Top to bottom: Michael Dearth from The Grove; the Venison Curry from Monsoon Poon; Ash Visvanathan from Monsoon Poon; Masterchefs Nadia Lim and Brett MacGregor in the Regal Salmon kitchen; Makoto Tokuyama from Cocoro.
The annual Taste of New Zealand festival in Victoria Park was the first one I have made it to thus far – 2008 I was in Thailand, and last year I was in hospital (Thailand was much more fun than hospital). So I was glad to finally make it along to the inner-city park last Friday for a bit of a cruise round the tents of a nice selection of Auckland’s top restaurants. As you can see, I didn’t waste much time taking photos of the food (sorry!), as I was more interested in eating it quite quickly so I could move on to the next tent and so on… even so, I found that in a four-hour session, I didn’t have nearly enough time to sample dishes from all the tents I wanted to. My fault for stopping to chat to friends constantly, but others must have had the same problem, too? I nearly went back for a second session on the Saturday, but my feet were punishing me for having trekked round in heels, with a pushchair, the previous day (my feet have been out of training since I had kids). So as it was, I would have loved to sample more, but most of what I had was pretty impressive:perfectly spiced venison curry, and pretty duck summer rolls from Monsoon Poon; a super tasty venison hache slider from The Grove; Smoked Kahawai Croquettes from James (love smoked fish cakes right now); salmon and scampi on eurinikas from The Wharf and the tempura from Cocoro. My favourite spot for drinks was the Te Hana/Mac’s bar tent in the centre, with quite a bit of greenery and lots of comfy seating. I headed to the Malaysia Kitchen tent to see Rick Stein cook, but the crowds had got there first so I couldn’t see much and my god was it hot in there.
I look forward to next year’s festival, I’m sure it will be even bigger and better.