New street food-inspired restaurant Gao opens in Albany

by Jean Teng / 10 December, 2018
Photography by Alex Blackwood

New Asian fusion restaurant Gao elevates street food in Albany.

Friends Jin Ha and Brian Kim have known each other since university, and their first restaurant together, Gao, is a modern Asian fusion eatery where they want to “bring the street inside.”

Gao sticks out in quiet suburban Albany, occupying a corner previously held by GPK Bar & Grill – there’s now a splash of mural to see you in as you round the corner. The unassuming outside opens into a neon-lit urban interior, with graffitied walls painted by local artists, an alabaster onyx-marble bar, and a terracotta floor meant to emulate dining at street food stalls.

Read more: A new Auckland burger joint you'll want to try, plus more food news

Both owners have a background in hospitality and – even better – Ha is a designer and Kim a licensed builder. Together, they’ve executed their ethos of elevated street food. It also shows in the name: Gao means ‘high’ in Mandarin, which they say they aim to deliver in their service and quality of ingredients. Attention to detail is apparent here; even their plates are handmade in Korea and took three months to arrive.

The food, curated by head chef Sun and sous chef Ben, who have both cut their teeth in the Auckland food scene at eateries like Dear Jervois, Blue Breeze Inn and The Engine Room between them. “Flavour comes first,” Ben says, “then presentation.”  

There’s a largely Thai-inspired menu, with dishes like a tender beef cheek massaman curry that eats like savoury comfort food and a version of som tum (papaya salad). There are influences from Korea, Japan and China, too, such as an intriguing offering of oysters served with sweet kojuchang (gochujang) sauce, a mizore tofu with homemade tsuyu soup and, of course, dumplings.

Grace Wang, their dumpling chef (pictured above left) was recruited by general manager Jonathan Wong (ex-Artwok) from China when he found it difficult to find one in-country.  She commandeers a glass-cased corner stacked with bamboo steamers that allows diners to see her roll out the dough and make it all by hand. The steamed xiao long bao’s are shut with delicate neat pleats, its hot soup flooding the mouth with a salty richness.

To minimise wastage, bar manager Jin Paik (formerly of Amano) uses house-made syrups from kitchen leftovers like cardamom, coriander and lemongrass in his cocktails, and his wine and beer list is reflective of his desire to bring the city to the Shore (“No Heinekens, just craft”).  

And what of their decision to open in the burbs? Paik has the answer – have good food and good drinks, he says, and people will come.

198-200 Dairy Flat Highway, Albany

Follow Metro on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and sign up to the weekly email for more food news.

LatestDiningArticlesWidget - Latest Dining Articles with RestaurantHub
Error loading section - Error executing child request for handler 'System.Web.Mvc.HttpHandlerUtil+ServerExecuteHttpHandlerAsyncWrapper'. The remote server returned an error: (404) Not Found.
AdvertModule - Advert - M-Rec / Halfpage


PM announces ban on all military-style semi-automatic weapons and assault rifles
103805 2019-03-21 00:00:00Z Crime

PM announces ban on all military-style semi-automa…

by RNZ

Ms Ardern pledged the day after the terrorist massacre that "gun laws will change" and would be announced within 10 days of the attack.

Read more
No mention of right-wing extremist threats in 10 years of GCSB & SIS public docs
103770 2019-03-21 00:00:00Z Politics

No mention of right-wing extremist threats in 10 y…

by Jane Patterson

There is not one specific mention of the threat posed by white supremacists or right-wing nationalism in 10 years of security agency documents.

Read more
Deirdre Kent: The woman who faced down the wrath of Big Tobacco
103798 2019-03-21 00:00:00Z Profiles

Deirdre Kent: The woman who faced down the wrath o…

by Joanna Wane

As the face of anti-smoking lobby group ASH, Deirdre Kent played a vital role in the smokefree New Zealand movement.

Read more
Māori leaders say acts of terror nothing new in NZ
103766 2019-03-21 00:00:00Z Currently

Māori leaders say acts of terror nothing new in NZ…

by Leigh-Marama McLachlan

Māori leaders are calling on New Zealanders to reject the notion that 'this is not us' in the wake of the Christchurch mosque attacks.

Read more
Cynthia Millar and the strange beauty of the ondes martenot
103723 2019-03-21 00:00:00Z Music

Cynthia Millar and the strange beauty of the ondes…

by Elizabeth Kerr

The sci-fi sound of the ondes martenot is playing a key part in the upcoming performance of an epic symphony.

Read more
Christchurch gunsmith warned police about white supremacists last year
103662 2019-03-20 00:00:00Z Crime

Christchurch gunsmith warned police about white su…

by RNZ

A Canterbury gunsmith living and working says he told police less than six months ago they needed to look at the rise of white supremacists with guns.

Read more
12 moments that show how New Zealanders have united in the face of terror
103665 2019-03-20 00:00:00Z Social issues

12 moments that show how New Zealanders have unite…

by Vomle Springford

In the following days after the Christchurch terror attacks, New Zealand has come together to support the victims of the shootings.

Read more
How modern art inspired the music of Anna Clyne's Abstractions
103649 2019-03-20 00:00:00Z Music

How modern art inspired the music of Anna Clyne's…

by The Listener

The works of the English contemporary composer feature in the NZSO’s forthcoming The Planets series.

Read more