Best Cheap Eats 2016: Henderson/Mt Albert/Sandringham

by Kate Richards / 23 September, 2016
Mumbai-Chaat-(21-of-21)


Above: Gaurang, Pratibha and Ajit Ambani, owners of Mumbai Chaat, photo by Caitlin McKone.



7 SIRI TASTE OF SRI LANKA


580 Sandringham Rd, Sandringham
Lump rice is one of the featured dishes here: rice and curry with three sorts of meat, it’s like an Indian biryani, except the components are not mixed through and the whole thing, including a whole egg, is wrapped in a banana leaf. Fabulous to eat. Nandasiri and Ramani Alwis are generous and very friendly hosts, and it’s worth taking their advice on what else to try. Don’t forget the chutneys!
Sri Lankan, vegetarian friendly

BAWARCHI


519 Sandringham Rd, Sandringham
Like Paradise, its more blingy neighbour, Bawarchi specialises in Hyderabadi cuisine, although there’s a nod to Indo-Chinese, too. Dum biryani is the signature dish and the chicken version here, which the certificate on the wall tells us has been named best in a local biryani showdown, is redolent with warming spices, generous on the chicken front and excellent scooped up with naan for a double carb load. There’s the takeaway arm with ready-made curries, and a sit-down affair next door. At the former, $13 will get you any curry, rice and naan, while if you dine in, the menu expands to more interesting things, like lambs’ brains.
Indian, vegetarian friendly

BIKANERVALA


214 Universal Drive, Henderson
If you can distract yourself from the bank of savoury and sweet temptations at the entrance, we recommend the following: North Indian option — butter paneer masala or chole bhature, and a chaat of papdi; South Indian option — paneer dosa and idli sambhar; Indochinese option — vegetable Manchurian (fried vegetable balls in a soy vinegar gravy). Getting a thali (round platter, in Hindi/Tamil) is the way to go if you wish to sample more than one item, from a Punjabi thali to Amritsari to Bikano. Weekend lunchtime options include 16 items for $16 — what a bargain.
South Indian, vegetarian friendly

Chinoiserie
Chinoiserie, photos by Simon Young.

CHINOISERIE


4 Owairaka Ave, Mt Albert
It’s near-impossible to describe this place without uttering the word “hipster”, but to do so seems to diminish how well this Asian street-food-inspired canteen has been curated. Come here for gua bao with homemade sauces and expertly cooked fillings, stay for the lively atmosphere and the short but sweet craft-led drinks list.
Chinese Fusion, licensed

MUMBAI CHAAT


1A Kitchener St, Sandringham
Owners Ajit and Pratibha Ambani’s popular eatery is Mumbai fusion, based on Indian chaat. Choose from a comprehensive selection of savoury street food (chaat), ranging from vada pao (deep-fried potato patties) to bhel puri, pani puri — where you assemble your own puri — and new additions raj kachori (spicy chaat bowl) and savoury and fried vada chaat. If you can’t decide, simply order a maharaja chaat platter.
South Indian, vegetarian friendly

Paradise Indian Food
Paradise Indian Food.

PARADISE INDIAN FOOD


519 Sandringham Rd, Sandringham
Paradise has been feeding Auckland’s insatiable appetite for Indian food for many years. Eat in, or if you want to take out, phone ahead to beat the crowds. The Paradise special curries are excellent — thick with flavour and good ingredients — and the biryanis are a delight, too, textured and cooked dum style. The restaurant has a very fine clay oven, which makes the traditional breads and tandoor meats stand out from the pack.
North Indian/Mughlai, vegetarian friendly

SHUBH RESTAURANT AND TAKEAWAYS


524 Sandringham Rd, Sandringham
Shubh is one of the great success stories of Sandringham: two years ago a basic bain-marie outlet selling takeaway vegetarian curries, it’s evolved into a popular restaurant, still with the vegetarian curries, which are and always have been delicious, and still with fantastically low prices. Nothing costs more than $10, and the lunch special, with two curries, rice, two roti, chutneys and yoghurt, costs a mere $7. Also with a takeaway branch in Onehunga.
North Indian, vegetarian friendly

TIANZE DUMPLING HOUSE


695 Sandringham Rd, Sandringham
Eggplant may not spring to mind as the stand-out dish at a dumpling house, but believe us when we say the pork-stuffed eggplant at Tianze is so very good. The fried green beans are a favourite, too. And so are their dumplings: as good as anywhere else in town, we think, especially when they’re fried.
Northern Chinese, vegetarian friendly, open late

TREASURE KITCHEN


2/392 Great North Rd, Henderson
The owners of Henderson’s surprise Malaysian eatery come from Kuala Lumpur and offer foods from the Klang Valley such as Hakka braised pork, steamed pork belly with salted fish and bak kut teh. The excellent char kway teow is grunty, seared to perfection in a very hot wok.
Malaysian, vegetarian friendly

VENKY'S


535 Sandringham Rd, Sandringham
Another wonderfully low-priced joint in Sandringham, Venky’s has lunchtime masala dosai for just $7. The décor is minimal but the food is so good: the dosai is a perfectly crisp and light pancake, with condiments that provide the just-perfect heat and spice needed.
South Indian, vegetarian friendly, new listing




Central city

Kingsland

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