Now, I'm sure you've all seen news on the opening of Auckland's latest and greatest hot-spot Huami (if you haven't, you should really utilize the internet more), but what you've probably been wondering is if the food matches the level of all its salivating hype — so, here's lil' ol' me to the rescue, sacrificing a precious hump-day out of my week to gorge myself full of nine dishes to the point of a subtle halfway un-zip.
As much as I love satiating my dumpling and mapo tofu cravings with cheap takeaways, let it be clear: Huami ain't your average Dominion Road joint. A collaboration between Nic Watt, executive chef Jeff Tan, master sommelier Cameron Douglas and SkyCity; Huami is the real deal, world-class, regal Chinese restaurant that you never knew you needed so badly in your life. The latest addition to the Federal Street precinct, it's safe to say that Mr. Watt is slowly but surely taking over New Zealand's up-scale food scene with meticulous precision by creating an empire of successful go-to dining destinations in a similar fashion to how Major Food Group has dominated Manhattan (think Carbone, Dirty French, Parm and the other nine establishments).
Fusing traditional French Concession old-style Shanghai with a modern-day twist, you'll be vibin' each bite and sip o' wine with a gangsta grin in this jazzy, contemporary ambience. Featuring New Zealand's one and only wood-fired duck oven, it would be a crime to skip the Peking duck (whole: $78, half: $40). I still dream about the crispy skin and wake up in a crazed haze. The boiled chicken with spicy chilli oil and bean sauce ($22) is perfect for those who have a penchant for straightforward flavours — I'd say this would be a heavenly inspirational surprise for those gym buffs who only eat unsalted protein and lettuce everyday.
The superior broth with king crab meat and fresh fungus is a flavour-packed winter warmer to settle the aforementioned appetizers and prepare you for a round of mains ($22). A melt-in-your mouth sensation that one needs to experience in a lifetime, the wok-fried New Zealand Ocean Beef with black pepper sauce was cooked to unmatched perfection ($42). If you're a fan of seafood, the Sichuan-style wok-fried u10 prawns are super plump and juicy with a beautiful kick to it ($38). Order a side of quick-fried string beans to complement these mains — I'm always disappointed every time I order fried string beans as it takes me on a guilt-trip with its greasiness and MSG which defeats the whole purpose of ordering vegetables — but this is the real deal ($16).
For your carbs, go for the signature Huami XO chilli fried rice with shrimp and squid ($26) and finish off the meal with a light and fresh mango pudding with roast pineapple and coconut kaffir lime ice cream ($18).