Nobody was very happy when D.O.C shut its doors, but – and this is a big call – I think Peach Pit is a notch or two above. The crowd and the vibe are still pretty similar, but the food is miles better (possibly the yummiest, most inventive bar food in Auckland) and the service is incredibly friendly.
The toilet wall art and beloved pinball machines have given way to a clean black and white themed fit-out with a subtle 90s streak, which somehow makes the small space seem more roomy yet cosy at the same time. The booth seating, big roadside table and interesting mix of hipsters and after-work suits are still abound.
The menu is handwritten on a sheet of A4 paper, and offers several twists on conventional pub grub: a beef burger or deep-fried mac 'n’ cheese with tangy kimchi mayo, curry salt on fries (amazing), buttermilk popcorn chicken gizzards, an octopus pancake. On the busy Friday night we stopped by, we tried the daily special – ribs – deep-fried cauliflower with tahini, and a light yet creamy cabbage salad with shallot, garlic, coconut-lime dressing and radish. No regrets. The head chef Conor Mertens is reportedly only 26, which makes me feel rather unaccomplished.
The no-frills drinks menu is just as tempting and well-priced, with a good variety of French, Californian, Aussie and local wines and bubbles. The Lost Angel cab sav and Pays d’Oc M Chapoutier Rose (both $9) come highly recommended.
A visit to Peach Pit makes you feel like you’re hanging out at a (very hospitable and talented) friend’s place. Not many bars can do that.