Tried and truly good
Denise Irvine dishes up recommendations for meals and treats from Hamilton and Mt Maunganui eateries.
It’s always good to get a recommendation when you’re eating out. Like the other day, when a friend said she’d really enjoyed the soba noodle salad at The Kirk Cafe in Claudelands, Hamilton. She said it was one of the nicest things she’d had for ages.
When I had lunch there a little while later, I went straight for her suggestion. And enjoyed every mouthful. So I’m passing this recommendation on, and a handful of others from the recent rounds of local eateries. Plus one homemade entry!
Soba noodle vegan salad ($12 large, $8.50 small) from The Kirk Cafe, 6 Te Aroha St, Hamilton, phone 021 910978
This cafe is a newcomer, and operates in The Link complex at St Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, Claudelands. It’s smartly fitted out and has a fresh, contemporary menu.
The soba noodle salad is lovely to look at, has neatly balanced flavours and textures and is good value for money. The version I had was a delicious and colourful assemblage of peanuts, tofu, edamame beans, crispy shallots, edible flowers, fresh mint and coriander, and finely cut cauliflower, broccoli, radish and red capsicum. All tossed through the soba noodles with an Asian-inspired dressing of sesame, pomegranate and lime.
Superfood bowl ($15) at Hayes Common, corner Plunket Tce and Jellicoe Dr, Hamilton East, phone 027 5371853
A perfect power-packed summery breakfast. And so prettily presented that it almost seems a shame to eat it and disturb the artwork. The bowl’s a nicely judged mix of acai, banana, blueberries, plums, coconut yoghurt, edible flowers, activated seeds and cacao nibs. It’s served icy cold and there’s a satisfying contrast of crunch and creamy-smooth going on. I’m a fairly traditional breakfast eater but it’s won me over. And it’s gotta be good for you.
Fish teriyaki set ($24) from Shinjuku, 7 Alexandra St, Hamilton, phone 07 838 0064
Shinjuku’s been serving Japanese food in the city for more than 10 years. It’s an unpretentious eatery where you’re assured of a friendly welcome and enjoyable food. My fish teriyaki set was meticulously plated with a fresh pan-fried fish fillet in a flavourfilled teriyaki sauce, plus miso, salad, rice and other accompaniments. It was light, tasty, each component was prepared and served with care. Shinjuku is licensed but you can do BYO wine, which is rare nowadays. I’ve also enjoyed their made-to-order sushi for lunch.
Dining in PHOTO: DENISE IRVINE
These are a real treat – they’re satisfyingly crusty on the outside and tender in the middle with generous dates and orange zest. They’re dusted with icing sugar, adding a little extra sweetness; I like them with a smidgen of butter. They’re freshly made each day and sell out pretty quickly. I’m told you can phone and reserve them.
Frangipane tarts (small, $3, large $5), from Flaveur Breads, 31 Totara St, Mt Maunganui, phone 07 575 7161
If you’re over at the Mount, call into Flaveur’s shop for their frangipane tarts. They’re a gorgeous sweet confection of almond filling in pastry, cut by a topping of fresh berries. Flaveur’s lemon curd tarts are also splendid, as are their rustic sourdough breads and fruit loaves. Sometimes the simplest things – enjoyed in the comfort of your own home – are the best. I was given some freshly caught tarakihi the other night and made fish burgers with it – fried fillets on grilled ciabatta buns with a laden DIY sharing platter of crispy iceberg lettuce, cucumber, tomatoes, basil leaves and lemon wedges. I added a pottle of mayo zhuzhed up with capers, lemon juice and grainy mustard, and we were happy eaters.