Address: 61-73 Davis Crescent, Newmarket
Price guide: $$
Our ghosts visited this modern Japanese gem recently which is hidden behind a small street entrance. The interior is fantastic and it was obvious the owners invested heavily in ensuring diners receive an authentic experience.
Seafood is prominent on the menu and the tender teriyaki chicken with steamed buns was fabulous. We couldn’t go past the tempura prawns (which were excellent in size), and the sashimi. Eating raw prawns was new to us, but texture aside we were quite impressed with the flavour.
Service was friendly and fast, though language was a barrier throughout the evening. Banquet degustation menus were on offer however we felt that the more traditional Japanese dishes were listed on the a la carte menu.
In our opinion, if you’re a Japanese fan and not a vegetarian, Tatsumi is definitely worth a visit.
Address: Sky City Grand Hotel, 90 Federal Street, Auckland
Located on Federal Street and in the heart of Auckland, from the outside Masu is somewhat deceiving. The restaurant looked small however upon entering, we were quite taken with the length of the establishment. We were impressed at the size of the open kitchen, which was a hive of activity. Dishes were prepared in three separate areas – the sushi bar, the kitchen and the robata grill, and amongst the noise of the head chef yelling orders, all chefs and kitchenhands were very clearly aware of their specific role in the kitchen. Service was professional from the start and we were particularly impressed with the round tables which were assigned to larger groups.
The menu was designed for sharing and is broken up into sections – sushi bar, kitchen, and robata grill. This aligns with the separate food preparation areas in the kitchen and from sashimi to gyoza to tempura, all the Japanese favourites were there. There were also two set menu options, Masu Shomi and Masu Tokushen. Masu Tokushen is $120pp and the Masu Shomi option is $88pp. Both set menus require the whole table to order and showcase an excellent selection of dishes listed on the main menu. The menu is friendly to those who are gluten intolerant and a selection of dishes can be altered on request. If you’re not a seafood or meat lover, you may find the menu a little challenging.
Firstly, the presentation of dishes was absolutely first class. Secondly, we were in seafood heaven! Our table ordered the Masu Shomi set menu option. We started our evening with a ceviche spicy miso taco, and this was followed by sashimi including a salmon tartare which went with the homemade rice crackers. Set menu or not, we highly recommend the salmon tartare!! We then had a spicy sashimi tempura maki, followed by prawn and snapper gyoza’s and a spinach and grapefruit salad. The main dishes presented included Mount Cook king salmon with grapefruit miso and pickled cucumber, as well as lamb cutlets and broccoli. After over 1.5 hours eating (allow at least 2 hours for a set menu), we were presented with the most magnificent dessert platter. From chocolate and hazelnut pudding to an assortment of gelato’s and macarons, this dessert went down very well. We did think however that the dessert platter wasn’t as friendly when it came to sharing compared to other dishes. We accompanied our meal with a glass of the 2014 Cros Henri (Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc) and we were all in agreement that the Mount Cook king salmon was the winning dish.
Absolutely fabulous – we couldn’t fault the whole experience. Service was excellent, food was extremely fresh and flavoursome and the atmosphere was spot on. We’d be very surprised if Japanese cuisine fans weren’t impressed with Masu.
Address: 149 Quay Street, Cnr Lower Hobson and Quay Street, Viaduct Harbour
We were very impressed with the décor of this restaurant, which incorporates themes from countries including Vietnam, China, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand. Street food aromas fill the venue upon entry and the décor is chic and modern.
We were greeted by a friendly waiter who showed us promptly to our seats which were inside and next to an extremely noisy table of high pitched “tweens”. Given we could barely hear each other due to the screeches and somewhat challenging acoustics, we asked for another table and were promptly moved to a table in the enclosed area outside, which looks over the water. Heaters were in abundance and we certainly weren’t cold.
Whilst service was very prompt, we seemed to have been forgotten about when we were seated outside. We flagged the waitress multiple times and once we had her attention, we were very well looked after.
The menu lists an assortment of dishes, focusing specifically on Asian street food. From dumplings and buns, to BBQ and roast meals, dishes on offer included prawn and coriander crystal skin dumplings, peking duck, prawn toast and crispy fried sweet and sour pork. Banquet menus were available however it is worth noting that you must have at least four diners to order these.
The menu is broken up into sections – woktails, bits/ bites, raw/ cold cuts, dumplings/ buns, soups, hot starters, BBQ/ roast meals, curries, “a bit more”, rice/ vegetable/ salads, and refreshing/ sweet things. There were a lot of familiar Asian dishes on offer and those with dietary requirements are well looked after. Vegetarian and gluten free dishes are clearly marked within the menu and each section had at least one or two options available. Also, all curries can be provided gluten free and/ or dairy free on request.
After a tough choice, our table sampled the prawn crackers with chilli salt, char siu pork buns, the crispy soft shell crab, Chinese roast duck with plum and mandarin sauce, and the wok fried crispy hapuka dry curry. The pork buns were exceptional however the crispy soft shell crab was the standout. The serving was very generous and the sichuan pepper sauce was delectable! Be sure to coat the crab in the sauce (which is at the bottom of the dish) prior to eating as it can easily be missed. The duck was cooked to perfection however we found the plum sauce slightly bitter- the mandarin sauce was definitely the favourite among the group. We couldn’t fault the crispy hapuka dry curry… it was absolutely delicious! It is definitely a dish though for spice lovers so keep this in mind. The fish was moist and the accompanying ingredients (broccolini, peanut, mint, coriander and kaffir lime) really complimented it. We accompanied our food with a bottle of the 2014 Balancia Pinot Gris from the Hawkes Bay and we found it really complimented the spices we encountered throughout the evening. Overall, we were very impressed with the flavours, creativity and presentation of the dishes.
Delicious, delicious, delicious. White + Wongs never fails and is exceptionally consistent. We really liked the fact that the vibe was casual yet classy – you would not feel out of place if you were in formal evening attire, or jeans and a polo. We did not have to wait long for our meals and the service was prompt. The acoustics inside weren’t great so if you’re planning to visit, we’d highly recommend that you request a table out on the deck…. And with the summer months coming, we think this restaurant’s outdoor area is hard to beat.