Where We Ate: May 2015

We make no bones about it, we are definite foodies in this household. We love to dine out, both as a couple and as a family – for us life is more about experiences than stuff. So each month we’ll be bringing you “Where We Ate”, a post that outlines the new places we’ve tried over the month and hopefully encouraging you to try a few new places too!

Note: the last three days of this month were spent in Christchurch and will be included in a special “Where We Ate: Christchurch Edition”



I was invited to Basalt in Howick as part of the “Stonegrill: 20 Years In New Zealand” celebrations. I couldn’t actually believe it had been that long – I remember family dinners at a local restaurant that must have been not long after they first came out and surely I’m not that old. It was really cool to hear from people who are absolutely passionate about the product and learn the proper etiquette for how to cook big hunks of protein – I’ve always stuck to seafood or skewers as “easier” options.

We started things off on the roof top terrace, an absolutely ideal place to hold private functions in either summer or winter. I can also see it being an absolute mecca for those lazy summer afternoons, much like the way that the balcony at De Fontein in Mission Bay draws the crowds. We were cooked and served portions of beef, pork, lamb and possibly the best tasting chicken I had ever had. It was then downstairs to the main restaurant to enjoy stone grill the way that Basalt serves it.

After humming and hah-ing I went with the angus prime rump and it was AMAZING. It was also big enough to give me the meat sweats (charming I know) and make me extremely glad I was wearing ponte pants. Despite not being able to finish, I had room in my dessert tummy and the combination of chocolate marquise and blood orange sorbet was delightful. I’ll definitely be heading back with friends in future.

One Tree Grill


Think five-star formal dining in what feels like an incredibly random area of Auckland, away from the hustle and bustle of the inner suburbs and CBD. The mains had surprisingly large portions for a restaurant of this calibre, and of special note has to be the quality of the sides. So many restaurants just throw stuff in a small bowl and call it good – it was clear that much more thought and effort had been put into both our beetroot and green bean side dishes. While we did see families with small children eating there, I’d definitely consider this more of a date-night restaurant.

Read my more in-depth review here.



Located in Kingsland, an area of Auckland I have to admit that I don’t often frequent, I headed along to LOOP as part of the Brunch Club, a blogger’s collective that meets over meals, and was excited about their “local first” philosophy. The food was presented beautifully and tasted amazing – I still have fond memories of the wee taste I had of the pumpkin and coconut soup – but service was slower than I had expected. This might not be an issue with smaller groups and I’d be keen to try again in a pair or a group of four.

Read my more in-depth review here.


CJ and I met up with our friend Laura here after attending a kid’s show in town. Based near the Viaduct Basin, this place iso a firm favorite of corporate types and not designed for kids as such but the staff there were SO friendly to us. There was such a wide range of sushi, both traditional and contemporary flavors, but be aware that the plated dishes are massive – unless you are super hungry you will only need the smaller size.

Read my more in-depth review here.

Shaky Isles

I thought I’d be hard pushed to find a toddler-friendly cafe in the CBD, but got to the point I was so gaspingly desperate for caffeine that I dashed into Shaky Isles and was SO pleasantly surprised. The staff were immensely friendly, the chocolate filled mocha filled my veins and there was a box of cars for a very happy fourteen month old to drive around the floor. Just don’t do what I do and head in the first door (with stairs up to the counter) – head in the second door and park the stroller on the lower floor before quickly popping up to the counter to order.

Read my more in-depth review here.

OKO Dessert Kitchen


We headed to OKO after finding Elliot Stables too noisy to converse over dinner (pro tip: they’re definitely better for lunch), looking for a leisurely catch-up over dessert. While the wait staff require a bit more education in the finer points of the menu, one can’t deny the skill of their specialist dessert chefs. A little way to go before they can take their place beside industry leaders Milse and Giapo – but hey, on the upside, you’re likely to get a table faster.

Read my more in-depth review here.

Favs returned to: Clevedon Farmers Market, Maraetai Wharf Store, Nick’s Cafe

Happy Eating!

SweetMama Signature


3 thoughts on “Where We Ate: May 2015

  1. I enjoyed this little round up. Shaky Isles in Britomart is a good one. I never thought about it from a mum’s point of view, but I like how it’s spacious the spot is and they have wi-fi. Great if I’m killing time between meetings as I don’t feel like I’m in anybody’s way.

    My husband’s family are all in Christchurch so we eat out there the most (after Auckland). Looking forward to your Christchurch edition.

  2. Love the idea of these roundups! Shaky Isles do such good coffee and delicious pancakes, I’m glad its kid-friendly too! Looking forward to seeing these more often 🙂 x

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