Fresh on the scene: Pollen

A bou­tique cof­fee roaster con­tin­ues to pol­li­nate the city

Paper Boy - - Front Page -

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.

Ver­dict

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

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