What and where to eat in Auckland this October

by Kate Richards / 09 October, 2018

Chimera's Carly Black and Conor Mertens.

Four food events to get you out of the house.


It’s going to be a busy month for Conor Mertens (ex-Orphans Kitchen) and Carly Black who run Chimera (ky-meer-a), a sporadic pop-up dinner series focusing on community, seasonal shared food and natural wine. They have three events happening in October, and you should get in quick if you want to score one of the very limited tickets on offer. First up, at Cazador (854 Dominion Rd) on 15 Oct, is a collab with Alex Davies of Christchurch’s most plant-forward restaurant, Gatherings. This vegetable-focused long lunch, $75pp, includes wine matches by Wine Diamonds. On 27 Oct, Mertens cooks a menu matched with wines from Wellington’s Cult Wine who support innovation and diversity in winemaking by championing artisan growers, and natural and minimal intervention drops. Venue TBC, $95pp. The last Chimera event on 28 Oct is a bit spesh – a champagne-matched dinner featuring foie gras, caviar and truffle-laced dishes – so grab a ticket and treat bae, or just yourself. This nod to all things French costs $110pp, and comes brought to you in collaboration with Cave du Cochon. Venue TBC.

15, 27, and 28 Oct. Contact Mertens or Black for tickets and further details via Instagram @restaurant_chimera

The Cult Project at Culprit

The endearingly earnest vision for Carlo Buenaventura’s pop-up at Culprit later this month, is to showcase what it’s like to be a Filipino immigrant cooking in New Zealand by sharing some of his late father and grandmother’s approach to food. Buenaventura will present a fresh take on a traditional South Philippines cooking style called SuTuKil – offering a three-course sharing menu of snacks and larger dishes. A range of wines from Martinborough's Cambridge Road vineyards will be available by the glass or bottle on the night, with winemaker Lance Redgwell releasing one of his first 2018 vintages on the evening too. Tickets are $65pp for food only, or $100 with wine matching. Book at culprit.co.nz. 

29 & 30 Oct, Culprit, Level 1, 12 Wyndham St, central city

A plant-based dish by Orphans Kitchen chef Tom Hishon.

A plant-based dish by Orphans Kitchen chef Tom Hishon.

Little Bird Vegetarian Month

It’s World Vegetarian Month, and Little Bird Unbakery are celebrating with a second instalment of their Plant-Based Challenge running between 8 Oct – 4 Nov. The fully vegetarian cafe has challenged four prominent Auckland chefs (Al Brown, Ben Bayly, Emma Galloway and Tom Hishon) to create a plant-based dish to be served on the menu at Little Bird throughout October. Each chef’s dish will have a limited run of one week: Brown’s tempura seed and cumin broccoli features from 8 – 14 Oct; Galloway’s sweet and sour lemongrass tempeh is on from 15 – 21 Oct; try Hishon’s shiitake, celery and kumara cassoulet between 22 – 28 Oct; and the month rounds out with Bayly’s flatbread with watercress pistou and aubergine caviar from 29 Oct – 4 Nov.

Little Bird are also challenging the public to create a plant-based dish and post it to Instagram with the hashtag #plantbasedchallengenz for the chance to win $5000 worth of prizes. The winner will receive return flights to Auckland from anywhere in New Zealand, two nights at The Boatshed and a Hyundai electric car filled with Little Bird treats to use for the weekend. The best part of the month though, is that for every special dish sold, Little Bird will donate $1 to social enterprise Garden to Table – an in-school programme teaching kids about growing and cooking vegetables. So dig deep.

1 Summer St, Ponsonby (also at 14 Customs St East, central city)

Food for Thought at Gemmayze St

Exacerbated by the suicide of high profile chef and TV presenter Anthony Bourdain in June, frank conversations about the state of mental health in hospitality have been thrust further into the limelight this year. As part of an ongoing call to action, Australian-based campaign Food For Thought is teaming up with local restaurants Gemmayze St, Cazador, Culprit, Nanam Republic and The Cult Project for an evening of food and hard truths. This is the first time Food For Thought – a non-profit dinner series run by ex-chef Mal Meiers – has organised an international event. Tickets for the degustation dinner with wine match are $157pp with all proceeds going to Mental Health New Zealand. Book at eventbrite.com.au.

21 Oct, Shop 16, St Kevins Arcade, 183 Karangahape Rd, K’ Rd Precinct.

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