Tried and truly good

Denise Irvine dishes up rec­om­men­da­tions for meals and treats from Hamil­ton and Mt Maun­ganui eater­ies.

Waikato Times - Your Weekend (Waikato Times) - - Dine -

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.

The superfood break­fast bowl at Hayes Com­mon is a pretty pic­ture – al­most too good to eat.

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