All posts filed under: wine

American Express Restaurant Month: SOUL goes NOLA

Food lovers rejoice because American Express Restaurant Month is here! From 1-31 August, American Express Restaurant Month celebrates Auckland CBD’s diverse dining scene, offering 25 unique dining events and the chance to experience over 100 special menus, priced at $25, $40 and $55+. It is also a great opportunity to step outside the box and eat odd – try a food you wouldn’t normally eat and have a whole lot of fun doing it! Last Sunday, a friend and I were invited to dine at SOUL. In honor of Restaurant Month this year, SOUL goes NOLA! They have a limited edition menu which is inspired by the colours, textures, flavours and food trends of New Orleans! The SOUL goes NOLA menu will be available until 26 August for both lunch and dinner, for just $40 per person for a two-course meal or $50 including dessert. It’s bold, it’s funky, it’s pure southern deliciousness! We indulged in their $50 three course lunch, matched with their Restaurant Month special cocktail featuring house-made limoncello, fig and thyme cocktail and two Church Road wines – McDonald …

Poderi Crisci – Waiheke

I love love love Poderi Crisci. Situated on Waiheke Island, about a 25 minute drive from Kennedy Point Wharf, you will find Poderi Crisci, a vineyard and Italian restaurant owned and run by Antonio Crisci and his family. Surrounded by rolling hills and immaculate gardens, together with a stunning setting including an Italian style kitchen, displays of Italian cheeses and cured meats, and copper pots and utensils, you will feel like you are in Tuscany.  I dined here for my birthday with my family and it was a very memorable meal… and day overall. Everything was exquisite – from the surrounds and views, to the alfresco dining and beautiful food and wine. The service is also very welcoming, professional and friendly. For starters, we enjoyed a glass of prosecco, accompanied by three platters, all of which were beautifully presented and each dish was savoured: Pane & Olio A selection of homemade grissini, Italian inspired bread and olives with Poderi Crisci olive oil Contorni A selection of Antipasti style side dishes, including free range egg frittata, …

Hawke’s Bay Travel Diary

Over the summer holidays, I spent a week in Hawke’s Bay, a region in the North Island of New Zealand, which is home to fresh, delicious produce and beautiful wines. In fact, Hawke’s Bay is the oldest wine region in New Zealand and the second largest (after Marlborough). There is lots to do in Hawke’s Bay, from dining at the many restaurants and cafes, sampling local wines, climbing mountains, exploring beaches, or picking up your produce for the week at the amazing farmer’s market. Check out my highlights for my favourite things to see, eat and do in Hawke’s Bay… #1  Hawke’s Bay Farmers Market Hawke’s Bay Farmers Market is one of my favourite markets to date for its abundant range of produce, and the fact that everyone is catered for. Highlights included: FIGS from Te Mata Figs, plus fresh locally grown fruits and vegetables, nutty and wholesome gluten free breads, organic blueberries and ice cream from Bay Blueberries, gluten and dairy free treats and products from HAPI, mouthwatering macarons from Monsieur Macaron, hot chilies like jalapeños and Padron …

Hunger Monger, Napier

If you love seafood, then you will love Hunger Monger. We found this restaurant by chance, while walking along Marine Parade in Napier. The restaurant was full and the ambience alive, so the next day we went in to book a table for our final night in Hawke’s Bay. Run by Polish couple, Fraser Slack and Agnieszka Wills, the menu is predominantly seafood, where diners can enjoy oysters, Aussie prawns, grilled fish, Cook Strait octopus, squid, sashimi and salmon to name a few. Also, 98% of their wines and beers are local to the area – many I had never heard of before. We had a glass of the Beatrix Rose by Alpha Domus (Bridge Pa) and Brookfields Pinot Gris 2016 (Ohiti Estate). The Pinot Gris was a stand out, so much so, we went to New World afterwards to purchase a few bottles of it!  For starters, we enjoyed their Tempura Prawns with dipping sauces – big, fat, juicy prawns, which were gone in a flash. For mains, we ordered the Grilled Fish with Salads, …

Inti, Auckland

A few weeks’ ago, I was invited to dine at Inti, a newly opened restaurant delivering freshly styled Hispanic cuisine to Auckland City. Named after the Incan sun god, Inti has replaced Meat Fish Wine, an eatery at which I enjoyed the food and wine, however, dining at Inti is nothing like I have experienced before. At Inti, you can do two things: Explore delicious modern interpretations of South American ingredients, flavours and techniques; and Enjoy art by aerosol artist, Flox, bringing the space to life with Hispanic-inspired wall work. Heading up the Inti kitchen is Spanish born Javier Carmona, who brings 27 years of experience and a passion for Hispanic flavours to Inti, creating a unique culinary journey for Auckland locals to experience. On the night we arrived, Inti were hosting a special Argentinian wine tasting and we were able to join in! We tried four different organic Argentinian red wines, my favourite being the Septima Malbec 2016, an intense red with aromas of fresh cherries, balanced with toast and vanilla. We also sampled various …

Allan Scott Generations Gewurztraminer matched with Kimchi & Tofu Dumplings

Two of my favourite winter foods are Kimchi and Dumplings. A staple in Korean cuisine, Kimchi is made from salted and fermented vegetables, in particular napa cabbages and Korean radishes, with added seasonings and chilli. Different variations of dumplings are eaten worldwide. In Auckland, it is easy to find a good dumpling, either in a restaurant, at a cheap eatery, and even in the supermarket. I have eaten plenty, believe you me, but have never actually made my own. Fast forward to last week, I received a bottle of the brand-new Allan Scott Generations Gewürztraminer 2016 from Allan Scott Family Winemakers, which was one of the first independent wineries to establish in Marlborough, New Zealand in 1990. The Allan Scott Generations Gewürztraminer (dubbed ‘G’whizz’ by the Allan Scott team) is the newest addition to their exclusive Generations range, with delicate and floral flavours and aromas – think exotic spices, candied figs, turkish delight and lychees. The G’whizz is divine on its own yet truly brought to life when paired with exotic foods, such as sweet Middle Eastern dishes, …

Meat Fish Wine

Last week, I was invited to dine at Meat Fish Wine to try their five course degustation menu, matched with local and international wines. We had a fantastic night, thanks to the beautiful food, wine, ambience and service. Meat Fish Wine is located on the corner of O’Connell and Chancery Streets, making it a great central spot for dining. The menu changes seasonally, focusing on fresh New Zealand produce, in particular meat and fish, and it has one of the largest wine lists in New Zealand. With over 500 wines to choose from, hand-picked by a Sommelier, you are truly spoilt for choice. Walking in, the interior is stunning. We loved the inviting bar area with plush seating, the large heritage windows overlooking O’Connell Street, the open plan kitchen (with adjoining chef’s table), the unique bathroom (don’t leave without taking a peak!), the luxurious private dining rooms (named Waiheke, Rangitoto and Kawau) and most impressive of all, the chandelier display of over 2,000 Riedel wine glasses shaped to reflect a Hei Matau or traditional fish hook. Chandelier …