Somehow, we’ve blinked and it’s October. Labour Day is upon us, and with it comes the final long weekend of 2023. Luckily for those spending a leisurely few days in the city, there’s a host of fabulous food-related goings-on to fill the days. From the best local openings to where to take the kids to dine for free, Denizen has rounded up where to celebrate all things foodie and frivolous in Auckland this Labour weekend.
Ahi steward Ben Bayly’s much-loved TV show is about to air its third season, and once again the esteemed Chef has drawn on his learnings and discoveries whilst filming to bolster the restaurant’s already impressive offering. The result is a new tasting menu that pays homage to Aotearoa’s natural resources; pairing exceptional local ingredients with produce grown at Ahi’s organic gardens to create something truly unique. The concise menu, aptly dubbed ‘The New Zealand Food Story’, is exactly that: a tale of Aotearoa’s abundance, from the land to the sea and back again. Here, there is a focus on underutilised ingredients, think long-finned eel and yellow foot queen pāua served alongside the likes of Coromandel mussel bhaji and ever-changing seasonal salads. The tasting menu, available now and indefinitely, includes four snacks and four courses, plus an additional two koha items. At $165 per person secure your spot here.
Make your long weekend plans with the kids extra special and treat the whole family to a meal at Commercial Bay’s magnifique French destination: Origine. Serving consistently delicious French fare with spectacular views to match, Origine has solidified itself as a go-to spot for elevated dining and family outings alike. With a menu boasting French favourites from faux foie gras (a delectable truffle and duck liver pate) to steak haché (a classic French minced eye fillet steak with green peppercorn sauce & fries), to pinot braised boeuf bourguignon and les moules (an earthy-sweet saffron broth brimming with green lipped mussels and scampi), there’s something for everyone — including the mini gastronomic connoisseurs amongst us. The kids’ menu is a delight, featuring butterfish gougers with buttery peas and fries, fresh-handmade, buttered pasta with new-season asparagus, lamb vol au vents (a scrumptious French pie) and more. The clincher? Kids aged 12 and under now dine for free on the weekends. Merci beaucoup!
A tasty new offering is landing at Somm just in time for the long weekend. Now, every Sunday, Somm is offering two for one on their utterly delicious pizzas — perfect when paired with a crisp drop from their extensive cellar. Somm takes their pizza making seriously, with a 72-hour poolish dough that would delight even without the considered list of toppings. When it comes to choosing flavours, however, the potato, truffle, thyme and smoked brie is a sensation not to be missed, while the raclette, ‘nduja, honey and rosemary is a delightfully failsafe crowd pleaser. Somm’s menu has been carefully crafted to go hand-in-hand with any number of the exquisite wines on offer (pizzas included), so be sure to consult one of their trusted wine stewards who are on hand to ensure you’re selecting the perfect pairing. Sunday satiation has never looked better.
Broke Boy Taco, the hugely popular pop-up serving epic, cult-status birra tacos, has laid down roots in Mount Albert and we’re sure the loyal legions will flock. This long weekend, be one of the first to frequent what will undoubtedly soon be a mainstay in Auckland’s casual dining scene, and indulge in any number of chef Sean Yarbrough’s impressive signature tacos.
To mark Veuve Clicquot’s 250th anniversary, Bivacco has this week unveiled its very own interpretation of the classic Veuve Clicquot x burger pairing, drawing inspiration from the iconic 1964 New Yorker ad which saw a burger and glass of Clicquot dubbed the (un)official après l’Opera snack. Celebrating the storied wine maison and its unmissable yellow label, Bivacco has crafted a burger that borrows tasting notes from the signature crisp freshness of Clicquot. The result? A delightful scallop and prawn patty dressed with guindilla mayonnaise, topped with a handful of crisp lollo rosso to add a touch of crunch, all housed in a pillowy soft bun. Bivacco’s perfect pairing is available at the bar only, for a limited time so book your spot for the long weekend here now.
Mount Eden has just welcomed a cute new spot serving up delicious Korean-style doughnuts that deserve a place on your long weekend menu. Korean-born Chef, Eunsun Jung, is who we have to thank for Small Mercies’ delectable offering, which heroes Kkwabaegi (a traditional twisted Korean doughnut) and features experimental takes on local Korean delicacies such as Chapssal (glutinous rice doughnut balls) and Yakgwa (deliciously sweet, syrup-soaked biscuits) – all equally delicious. Small Mercies has all the makings of the perfect spot to come together with friends and indulge this weekend and beyond.
The newest bar and eatery from the maestros behind Ponsonby’s ever-popular Lucky 8 and Mount Eden’s Mr Hao is Jungle 8, and as the name may suggest, it’s a sight to behold. Taking inspiration from the bustling, fast-paced cities and countries of Southeast Asia, Jungle 8 offers not only a modern take on authentic Vietnamese street food, but also a space that brings the ‘organised madness and explosive energy’ of Southeast Asia to life. Set to be firmly on the radar of anyone looking to enjoy an evening of cheap and cheerful eats in an entirely immersive setting, Elliot Stables’ newest resident is sure to draw a crowd this summer season. Secure your spot for the long weekend ahead (while the masses are out of town) and experience the very best sights, sounds and flavours of Southeast Asia.
In the second instalment of its pop-up series in collaboration with Crayon, this long weekend Annabel’s is once again serving up an evening of jazz, great wine and delectable fare. Returning from a two-year hiatus, the Turtlenecks trio will be jamming out front of the neighbourhood wine bar from 8-9.30pm, so head there early to secure your spot at one of the outside tables, grab a glass from the carefully curated wine list, and ease into the long weekend in style.
Jervois Steakhouse’s hotly anticipated new seasonal menu has landed just in time for leisurely long weekend dining; the host of new dishes a delicious representation of the vibrancy of spring. A sharing cut of savannah rib eye served on the bone has been added, much to the delight of frequent diners, while zesty, Asian flavours sing in the gochujang glazed calamari. The Ponsonby institution’s much-loved West Coast whitebait fritters are back, the lemon butter sauce drizzled over top so irresistible that we considered taking a sip, and the French-inspired market fish du jour with petits pois and pancetta is the embodiment of spring fare. Secure your table for the weekend here, and enjoy the very best of the current season.
Otto hour has landed at Andiamo this week, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a better way to spend a languorous long weekend afternoon. Otto translates to lucky number 8 in Italian, and lucky it is indeed, with an elevated selection of drinks during Otto hour priced at a modest $8. Running the happy hour from 4-5pm daily was a considered choice, timed to inspire locals to make like the Italians and take a moment of repose to enjoy the warmth of the late afternoon sun. Open throughout the long weekend, we encourage you to perch at one of Andiamo’s highly sought-after outdoor tables surrounding their Jervois Road post and live la dolce vita. Book here.
Giving us yet another reason to park up at one of Depot’s tall tables, Al Brown and his team have introduced a small selection of new dishes to the menu just in time for the weekend ahead. Capitalising on the height of asparagus season, Depot has added a ‘nduja and ricotta iteration that sees the hallmark of spring produce grilled to perfection. Elsewhere on the menu, wood-fired Cloudy Bay tua tua are paired with chorizo butter; melt-in-the-mouth kahawai is served spiced alongside smoky baba ganoush and tart pickled capsicums; and a braised leek flatbread with pickled fennel and beurre hblanc is a must-try. And as is the case with all of Depot’s offering, each of the new dishes are best when shared, so round up your friends and venture into the city this long weekend. There’s free parking for SkyCity patrons for the month of October, too.