From left: Sem at Bar Magda, Hotel Ponsonby Burger Nights, Paris Butter Cyclone Gabrielle Relief Dinner

Savour the season with our definitive guide to the best dining in March

It might be the first day of Autumn, but there is plenty to get excited about when we consider everything happening on Auckland’s dining scene over the next few weeks. March is serving up a range of one-off lunches and dinners (some raising money for important causes), delicious pop-ups, burger nights, fresh menus and more. So whether you’re an avid foodie, or are simply wanting to switch up your regular, look no further than our comprehensive March dining guide below.

Roku Gin Autumn Seasonal Supper

Later this month, the beloved Japanese gin maker will host Roku Gin Autumn Seasonal Supper this coming March 30th, featuring a six-course omakase menu made from locally sourced, seasonal autumn ingredients. Each dish, including gyokuro and sansho pepper marinated pork gyoza and NZ wagyu beef, is paired with one of six signature Roku gin cocktails. Held at the Glasshouse in Morningside, the event includes Japanese taiko music and light displays, and celebrates the concept of “shun” — harvesting ingredients at their peak of flavour and perfection, which is at the heart of Roku Gin’s meticulously crafted artisanal gin. As a delicious added touch, guests will take a bottle of Roku Gin home as a memento. More information and tickets are available here.

Esther Bluff oyster long lunch

Indulge in the ultimate Friday long lunch at QT Auckland’s lauded restaurant, Esther, as it plays host to a multi-course affair inspired by the Bluff oyster. The lunch will be held on Friday the 17th of March from 12pm until 4pm, and will comprise a four-course set menu that showcases the beloved ‘Bluffie’ in all its glory. Diners will start with Bluff oysters three ways, before moving on to dishes like chargrilled Mangonui snapper with Bluff oyster veloute and Cloudy Bay clams, and carpetbag steak with red wine jus, Bluff oysters and prosciutto. To finish, there will even be an orange-blossom mille-feuille with raspberry and a chocolate Bluff oyster. All of this is made better by the generous addition of Perrier-Jouët Champagne drinks to match each course perfectly, as well as a beautiful view over Viaduct Harbour’s sparkling waters. Tickets are $199 per person and are essential considering that the lunch will be on for one day only. Book your spot here.

XO Mangal pop-up at Satya, Burger nights are back at Hotel Ponsonby.

XO Mangal pop-up at Satya

Taking over Satya K Road on Thursdays to Mondays from 5:30pm, this delicious, collaborative pop-up by chefs Alfie Ingham and Samrudh Akuthota is promising a flavour sensation. With a menu prefaced only by the subheading ‘Yum things we like to eat,’ XO Mangal offers an ever-changing menu that will be unveiled at the start of each week, and based on the duo’s favourite dishes. Think along the lines of lamb kofta with harissa, garlic yoghurt and pickled cabbaged, or perfectly spicy paneer Tikka Masala. See here for more details and for the weekly menu.

Burger nights are back at Hotel Ponsonby

There’s nothing like a good old-fashioned burger to put our week on the right path, and nothing hits the spot quite like Hotel Ponsonby’s perpetually popular Burger Night. Taking place from 4pm every Tuesday, this recurring event gives hungry punters the chance to order an utterly delicious burger and fries, made without any fancy frills or gimmicks, just good flavours and perfectly-assembled fillings. Our advice? Get your spot at Hotel Ponsonby early, lest the burgers sell out before you have a chance to order.

Late-night snacks at Céleste.

Late-night snacks return to Céleste

Offering a delectable (and rare) option for after-hours bites, Bar Céleste is reinstating its popular late-night menu — and we couldn’t be more excited. Every Friday from this week on, find food, drinks and beats at this K’Road favourite, where the famous Cantine smashed burgers will be on the grill again and served alongside garlic frites, oysters and a number of after-hours drink specials. The ultimate nightcap.

Sidart’s new ‘Series’ menu

Lauded dining destination, Sidart, has introduced a new ‘Series’ menu which will see an increase in the number of dishes served in a bid to showcase the best seasonal, local produce. Owned and operated by Chef Lesley Chandra, the Ponsonby institution is offering three new ‘Series’ menu options, all of which use contemporary cooking techniques to create small, artfully formed morsels for an elevated dining experience. The Mini Series (9 Parts), Extended Series (12 Parts), and Complete Series (16 Parts) range in price from $160 to $210 per person and can be enjoyed over 90 minutes to three hours of exceptional dining.

Beyond the tasting menus, Sidart is also offering options for those who don’t have time for a full tasting experience or simply want to enjoy a pre-dinner aperitif or after-dinner digestif. Guests can sit at the bar, enjoy the view of the Auckland city skyline, and sip on expertly-crafted cocktails featuring ingredients used throughout the new menus, paired with delicious canapés for $75 (for two).

Sem at Bar Magda.

Sem at Bar Magda

Acclaimed Lisbon restaurant Sem, co-run by Kiwi Chef George McLeod (formerly of London’s Silo) and his Brazilian-Portuguese partner Lara Espírito Santo, is set to bring a piece of Portugal to Auckland. On Saturday the 11th and Sunday the 12th of March, McLeod and Espírito Santo will be teaming up with their old friend and local hospitality personality Carlo Buenaventura of Bar Magda for a pop-up you don’t want to miss. See here for more details and to secure your spot.

Tokki New Menu

Since opening last August, Tokki’s pared-back Korean menu has held us captive, where authentic bites are delivered in a contemporary way, and fresh New Zealand produce is harnessed to create truly unique dishes. This month sees the introduction of a series of new dishes to the house menu, intended to sit alongside crowd favourites. Cloudy Bay Clams, for instance, are adorned with chilli and gim, and the Courgettes Jijimi (a moreish Korean pancake) comes with a healthy helping of pickled onions. For a little more sustenance, the Grilled Lamb Doenjang and Wagyu Rump Bulgogi follow — a masterclass in protein cooked to perfection. To sample this sumptuous menu, book your table here without delay.

Cyclone Gabrielle Relief Dinner at Paris Butter.

Cyclone Gabrielle Relief Dinner

In a bid to raise some much-needed funds for those suffering the effects of Cyclone Gabrielle in Hawke’s Bay, Paris Butter has organised a charity event on the 27th of March. Chef Zennon Wiljens of Paris Butter will team up with Lesley Chandra of Sidart, Tommy Hope of Sid at The French Cafe and Fraser McCarthy of Lillius to create a four-course menu which will be served alongside a range of Hawke’s Bay wine pairings chosen by Sidart’s Joe Costello and Paris Butter’s Ben Carmine. The dinner will be held at Peter Gordon’s Viaduct Harbour venue, Homeland and will be MC’d by Dave Nash (of Atelier Nash and Hello Wine). Shaping up to be a seriously impressive culinary affair, tickets are $250 per person and all proceeds will go to flood relief in Hawke’s Bay. Book here.

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