Address: 259 Parnell Road, Parnell (Non Solo Pizza)
On arrival, Osteria looks like a small bar on Parnell Road… that is until you enter the premises, which is not small! Upon entry, we were greeted with a well-stocked bar, open kitchen, high tables with bar stools, and a great atmosphere. As we made our way down the walkway which was lined with bar tables, we found ourselves in a large indoor/ outdoor area which was the a la carte restaurant, Non Solo Pizza (NSP). NSP serves Italian dishes in a more formal environment and given we were after a quick meal (and the fact that NSP had a long waiting list!), we decided to sample dishes on offer at Osteria. The ambience was trendy, heaters were on and we were very impressed with our table which looked directly out onto Parnell Road.
The menu wasn’t extensive however definitely delivers if you’re after a casual and quick meal. The large selection of cheeses enables you to make your own cheese boards, and you can also make your own pizza. Within the menu there is a small plates section showcasing imported cold cuts, as well as a “crudo bar” section which lists seafood dishes (oysters, fish carpaccio and mussels to name a few). A number of panini selections were on offer as well as daily specials (risotto was available on the day we visited). In our opinion, we would be surprised if there wasn’t something on the menu that didn’t appeal (including to those with dietary requirements), and we were highly impressed with the offering considering we were in a bar setting.
We “built” a pizza and sampled the green lipped mussels. Our pizza was generous in size (probably 8 squares) and was served on a tomato and basil base. We added prosciutto, mushrooms, rocket and bocconcini however on reflection, we should have added a more flavoursome cheese. The ingredients were very fresh and we definitely got our flavour hit from the green lipped mussels. For $18, we felt that the mussel serving was very generous and they were accompanied with garlic croutons and a hot towel. The mussels had been steamed in garlic, chilli and white wine and the croutons were excellent for savouring the juices. We didn’t quite taste the garlic on the croutons however once they were dipped in the sauce; we definitely got our hit! We accompanied our meals with a glass of the Craggy Range “Gimblett Gravels” Syrah. We found the wine very peppery however thought it went well with the pizza.
We will be back. The service was very friendly and we appreciated the effort our waitress went to when explaining the menu. The only negative was that our water glasses weren’t topped up once. The food was fresh and really satisfied our requirements – a quick and easy meal in an environment which had a great ambience. We were impressed to see that pizzas were available to take-away, however we would highly recommend you dine in and enjoy the whole experience. Great for a date!
Yours in adventure,
Address: 100 Parnell Road, Parnell
We arrived to what almost seemed like a busy marketplace. We were impressed with the number of staff provided to cater for the masses – we counted at least 14 – and were especially impressed with their attire (striped shirts) which made them stand out. Despite the crowd, the waitress looking after seating guests was very much on the ball and quickly escorted us to our table. The interiors were fantastic and freshly baked delicacies were on show for all to see, and they seriously flirt with your taste buds! We really felt as though we were in a gourmet food market… the room was noisy and it is very hard to hear, but this all added to the ambience which we think the café is trying to achieve.
From porridge to french toast to smashed avocado’s on toast, the menu consists of well-known favourites which are made up of fresh produce and presented magnificently. The drinks menu is somewhat standard, however the food menu really does read well. Gluten free, vegan and vegetarian dishes are all clearly marked. The cabinet where you pay for your meals housed freshly baked pastries and sweets and these included chocolate paleo tart, white chocolate rocky road and melting moments.
We couldn’t go past the “Big Breakfast” which consisted of free range pork sausages, free range bacon, poached eggs, thyme mushrooms, artisan ciabatta bread, vine tomato’s pesto, and a light tomato based sauce (we couldn’t quite put our finger on it). We complimented our meal with an orange juice which was served with a purple flower on top – presentation was really impressive.
The size of our meal was substantial and the ingredients were superbly fresh. We felt that the sauce provided with the dish didn’t provide enough flavour – tomato chutney would have been a better option in our opinion. The dish was definitely a healthier take on a “big breakfast” and this was refreshing… hash browns were nowhere to be seen, the bacon wasn’t crispy and sausages weren’t fatty! We did think that a pinch of salt would have added to the dish and we’d highly recommend you add it prior starting your meal.
Another great brunch spot to add to Parnell’s growing offering. The presentation of the dishes really impressed us and the service was excellent – fast, friendly and helpful. The café is open for breakfast and lunch and if you’re meeting friends to catch-up, the acoustics aren’t very friendly during busy periods so do keep this in mind. We’re sure it would be a different experience visiting during off-peak times, or on weekdays, and we would recommend you do this… it may save your voice!
Address: 160 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby
Sunflowers adorned the tables outside and as we walked through the doors, the presence of Thai aroma’s made our stomach’s do cartwheels. As we were led to our table, we passed by an open grill where the chef looked to be cooking satay skewers. Fresh fruit adorned the bar ready for the evening’s cocktail orders and we thought the restaurant was designed cleverly – there were separate areas which made us feel we weren’t sitting in one long room. Being the sister restaurant to Café Hanoi, we had high expectations and so far we were not disappointed.
The great thing about the menu was that it was short, easy to read and didn’t overwhelm us. It was presented simply on one page and consisted of grilled, smaller and larger dishes as well as side options. On one side of the menu there is picture with a caption explaining the background behind the menu (relating to the Head Chef and his personal life experiences), and the other listed the dishes on offer. There was also a separate “platter” option for $30 and this contained 5-6 dishes from the main menu. This seemed exceptionally good value except for the fact that it didn’t consist of the dishes that caught our eye on the main menu. Dishes were named as per their traditional Thai name however English explanations were provided underneath (luckily!).
From homemade pork crackling to wok seared pork spare ribs and tiger prawn cutlets with Thai glass noodles, the menu didn’t really feature traditional Thai dishes (as we know them) and this made for a unique culinary experience. It is worth noting that larger dishes are listed in order of spiciness – keep this in mind! Vegetarians are well catered for and tofu seemed to feature heavily. A dessert menu was presented following our entrée and main and this featured dishes including smoked Thai shortbread, sticky rice and an extensive list of dessert wines.
To start, we opted for the “kab moo” which was the homemade pork crackling followed by “miang pla” (grilled market fish on perilla leaves with vermicelli, peanuts, crispy shallots and nahm jim seafood sauce), and “lon phu nim” (fried soft shell crab with pickled crab and coconut sauce, dill and coriander). We followed our starters with “gaem wua sarm ros” which consisted of twice cooked beef cheeks with spicy pickle and tamarind sauce, and “mussaman gae” which was the classic Thai mussaman curry with lamb shoulder, kumara, pickled baby onions, peanuts and curry leaf. We complimented our dishes with sticky rice and a glass of the 2015 “Gotas de Mar” alberino.
Portion sizes were adequate and we could not fault the smaller and larger dishes we ordered. The homemade pork crackling was moreish however could have done with some added salt or flavouring. In our opinion though, the dishes we would recommend you try would be the market fish on perilla leaves, and the mussaman curry.
We were warned the mussaman curry would be spicy given it was listed towards the end of the larger meal section, however we were well able to cope with the heat and it was definitely bearable (coming from two people who aren’t fantastic with spice).
We couldn’t fault the service and the flavours really impressed us. Dishes were served quickly so if you’re in a rush or have somewhere to get to after your meal, Saan is a good option for you. The restaurant had a private dining room which would be good for corporate groups. The pricing is not what you’d pay at your local Thai takeaway – smaller dishes averaged $16 dollars and larger about $26, however as we mentioned above, Saan provided the best overall dining experience we’ve had this year. The flavours really wowed us!
Address: 226 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby, Auckland
The fire was burning and upon entering the restaurant, we were asked to see the Maître d who directed us to our seats. Service was fast and friendly and water options were presented to us almost immediately. The restaurant felt casual yet classy and there was great ambience. It’s rare to visit restaurants these days where the room feels spacious however we felt Prego’s tables were nicely spread, allowing for privacy and an enjoyable dining experience. An added bonus was that the acoustics were also impressive, making it easy for us to hear each other.
Reading the menu, which featured dish names written in Italian and an English explanation below, we were impressed with the large and varied selection of dishes on offer. Most dishes had a unique twist to them and from classic Italian favourites such as pasta, pizza and bruschetta, to a large selection of meat dishes which included whole snapper, veal shanks and crispy duck breast. We felt as though there would be something on the menu to appeal to even the fussiest of eaters. The pizza menu features all the favourites including margherita, capricciosa and marinara, and gluten free bases are available on request. On that note, the menu is very gluten free friendly, however probably not as friendly to vegetarians.
The beverage list is substantial and wines featured were mostly from New Zealand and Italy. They also had a cocktail list that read well – it took all our strength not to give in to temptation and start the evening with a Bellini cocktail (peach schnapps, white peach puree and prosecco)!
Short answer, we were blown away with the flavours. The bruschetta that some members of our group ordered to start consisted of a toasted baguette slice topped with wild rocket, truffle mascarpone and prosciutto. The truffle mascarpone was to die for and we only wish the dish was bigger. For mains we sampled the “Risotto All’anatra” which consisted of roast duck, mixed mushrooms, aged balsamic and grana padano. We also ordered the “Petto D’Anatra” which included crispy skin duck breast, puy lentil ragu, mushrooms, wilted spinach and a candied orange. Whilst the flavours in both dishes were fantastic, the risotto was the table favourite and had almost a smoky flavour – a must try if you enjoy duck and risotto. We would however recommend you get a side to accompany this dish as the portion size is quite significant and really consists of the one flavour. The candied oranges on the crispy skin duck were a nice touch and we were so impressed we are going to try and replicate them at home!
To complement our meals we had a bottle of the “Bannockburn” pinot noir, a wine which we believe never disappoints.
If you want to spoil yourself and sample some fantastic Italian flavours in a laid back setting, we highly recommend a visit to Prego. We couldn’t fault the service and we felt as though the dishes were creative and consisted of unique flavour combinations – all which worked exceptionally well together. It is worth noting that the restaurant dishes are not the price of your pizza take-away store on the corner – entrees averaged around $16, mains $30 and pizza’s $26, however we were very impressed with the whole experience and would highly recommend that you experience it for yourselves.
Also, take-out is available and they do not take bookings.