I’ve been doing quite the tiki tour around the country over the last month and contrary to common belief, it’s not glamorous, it’s tiring. There have been lots of 530am wake up calls, delayed flights, cancelled flights, diverted flights, and just plain old turbulence. The silver linings have been meeting up with friends who happen to be in the neighbourhood and of course, doing a bit of wining and dining.
When I went to Christchurch I only planned to have dinner, but ended up getting a tour of red zone street art and staying for breakfast (though that wasn’t by choice). Dinner was served at Samurai Bowl– from the outside it looks like any other cheap and cheerful local joint, but step inside and you soon realise it’s a local favourite. The decor is pretty average so I presumed the streams of people coming in and out were there for the food…? It was pretty good- nothing fancy, nothing new, it just tasted right and was speedy! Washed down with a BYO Main Divide Reisling- I don’t normally do reislings with dinner but this was on sale for a bargain price and we all know it tastes good. Then it was off on my own private art tour- culture hit of the week- check!
Fast forward a week, I was in Auckland and having a somewhat different dining experience. Dinner was served at Orleans– it’s where Agents & Merchants and District Dining used to be, and was trying to ooze cool, yet casual… was it successful? I’m not sure but it had only been open a week-ish so watch this space.
All the staff are young and chipper with that hot-right-now hipster vibe, the decor probably cost the same as Samurai Bowl’s rent for a couple of years, but did the food meet expectations… Generally good, but definitely some room for improvement. You can’t really go wrong with curly fries and fried rice balls, though they could have done with more of that ‘jambalaya hit’… ie spice! The steak was definitely the best dish- juicy, tender, and all that jazz but my favourite part was the burnt broccoli that came with it (I’ve noticed a new trend here). The crackle salad was most disappointing- lacked any kind of crackle, snap, or pop. Washed down with a giant jug of punch, and wonderful stories of exotic travels- travel bug satisfied- check!