Killer ramen noodles, a Mai Tai worth sinning for and a little Kung Fu Hustle will make this eatery your new favourite place.
The newest instalment in Ponsonby Central reaffirms that magic really can happen when east meets west.
It’s name is Chop Chop; a hole-in-the-wall noodle bar in Auckland’s Ponsonby Central, created as an extension of popular street front restaurant, The Blue Breeze Inn. Renowned restaurateur Mark Wallbank and Head Chef Che Barrington have hit the nail on the head with this one, once again mastering the art of fun urban dining.
At first glance, Chop Chop looks a bit like a Tiki hut made from cut branches (which we’re told are Manuka), channelling the look and feel of an urban food shack crossed with an island beach bar, with kitchen and bar combined into one. The influence of karate pop culture reigns supreme here, with everything from Super Cobra Kai Karate Kid references to a menu that reads like a martial arts movie list; quirky menu titles luring diners in to find out more. Sturdy wooden bar stools are positioned left, right and center and come nighttime, the space is soaked in a subtle neon glow from the playful Chop Chop sign and hanging basket lights that flicker overhead.
Designed to cater to patrons who crave a quick and tasty meal, the menu reads fuss free, with a focus on a variety of steaming bowls of soup noodles, some of the more popular Blue Breeze Inn classics such as the steamed pork buns and more. We were coaxed into trying the fish of the day; which features thick fish fillets artfully entombed in a crunchy hut of udon noodles, served with an infused ginger and soy kimchi and prepared to perfection. If you’re feeling ravenous, the Cobra Kai Super Mega Ramen noodle bowl is the dish to order – jam packed with all sorts of Asian delights including pork belly, bacon and crispy fried chicken.
On the drinks front, the team here has navigated away from the conventional cocktail playbook. Wherever possible, ingredients are made in house, such as the homemade white coca-cola, freeze dried mandarins, and coconut cream dust. The bourbon based cocktails are set to be a staple, with the sort of pulling power usually reserved for less polarising liquors. But let it be known, the old classics are ever present, albeit in a more juiced up format, and the star renegade amongst them is the Mai Tai. Made with Mount Gay black barrel rum, cointreau, a fantail slice of fresh pineapple and lime, house-made orgeat and grenadine, these beauties would give any respectable Hawaiian original a run for its money.
Think of it as Blue Breeze’s savvy little brother, and get in quick – this hideaway looks set to be the casual crowd’s favourite new haunt. Bottoms up, boys.
Chop Chop is open from 12pm until late.
140 Ponsonby Rd
(09) 360 0708