Next to Mac's Brew Bar on Hurstmere Road there is an alleyway, and beside that there used to be some fairly unexciting office buildings. The bottom level of one of those buildings has been completely revamped and turned into an eatery called The Lab. There is a sprawling deck outside with two big trees coming up right through the middle of it to provide a nice bit of shade.
It was a rainy old Tuesday night but we were excited to check out the now regular haunt of Taka. From first look it seemed somewhere between a casual dining spot/place for drinks and a more formal restaurant. There was no one to greet us as we walked in but it didn't seem like the kind of place where you order at the bar either. The deck looks like the sort of place you'd want to sink a couple of beers in your jandals, whereas inside has more of a dress shoes and wine vibe.
As you might assume with a name like The Lab, there is a slight science theme going on. We ordered a couple of mojitos ($12), that came in fairly large conical flasks; the water glass was a beaker, and the water jug was really tall, skinny measuring cylinder which I couldn't pour to save myself, it did look cool though.
There is a breakfast menu, burgers and pizza available from 12pm onwards, and a dinner menu with some more daring options. The menu as a whole seemed to have a bit of a Mediterranean theme going, lots of hummus, sundried tomato, cheese.
For a starter we ordered the falafel with hummus, tahini sauce, and grilled zuchini ($15). A fairly large serving size, it was accompanied by a salad and almost could have passed as a main. It came with pretty much no hummus though so we asked the waitress for more and she happily did without extra charge.
Onto the mains and we went with the lamb tagine with figs, almonds, bulgar and labneh ($25). I am honestly salivating just thinking about it. A tad spicy but so much flavour that we couldn't stop eating it despite the heat, highly recommend giving it a try. We also had the stuffed calamari with spinach, herbs, and sundried tomato sauce ($24). The calamari was tasty, and had a few interesting twists but the lamb tagine was definitely one of the best things I've eaten in recent weeks.
It's great to see Takapuna frothing with so many places to eat and drink and The Lab is another well-established string to the suburb's already well-strung bow.