to games and more, this is one event not to be missed.
Secure your spot here.

Enjoy Saturday Satiation at ByTheBottle

Perennial favourite wine retailer ByTheBottle opened the doors to their first physical space last August, offering Aucklanders a slick spot to pick up a drop or two in-person. There, customers delight in tapping up the friendly and knowledge staff for recommendations whilst browsing the many unique and interesting libations lining the shelves. And every Saturday, the team runs tastings (on the house), offering locals and those coming from further afield the opportunity to try something they may not otherwise look to, bringing in a host of producers and winemakers to add insight on the many varietals and styles on offer. There are four tastings across February: Riesling Riot on the 3rd, highlighting dry rieslings of summer, Maraton Downs on the 10th, pouring their current releases, Chilled Reds on the 17th, and Mr Mug on the 24th, pouring their delicious sweet vermouth. Salute!

Left: Six Barrel Soda’s Pop-Up. Right: Hotel Britomart’s Best Cheeses Sampling

Indulge in an Evening of Wine & Cheese at Hotel Britomart

On Sunday, 25th February, make for The Libraries Lounge at Hotel Britomart for an evening of wine, cheese and culinary education. For one evening only, lauded cheesemakers Jill and Chris Whalley of Mount Eliza Cheese are hosting a ‘Meet the Makers’ event, offering insight into their boutique dairy business and incredible experience in bringing the art of raw milk cheese production back to New Zealand. Starting at 5pm, guests will be treated to a three-course menu of cheese curated by executive chef Andrew Lautenbach, accompanied by matched wines selected by sommelier Tony Suarez.
Secure your spot here.

Get Your Fizz Fix at Six Barrel Soda’s Pop-Up

Wellington-based Six Barrel Soda is hosting a pop-up tasting room in Britomart from Wednesday 21st to Saturday 24th February. Open daily from 10am-6pm, fizz fans can make for 52 Tyler Street to sample the full range (including the delicious Spiced Orange, made in collaboration with Everybody Eats). We’d suggest timing your visit to coincide with the daily happy hour, running from 12.30-1.30pm, as this is when you’ll find free mocktails, and on Thursday, donut holes from Daily Bread are on the house, too.


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