Recently, Christian and I flew out of Brisbane headed for a very special destination (more on that in my coming posts) that included an overnight stop over in Auckland, New Zealand. With no more than an afternoon and overnight in the city, we thought what better way to spend it than by checking out some of the culinary delights on offer with our very own ‘food tour’. Food really is absolutely without question the way to my heart! It’s also a great way to sample a city, if you plan it right. Here are the places we tasted during our stay:

The Square Bar

Seeing as we had such a short stay in town, we opted to stay the night at the Novotel as it’s situated directly across from the airport. After checking in and settling into our room, we popped downstairs for a quick refreshment at the bar before heading into the city. The hotel has recently carried out some rather impressive renovations, and the bar was one of my favourite spaces there. Natural light pours in through floor to ceiling windows that run along the front of the building, while a lush green ‘living wall’ behind the bar creates the perfect space to relax. The staff were attentive, the drinks cold and the service came with a big smile!

Where:

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Sweat Shop Brew Bar

The advantage of knowing a local in new places is that they’re already in the know about where to find a good feed! My cousin Sarah took us into the CBD where it was time for a late lunch (and cocktails, of course). The Sweat Shop really impressed! Not only does it have a gorgeous, open terrace outside where we were able to make the most of the stunning weather we were treated to, the food was also a real treat. Christian’s open steak sandwich tasted as colourful as it looks and he finished every crumb stating it was the best damn steak sandwich he’d ever had. I opted for their pumpkin, pecan and hummus salad, the hummus delivering an intense smoky flavour which was perfectly contrasted with chunks of sweet, fresh beetroot.  We toasted to our trip, to friends and our health, all smiles under the warm afternoon sun.

Where:

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Miss Clawdy

That evening, as the sun began to sink behind the bay, we made our way portside for some good, honest, American food. Miss Clawdy is a warm and intimate space that serves up some pretty incredible dishes inspired by South and Central America. The idea here is to order a number of dishes to share, so it’s the perfect place for groups. My cousin Caitlin and I shared a couple of vegetarian dishes, the spicy bean tacos (with house-made tortillas) and chargrilled baby kumara with macadamia crumble were our top picks. The others tucked into southern fried jerk chicken, a bowl of jambalaya (their top dish of the night) and cajun hushpuppies. There is such a great atmosphere in this place, your water glasses are never empty and the open kitchen puts on a rather impressive fire show as they cook.

Where:

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Giapo

I had spotted this place while scrolling through Instagram one day, and this was at the top of my list for our visit (because food…). This would easily be the most decadent ice cream I’ve ever had the absolute pleasure of devouring! Each day there is a long line of sweet fans that line up to order, and I tell you that the wait is most definitely worth it. With only a small chalk menu of flavours, none of their creations are on display as the people at Giapo like you to decide by taste over appearance. So much of how we relate to food these days is by how it looks, so it’s a little refreshing to have a change. The staff pick out a few flavours for you to taste, then let you pick out some of your own before putting your order through to the ‘design team’. Every flavour has it’s own unique design and the wait to see how yours will come out is a bit of a thrill! I opted for their special, the Giapo Bueno, made of salted caramel, Italian meringue, amaretti and hazelnut praline, the pattern of toasted marshmallow carefully hand pipped and copper coated hazelnuts placed strategically on top. Caitlin decided on the Afghan, which was coated in caramelised white chocolate cornflakes with an afghan cookie fixed on top while Sarah and Andrew chose hokey pokey and banana cake respectively. My sweet tooth is tingling just writing this up…

Where:

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Image by @taramilktea
Image by @taramilktea
Image by @taramilktea
Image by @taramilktea

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