Fresh on the scene: Pollen
A boutique coffee roaster continues to pollinate the city
The duo behind Scratch Bakers and Three Beans Coffee has opened their seventh cafe, decked out in glossy black stone and copper and located on the ground floor of a Shortland Street office tower. Signature Scratch pastries and brioches fill the cabinet and are complemented by a succinct kitchen menu, with highlights such as wagyu mince on toast and – just in time for autumn – hot chicken pies. Coffee is, of course, Three Beans, roasted at nearby City Works Depot.
Streetside Korean pancakes
A tiny takeaway serves filling treats
Tiny hole-in-the-wall No.1 Pancake serves hot, slightly oily Korean pancakes, and it’s so popular the council is now allowing them to occupy the footpath outside to accommodate all the customers. About time, too. The pancakes are round, doughy and delish, especially the classic bulgogi, featuring beef and cheese with cabbage – the perfect downtown warmer on a cold, blustery day. Cnr Wellesley and Lorne St, central city
Date-dining at Daikoku
Intrepid singleton Anny Ma test-drives bars and eateries for their first-date suitability. Things don’t always go well.
I’ve never been on a date where I’ve been more interested in the company than the food, and I’m pleased to say my date at Daikoku Quay Street maintained that life rule for me. Daikoku is a spacious Japanese teppanyaki restaurant – the chef cooks on a hot iron grill that the diners sit around, and throws down some seriously tricky cooking skills for your entertainment.
Quite the show
Teppanyaki is quite a practical and time-efficient date option, as you can consolidate both the food and entertainment parts of the date into one simple activity, thus saving you from having to endure more fake smiling, small talk, and feigning interest in your date’s ‘glory days’ of being a commerce student while flatting in one of their friend’s dad’s Ponsonby rental properties. But I digress. On the subject of small talk though, when you’re sharing a table with total strangers, small talk and forced socialisation is as integral to the menu as saké – of which they also have a wide selection. If you get bored of your date, you simply turn to the person next to you and ask: “Have you ever been here before? It’s so cool right!” Or just make the appropriate “Ooh-ahh” noises and clap as the chef launches fried egg into the mouths of everybody at the table. Unfortunately, I ended up with literal egg on my face, but isn’t that how most dates end once you’ve Facebook stalked them and realised who they are? I should’ve left when
Nice vibes, good food
The vibe here is relaxed but you could still whip out your Miss Crabb dress to go there, and the staff are all so friendly that you can’t help but feel at ease – even when there’s food on fire less than one metre away from your perfect brows. Most importantly, once the show is over, the food is great. You get pretty hungry after watching it cook right in front of you, and while that may factor into why I thought it was so good, everybody at the table was in agreement that the level of deliciousness matched the entertainment value. The only downside was that after eating dinner, I couldn’t convince my stomach to let me try the deepfried ice cream.
I’d recommend Daikoku for a date, as long as your dining companion is somebody open to trying out new experiences, culture, and good food. Don’t go there with white bread personified – if they’re not comfortable with the theatrics, the seating style, and proximity to fire, you’re going to be stuck with a pretty awkward date for at least 1.5 hours. Daikoku gets four stars from me, but my date only got well wishes for his future and no follow-up call. 148 Quay St