The A to Z Guide to Healthy Eateries in Auckland Part Three
Treat your body like the temple it damn well is - with raw cakes, enriched smoothies and home cooked meals.
January 22, 2015
Paleo, cal, gluten,
New trends guide me to health,
My body is a temple.
There is no questioning the emergence of a global awareness when it comes to health, nutrition and better living – an awareness that has (thankfully or not, depending on your Facebook friend list) erupted into mainstream popularity. New trends in clean eating, diets that call for regimes beyond simple calorie counting, and a continuous stream of research that indicates ‘perhaps eating products hosed in pesticides ain’t the best idea’ have all contributed to this phenomenon, followed (or perhaps matched) by the eateries, takeouts, restaurants and other dining establishments embracing it in their offerings.
While it is by no means the norm, there exist a great many undiscovered oases and well-known locations that either specialise in the healthy eating field, or have a particularly suitable ethos when it comes to making body-wise choices whilst grabbing a bite out. Some may surprise you, some you’ll likely never heard of – but we can guarantee all have a delicious selection of things to gorge on that will leave you satisfied, yet lacking in lingering guilt.
And don’t just take our word for it – to ensure a scientific and nutritionally sound approach for your A to Z of healthy eating in Auckland, we’ve teamed up with nutritionist Danijela Unkovich to provide honest advice on the good and the great when it comes to guilt-free eating in the SuperCity – from paleo to raw, from gluten-free to vegan, organic to whole-food and a whole plethora in between.
You'll have to agree - sometimes (particularly after a large night, large weekend or just large life) we crave the cleansing goodness, freshness and tastiness of a beautiful salad. Revive, a well-lit and easily spotted salad bar with a couple of locations around the CBD, is a haven for just such an urge. With a range of eclectic and delicious salads that change weekly, and something a little larger in terms of daily meal items (i.e. Middle Eastern Cannelloni w Feta & Chickpeas made from Wholemeal Pasta & Homemade Tomato Sauce), hotpots (Penang Thai Bean Curry on Brown Rice) and dahls (Iranian Lentil & Potato Stew) there's always something colourful and amazing to choose. With so much variety and salads available in all the colours of the wind, Revive is all vegetarian all the time - and that's all good with us.
Why: Owner Jeremy Dixon says, “After attending a health retreat with my wife, we could not find any genuinely healthy food so we set up Revive in 2004. Revive has a salad bar laden with pre-made salads, healthy hot meals including our popular hotpots which change every day. Our food is vegetarian, whole foods and prepared fresh every day.”
Suggested delicious healthy dish: As the menus change daily it's hard to say, everything is good. The meals and hotpots are our favourite.
Nutritionist thought: From a taste perspective Revive totally nails vegetarian cuisine; however their point of difference is a conscious commitment to putting together plant-based dishes that are not only tasty, but healthy too. There’s plenty of fresh produce throughout their menu, they opt for natural sweeteners (date puree and honey) over refined sugars, whole grains over processed grains, lots of fresh herbs and spices to flavour dishes, they consider cooking practices, seasonality of ingredients and even the combination of ingredients in their dishes to ensure they're serving up complete proteins to vegetarian eaters…it’s a very conscious approach to healthy eating.
280 Queen Street, CBD and 24 Wyndham Street, CBD
Another surprise addition in terms of the establishment offering exceptionally good options when it comes to better living, the Viaduct's Sofitel hotel offers a De-Light menu that caters to the low-cal, health conscious eater. And boy, are you in for a treat. Head Chef Nick Honeyman curates a multi-option three-course menu with no dish exceeding 300 calories - and no shortcuts on flavour or quality. Our suggested dish below is just one of many, but with a dessert incorporating piña colada, coconut brûlée, colada bubbles, pineapple and frozen coconut, you know they're on to something excellent. If you're after fine dining in a luxurious establishment without the guilt, the Sofitel is well worth a visit.
Why: Chef Nick Honeyman tells us, “eating healthily for me is simply just being a conscious eater. I don’t follow any fad diets or have any strict routines, I simply just try to eat whole foods where possible and try do as little as I can to the best quality ingredients I can find. Balanced with exercise a conscious healthy approach in your thoughts to what you eat will change your life letting you get just that little bit more out of every day.”
Suggested delicious healthy dish: South Island Wagyu rump tataki, smoked eel, crystallized ginger and braised shallots.
Nutritionist thought: Sofitel’s Lava Dining De-Light menu is a gastronomic delight for all the healthy eaters cum foodies (it's correct grammar, Google it) out there. Their menu offers a selection of innovative and beautifully designed health-oriented dishes, all focused around being low calorie, portion controlled and nutritionally well-balanced, as a way to provide to the health-conscious customer who still wants to enjoy a fine dining experience. Almost all meals are gluten-free.
21 Viaduct Harbour Avenue, Auckland Viaduct
With a bustling stall down at the La Cigale French markets, numerous stockists (including a few spots we’ve mentioned here), and a proper little space of their own on Ponsonby Road, The Raw Kitchen’s speedy establishment as a beacon of goodies is a delicious addition to Auckland’s healthy foodie scene. As implied by their name, The Raw Kitchen serves up an entirely raw and fully vegan menu of pretty-looking cakes and other delicious items, with a collection of classic and seasonal flavors that challenges the green-juice-guzzling stereotype that is perceived as health - think Snicker Licker, salted caramel, and black forest. All their cakes are dairy, gluten, wheat, and refined sugar free, and are hella delicious – come one, come all.
Why: Owner Olivia Scott: “Our raw menu has changed and evolved over time, we have carefully narrowed it down to our well known favourites, and our seasonal picks. Our classics such as Snicker Licker, Banoffee and Chocolate & Pistachio O-Ball have stayed true since the beginning, however we now also have flavours that represent the local organic produce and season well. We have a weekly test kitchen where we experiment with new flavours, which then are trialled at our weekend markets! Wellness is important to The Raw Kitchen, and we make sure the nutritional aspect of our food is well thought out, as well as being sensationally delicious!"
Suggested delicious healthy dish: Anything and everything, but especially the bliss balls.
Nutritionist thought: The Raw Kitchen’s goodies are the ultimate in feel-good treats…not only do they look gorgeous but they are made entirely of nutrient-dense wholefood ingredients, such as fresh fruit, nuts, seeds, dates, coconut, herbs and spices - so you can be guaranteed you can indulge while still nourishing your body.
267 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby - and a large number of the outlets on this list
For the Aucklander’s who are short on time to shop, prepare and cook healthy meals throughout the busy working week, Jess’ Underground Kitchen may help lighten the load. A business that has flourished since its establishment in 2013, Jess offers home-cooked style takeaway meals, with a focus on preparing dishes that are healthy, fresh, flavorsome and seasonal. Jess’ menu switches up weekly, with a different dish available each evening, as well as selection of frozen soups and meals to-go (if the dish of the night isn’t your pick). A great option for the time-poor, yet health-conscious, folk.
Why: Jess confided to us, "JUK started around my kitchen table, when friends convinced me to cook and package up extra portions of my own weeknight dinners that could be picked up on their way home from work. The concept has stayed very true to this - my meals are fresh, healthy and full-flavoured, not to mention super-convenient for busy, hard-working professionals. And yes, I still eat them every single night! You won't find any hidden preservatives or additives in our food, just wholesome ingredients that taste delicious. We cater for vegetarians, vegans and followers of the paleo diet."
Suggested delicious healthy dish: Every daily item. The menu changes weekly so there is always something seasonal and tasty to try.
Nutritionist thought: After a long day it can be so easy to make a mad dash through the drive-through to pick up something quick and easy, however most takeaway options offer menus that are heavily processed and nutritionally empty. With healthy, nutritious meals on offer, along with options to fit those following paleo/vegetarian/vegan lifestyles, Jess’ Underground Kitchen provides a great alternative for nights you just don’t feel like cooking.
Visit www.myundergroundkitchen.com for locations across Auckland, or delivery details
Famed for it's location as a night-time haunt and Elemeno P titled song, Karangahape Road's Verona has a lighter side you might not have been aware of. Recently placed under new management, this bar by night, cafe by day has long been known for its less healthy option of a well-stocked bar. Luckily for those partaking in vodka soda's and retaining a health-conscious attitude while enjoying the pre or post-sunset activities, the ever evolving menu offers a range of items that perfectly fit the health bill - from baked eggplant to miso pretty salad.
Why: "Our focus at Verona is to do things simply but do them really well. With our food this means the dishes are quite straightforward and honest to the ingredients, often versions of ‘old favourites’, but we’re using really fresh ingredients and making as much as we can from scratch so that the flavours are really as good as possible. We want people to be able to savour what they’re eating, so something simple and healthy actually feels like an indulgence. Verona has a proud tradition of offering really good vegan and vegetarian food as well - we want everyone to be able to choose something from the menu that is totally satisfying."
Suggested delicious healthy dish: Panfried fish on salad,with pomegranate & orange.
Nutritionist thought: Verona’s focus on utilising plenty of fresh seasonal ingredients and preparing as much of their food from scratch as possible, means you getting really flavourful food with honest ingredients. Their commitment to sourcing ingredients from local suppliers and smaller business where possible is also great, as not only are the ingredient typically fresher (as it skips the hefty food mileage), but it supports sustainability within community.
169 Karangahape Road, CBD
Newmarket's (and Auckland's) answer to the bike pathing, farmer's marketing, granola eating better life choices of San Fransicans, Wise Cicada is half health-inspired cafe, half organic grocer. We were promised an experience like no other, and recieved nothing less - health food abound, in ways never seen before. Wise Cicada is the final frontier of health choices, a one-stop-shop of organic and plant-based delights that culminates in a cafe offering daily hot dishes, an organic salad bar (with 'living' salads), a plethora of GF, SF, DF, EF dessert options, a juice/smoothie bar and on the weekend's a full cooked breakfast buffet. Honest, inviting and down to earth (with the friendliest staff in town) , we suggest you try everything - you're sure to find something new to tantalise the tastebuds.
Why: Wise Cicada owner, Babak Sarfarazi says, "We aim to be a ‘good food’ destination, somewhere you can stop for a nourishing organic, vegan meal, buy everything you need for a healthy household and ‘soak up’ a bit of joy and good energy in a friendly, relaxed atmosphere."
Suggested delicious healthy dish: Weekend Big Hearty Breakfast - Tangy Scrambled Tofu Gold, Sautéed Mushrooms with Mediterranean Flavours, Fresh Garlic & Fresh Rosemary, a Soy Sausage, Chickpea Falafel, Baked Lima Beans and Toasted Organic Bread.
Nutritionist thought: An obvious addition to the list - Wise Cicada serve up an entirely organic and nutritious plant-based menu, with a focus on using lots of fresh and colorful seasonal produce , with a conscious approach to acknowledging the importance of the source behind ingredients, as celebrated throughout their menu and store. Their sweet treat cabinet is amazing and packed with plenty of nutrient dense goodies, with lots of allergy friendly options for all the gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free bunnies out there.
23 Crowhurst Street, Newmarket
Whilst dumplings aren’t famed for their health properties, the classy, zen-like dumpling house Xuxu offers just that – and is Britomart’s answer to the cheap options cropping up across Auckland. An off-shoot of Café Hanoi, it’s comparable to a high-brow version of your regular dumpling shop, improving vastly on quality, taste, service and atmosphere (but is still nicer again). Unique to Xuxu, they’ve seized the opportunity to take a new direction in dumplings with all but one of their menu available in GF tapioca flour casings, cooking techniques that won’t blow your cholesterol, and options for a range of dietary choices.
Why: "When we started doing dumplings, they were already made with ethically sourced ingredients and completely fresh and additive free. We decided to do gluten free pastry to offer more to the coeliacs of Auckland. Our customers can't get enough of them and we're looking forward to launching our new menu soon."
Suggested delicious healthy dish: Spinach & Cabbage Momo or Bean Curd & Mushroom fillings, gluten free.
Nutritionist thought: Xuxu’s point of difference lies in the quality of their dumplings – they're beautifully handcrafted and prepared using only the highest quality ethically sourced ingredients. Gluten-free folk are catered for with almost all dumpling's available to be made gluten-free, and there is a number vegetarian (and even vegan) options on the menu (with flavors so delicious I am sure even the most avid meat eater would order them). Cooking techniques vary between dishes – the steamed beef and celery are a great pick.
Corner Galway Street & Commerce Street, Britomart
Your own home cooking
Why: Okay so we may have cheated a little with this one, but we do seriously recommend that on your journey through the A-Z of Healthy Eateries in Auckland you do venture into a culinary experience of your own, as one of the best ways to ensure you’re eating healthy is by getting down and dirty in your own kitchen. If you’re new to the cuisine of healthy cooking and don’t know where to start we recommend investing in a few badass healthy cookbooks for a little inspiration, and to remember that cooking healthy doesn’t need to be complicated – our body likes to keep it simple, so focus around using lots of fresh wholefood ingredients for maximum health, flavour and taste…yeah that’s right, Jaime Oliver ain’t got nothing on you.
Nutritionist thought: Learning to cook is an invaluable skill – health truly does begin at your next meal, so focus on filling your kitchen shelves with fresh produce and wholefood ingredients, and try to at least pick up the basics so you’ve always got a quick and easy healthy meal on hand. One of the best things about cooking your own meals is you have complete control over the quality of ingredients you’re using, so you guaranteed as to exactly what going in your dishes - particularly important if you’re following a certain way of eating, have allergies or intolerance, or have particularly health/weight goals in mind. If you find you get short on time I recommend trying batch-cooking and freezing portions so you can pull out a meal at the end of the day when you’re too tired to cook.
Your place, with a shaggadelicly good meal.
In rounding up our A-Z of healthy eateries in Auckland we come to close with an obvious choice - the wonderfully down-to-earth vegetarian café, Zest, situated in Auckland’s Devonport. On offer is a variety of green cuisine, extending across fresh juices and smoothies (ranging from your classic green detox’s to immune boosting elixirs), colourful energy salads, vegan wraps, warming soups, and of course the tempting sweet treats cabinet, jam-packed with chocolately cacao goodness and naughty-looking cakes that are actually good for you. To make matters even more exciting, Zest doubles as a healthy goods store selling a variety of natural and organic products, so you can get ready to take your new healthy lifestyle from café to home, all while you wait for your green smoothie to be made.
Why: Pauline and Robert, the minds behind Zest Natural, tell us, "We want to enable you to enrich yourself with vegetarian food and drinks so that your daily nutrition is sorted. We create a range of super blend smoothies and fresh juices, fulfilling salads, raw chocolate cheesecake and other sugar-free sweet treats, organic frozen yoghurt and gluten free pies and savouries."
Nutritionist thought: A lovely little vegetarian eatery with a wonderfully nutrient-dense wholefoods menu, and a big emphasis on utilizing local and organic produce where possible. They cater for many dietary requirements (gluten-free/dairy-free), as well as those inclined to various eating ethos (vegan/vegetarian/raw/refined-sugar free).
8 Victoria Road, Devonport
Words by Will Seal and Danijela Unkovich.