On Tuesday night, I was invited to the opening of a new restaurant in Mt Eden Village, namely Wu & You. It was a fantastic night, thanks to the mouthwatering food, cocktails, ambience and service.
Walking in, I loved the vibrant decor. Bright neon pink lights had me oohing and aahing, and the colourful flowers and murals (by local artist, Emily Gardner) featured throughout the space brighten up the industrial walls.
Plus, everything is PINK! From the menus, to the beautiful ceramic plates, and the ladies bathroom. There is also plenty of seating to choose from, as well as a lovely courtyard out the back (complete with a striking mural of Wu) – an area which would be perfect for your next celebration.
Heading up the kitchen is Cairan Flaherty, who has experience working in restaurants all over Ireland, and more recently at TriBeCa in Parnell. Working alongside Cairan is Yeong Seon Choi (Sunny) who has worked in some of Auckland’s most popular modern Asian eateries including Cafe Hanoi, Saan and White & Wongs. Owner, Jonathan Rickard, also has over 20 years’ hospitality experience and owns and operates the popular Circus Circus and The Garden Shed, both of which are also located in Mt Eden Village.
We first enjoyed a selection of cocktails – there are nine in total, and all were refreshing and delicious (bar the Espresso Martini and Bloody Mary as these were not available). My top picks are the Jackie Chan with gin, fresh grapefruit juice, honey, lemon and topped with matcha and apple foam; the Mei Mei with gin, yellow chartreuse, fresh watermelon juice (bonus right there), fresh lemon juice and ginger; and the Oh Bali! with Stolen white rum, lemongrass and kaffir lime syrup, lime juice and sparkling water.
And now for the most important part, the food. Wu and You’s menu is East meets West, with Japanese, Malaysian, Korean, Thai and Chinese influences. The menu is split into five sections – ‘Little Guys’, ‘Bigger Guys’, ‘Loners’, ‘Sides’ and ‘Happy Endings’.
Dishes are designed to be shared, and from perusing the menu, this is road you will want to take as there are many delicious dishes you will want to try… some of which I have not seen on an Auckland menu yet! We enjoyed the following:
Freshly shucked Bluff Oysters served with nashi pear and black vinegar
Himalayan Salt Slab-Cured Kingfish, with edamame, red chili, quinoa, pear and lemon
DIY Vegetable Rolls – Chinese style pancakes, tofu, raw vegetables, peanut dipping sauce
Bang Bang Chicken Salad with crispy vegetables, chili bean and oyster sauce
Green Papaya Salad with Seared Tuna, red chilli, snake beans, peanuts and chili jam
And, last but not least, Tacos. Wu & You have taken tacos to a whole new level, and they are EPIC. Nori sheets, which are tempura fried to make them crispy, replace your standard tortillas, and there are two options to choose from – Norigami’s Salmon Taco with Atlantic salmon, sushi rice, spicy Napa cabbage, Japanese mayo and chili oil, or my favourite, Mr Krab’s Nori Taco with tempura soft shell crab, sushi rice, guacamole, sliced jalapeno and a drizzle of curried mayo on top. Heaven.
Other dishes I will be coming back to devour are the Wu Fried Chicken, Octopus Doughnuts with Gochujang, Tuna Sashimi Pizza, Pork and Shrimp Dumplings and the Sushi Fries.
Last but not least, we had our Happy Endings. We tried their Berry Fortune Cookies – my message said “#WuSays tomorrow is another day for tacos and cocktails” which seemed fitting, since this is exactly what I will be doing in Mexico in four months’ time!
We also enjoyed their Strawberry Bao-Nut (a bao shaped doughnut filled with strawberry ice cream and freeze dried strawberry) and a new dessert on Auckland’s foodie scene, the Golden Gaytime Paddle Pop. Inspired by Australia’s Golden Gaytime ice cream, but better. Think creamy frozen New York Cheesecake on a stick, dipped in chocolate ganache, drizzled with miso caramel, and finished with a sprinkling of cookie crumbs. Mmmmm.
I am in LOVE with Wu & You. Reminiscing back to the night, with the bright pink neon signs, pink walled bathroom, colourful murals, delicious cocktails and food… this might just be my new favourite restaurant!