18° & RAINY ON WEDNESDAY 29 MARCH IN AUCKLAND
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Where the ever-changing sky is the art on the ceiling.

On the corner of Williamson Avenue and Great North Road, Grey Lynn has welcomed its new neighbourhood nook, Pocket Bar & Kitchen. With its gabled glass roof and huge botanical décor hanging off the high ceiling, its architecture creates a spacious yet cosy sun-drenched space that exudes a warm ambience. Its walls are of exposed brick and native timber with a mural by Margarita Vovna in their outdoor area. Intensely adorned with flora and fauna everywhere your eye lands, Pocket is clearly is a fan of Mother Nature and dedicated in making her flourish in this greenhouse.

Upon arrival on its opening night, I was flummoxed by how insanely busy it was. The subterranean bar was an unexpected twist to the highly exposed sun-trap that makes the main floor. Waiting for a seat to pop up, we grabbed refreshments at the speakeasy-esque bar. The drinks menu had a good selection of wine, tap beer, bottled beer and house cocktails that are crafted with a fermented water kefir. I went for a Miss Plum made of rum, plum, cinnamon and their super special sparkling water ($14). I don't understand what goes behind the production of this sparkling water but all I know is that the cocktail tasted good, and that's all that matters.

While perusing through the grazing menu, my eye wandered to the waitress with three bowls of what looked like massive deep-fried tempuras and the table of women who ordered them looked like they were thoroughly enjoying said miscellaneous deep-fried food. Inspired by them, we were convinced that they were the it-dish to try. Taking a careful hunch on what they were, we ordered the salt and vinegar potato scallops with house made tomato sauce ($8). We guessed correctly and were rewarded with the right bowl of heavily battered potato slices.

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My favourite dish was the Vietnamese tartare with coriander, chilli, nahm jim and prawn crackers ($18). It's raw meat – but don't be put off. It's good, like really good. It was sweet, salty with a tang and the meat had a highly enjoyable consistency. The North African spiced lamb chops with cumin and black olive powder was as tender as anything – the meat fell right off the bone ($18). This all went down with a tall glass of Kirin that was magically extracted from the wall via a tap ($10.50).

Clearly, Pocket's opening has been a calendar-marked event for a lot of people around Grey Lynn and it seems that the eatery has catered to the hype and anticipation. I assume the transparent ceiling and its resulting ambience will make for really hip suburban Sunday sessions. In an effort to make the most of the long Summer days, everyone will be flocking to Pocket where the ever-changing sky is the art on the ceiling.

Published on February 18, 2016 by Sophie Chung

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