In Food + Drink

A Beautiful Bucket List: Elaborate Eats And Sweets To Try In Auckland

Ice cream with a side of French fries, anyone? For many renowned chefs and bakers, the meaning of food goes way beyond combining a few ingredients haphazardly.

Rather it’s about creating an immersive gastronomic experience; merging flavours and textures that are not only visually intriguing but evoke emotion and push the boundaries, even for the boldest palates.

And in Auckland, you’ll find some of the finest examples of this. From perfectly rolled sushi adorned with edible flowers and a towering stack of fried chicken and waffles to coffee served in shortcrust pastry cups and hot chocolate wrapped in cotton candy; when it comes to eating in Auckland, these are the dishes just a bit more special than most.

Coconut chia parfait from Bambina

Image: Bambina / supplied

At Bambina, dishes are plated with the utmost care and consideration with not one ingredient out of place. The result: beautiful works of art that really do look too good to eat. But upon the first mouthful, you’ll soon discover that it isn’t just a pretty plate but what’s presented is equally tantalising to the taste buds.

Specialty dishes include the vegan coconut chia parfait topped with blue spirulina, coconut yoghurt and finely sliced fruit, as well as panna cotta with granola and fluffy hot cakes – all embellished with the signature topping of delicate edible pansies.

Claffoto and themed thick shakes from Crunch Tower

Milkshakes, hot chocolates, chai lattes and coffees come out like prized pieces of art at Crunch Tower. It’s not uncommon to hear gasps of awe as each creation is delivered to delighted restaurant-goers.

On the menu is the ‘Claffoto’ which consists of a fluffy cloud of candy floss woven around a glass of your choice of ice cream that disintegrates into one delicious sugary concoction when doused in coffee or hot chocolate.

Perhaps what the establishment is best known for though is its towering themed thick shakes topped with all things sweet: donuts, candy bars, sprinkles and more. Guests are given gloves with every order and you’ll understand why once you begin to pick apart and inspect each extravagant component before devouring.

Ice cream from Giapo

The owner of this boutique ice creamery was on to something with his view that “ice cream is one of the world’s most popular foods but tradition has bound it to the same function: something only to be licked on top of a cone, cup, or stick”.

Giapo Grazioli thus made it his mission to make ice cream that pushed the boundaries and his namesake, Giapo, was born.

Inside, guests are treated to complimentary tastings and it quickly becomes clear he’s achieved his vision: quirky creations on display include ice cream moulded in the shape of the Sky Tower, the Auckland Harbour Bridge and a cone incorporating a gold-dusted embellished chocolate photoframe – the perfect selfie prop.

Other unconventional combos include an ice cream cone filled with hot chips and pockets of fried bread stuffed with two ice cream flavours of your choice.

Sushi from &Sushi

The Japanese delicacy has been around for centuries and has experienced a modern revival in recent years. But boutique sushi parlour &Sushi is dedicated to celebrating the art of the cuisine and is breathing new energy into the traditional dish.

The display cabinet has been described as a “lolly counter for grown ups” and boasts rows of brightly decorated sushi and summer rolls as well as inari and cucumber boats. Build your own plate of colourful creations or order from the menu with fan favourites including ramen and donburi on offer.

The ‘Piefee’ from Tasteful Bakehouse and Café

Inside an unassuming bakery along one of Auckland’s famed dining precincts, Karangahape Road, a baker has been hard at work perfecting his recipe for an edible coffee cup. What started as a bit of fun for the owner of Tasteful Bakehouse has since turned into quite the craze.

Chamnan Ly wanted to make drinking coffee an even more enjoyable experience but first, the shortcrust pastry had to be perfected so it was leak-proof. The ‘piefee’, or coffee in a sweet pie, began in a tin casing but it’s now served solely in an array of flavoured pastry bases – gingerbread, chocolate chip and Oreo crumb among others.

And we can confirm: not one drop of precious coffee was spilt in the process of devouring this delicacy. What’s more, you don’t need to bring a reusable coffee cup with you or feel guilty about using a disposable one because, well, you just eat it when you’re done. Rejoice! A drink that’s both delicious and good for the planet.

The Chicken and Waffle Stack from Orleans

Image: Orleans / supplied

Straight from the streets of Southern USA, the tower of mouth-watering goodness that is the Chicken and Waffle Stack from Orleans is presented on the Soulful Classics menu alongside the simple command: “Not to be missed.”

Stacked high is the famous combination of crispy fried chicken and waffles drizzled with maple chipotle and herb butter and surrounded by a bed of curly fries. Share among friends but we won’t judge if you savour it all to yourself.

(Lead image: Crunch Tower / Monica Tischler) 

Published 04 October, 2019