Not long ago, Eight Two served suburban diners fine cuisine in the leafy, character villa infested suburb of Birkenhead. Now defunct, it's been replaced by a bistro named Moxie, that's perhaps more fitting of the area's relaxed shore vibes and unique personality.
Set inside a beautifully repurposed white villa, Moxie provides a fetching place in which to dine. There's fair bit of of pink going on here, but I'll forgive them as the faux brick wallpaper, exposed rafters and slowly spinning ceiling fans that add a touch of quaint class.
The smaller items on the menu are great for sharing whereas the larger ones, provide a hearty meal. To get yourself going grab the mac 'n' cheese with gorgonzola, white onion, celery and truffle ($18). These puppies are essentially the tastiest m&c morsels ever sampled, deep fried then laced with a generous amount of truffle. Fucking TRUFFLE.
Next get the Moxie milk buns, with sticky pork, nam jim and sesame coriander salad (3 for $22). Yes you read that right - $22. Luckily (at that price) they are a bloody slider phenomenon — tender and juicy pork, enlivened by the spice of nam jim and kicked up another notch by the freshly baked buns and punchy coriander salad. As good, maybe better, than Depot's famous sliders.
If you fancy a wee bevvy to accompany your main, you're in for a treat. There's plenty options from Funk Estate's IPA, to a strong selection of local wines and even several single malt whiskeys.
The mains weren't quite as brilliant as the starters, but the Wakanui Blue Sirloin ($34) with Yorkies, creamed celeriac, oxtail and madeira wasn't too shabby. A thick slice of well-cooked steak is served atop a light, creamy celeriac mash then doused in a rich wine sauce to create a rich and hearty main meal.
Service is also excellent, and the dessert offerings like the coffee custard, milk chocolate and churros ($14) look extremely tempting.
It's a fairly relaxed experience at Moxie, befitting of its neighbourhood setting and a big change from the previous occupants. And, while the food is fairly simple, it's prepared with a level of care and skill that elevates it above most shoreside restaurants.