A light lunch, a snack alongside drinks, or a little something to tide you through to dinner time – these mouthwatering mouthfuls are ideal in-between food.
Xuxu Dumpling Bar’s unexpected dumpling fillings (chicken and water chestnut with drunken sauce and chilli, for example) are legendary around these parts, and right now they have an All You Can Eat special on Saturdays – just $25 for all the amazing dumplings you can stomach. Any day of the week is good for the dumplings at Seven (think wagyu and spring onion, chicken and prawn pot-stickers or spinach, tofu and oyster mushroom) – and from 12-3pm weekdays, they run a Tray Lunch, where you can choose any three dishes from the menu (including dumplings) for $25. If you’d really like to upgrade your dumpling experience, Ebisu’s Lobster and Spanner Crab Dumplings with truffle oil, courgette dashi, shichimi pepper and mascarpone ($26) are truly luxuriant mouthfuls.
Jo Pearson, executive chef at Hipgroup, knows how to fill a pasta package with an irresistible centre. All the fresh pasta for Amano, The Store and Ortolana is made on-site in Britomart, and Jo has dotted the menus of the three eateries with a series of unusual, delicious filled pastas. At The Store, the butternut and ricotta ravioli with sage butter and hazelnuts ($23) is a quick way to brighten a winter lunchtime, while the confit duck agnolotti with caper butter, walnut and artichoke ($30) at Ortolana is a velvety mouthful with a piquant twist. And Amano’s Wairarapa Cost crayfish pulsante with garlic, lemon and dill ($34) is simple but incredibly rich and satisfying.
Sometime the only thing that satisfies a comfort-food craving is a plate or bowl of deep-fried carbs. Our personal favourite is the Orleans Curly Fries, because there’s something endlessly fun about a golden corkscrew of potato, especially when they’re loaded. L’Assiette does a deliciously French take on fries, with a bowl of frites with aioli ($7). If you prefer your fried foods to be protein-based, Mexico’s spicy fried chicken is a menu staple, while Northern Steamship Company’s salt-and-pepper calamari has a fiery side of Thai sriracha sauce.