Kerry Swan was a professional sales coach before she swapped motivational seminars for foodie tours. The keen traveller made the entrepreneurial leap as head of Auckland’s Zest Food Tours (zestfoodtours.co.nz) after she saw an opportunity to share her city’s exceptional eats with visitors. This is her hit list for the hungry in the City of Sails.
“I believe Auckland’s food scene compares with the best in the world. Whenever I travel it’s always about the local food experience and meeting the people behind the scenes who want to share their passion and pride. I love to showcase Auckland’s best foodie places that typify our friendly culture and where the staff happily share their knowledge and creative approaches to eating well.”
See also: New Zealand stylist Tip Wananuruks guide to where the country’s sartorial set go for drinks and designer buys.
I am a regular at Elske Café housed in what was once the grand old Roxy Theatre. I like to join the buzzy crowd there for a seriously good flat white coffee and a pastry by their Michelin-star pastry chef Kristina Jensen.
Favourite dining precinct:
One of my favourite neighbourhoods to hang out in is Britomart (britomart.org), which features in our Auckland City Tastes tour. I love an evening stroll to Britomart where I’m spoilt for choice of where to eat. My current favourite is Café Hanoi. The team greets everyone like family and their modern take on Vietnamese fare, with its zingy clean flavours, always hits the spot.
If it’s not a school night I might start with a drink and appetiser over the road at Café Hanoi’s sister bar Xuxu, offering amazing Asian-inspired cocktails.
Quintessential Auckland food experience:
You can’t go past The Brewery Britomart. Sited in one of the city’s oldest buildings, originally The Britomart Hotel, a landmark in Auckland history built in the late 1870s. Now refurbished, the property is owned by Laurence Van Dam and John Morawski, who have created this microbrewery to show off their passion for brewing handcrafted beers, which are matched with a selection of tasty platters.
Hotel DeBrett is a unique, 25-room luxury boutique hotel in the heart of Auckland, with excellent dining. Every room is individually designed and complemented with eclectic furniture, New Zealand art and photography. A glass-roofed atrium and courtyard form the central focal point for guests dining at their Kitchen Restaurant, a finalist in the Cuisine NZ Restaurant of the Year Awards 2012.
Best foodie gift to take home:
Devonport Chocolates are all handmade and they love to include NZ flavours such as feijoa, horopito (a native herb similar in flavour to cayenne pepper) and, my personal favourite, lime and chili.
Best deli for nibbles:
The Kapiti Store has take-home treats such as their balsamic jelly or divine cheeses. Don’t miss their people's choice award winner - Kikorangi - a triple cream blue - or their Ramara - a washed rind with real bite. They make delicious cheese toasted sandwiches with their Tuteremoana cheddar and sourdough bread and also have a range of ice-creams with original flavours such as our iconic hokey pokey or lemongrass and ginger.
The Brewery Britomart
69 Customs Street East, Central.
+64 9 369 5069. thebrewerybritomart.co.nz
Excelsior Building, Cnr Galway & Commerce Streets, Central.
+64 9 302 3478. cafehanoi.co.nz
Levy Building, Cnr Commerce & Galway Streets, Central.
+64 9 309 5529.
Shop 34, Queens Arcade, 34 Queen Street, Central.
+64 9 377 1010. devonportchocolates.co.nz
Imperial Lane, 7 Fort Lane, Central.
+64 9 929 2703.
2 High Street, Central.
+64 9 925 9000. hoteldebrett.com
The Kapiti Store
19 Shortland Street, Central.
+64 9 358 3835.