CLOSED: True Food & Yoga
Whether you're in for the Vinyasa or the matcha, True will leave you feeling on top of a cloud.
Should you, like me, be lured up the ramp at the side of True Food & Yoga, you'll find yourself in a standoff with a blank fence and some recycling at the rear of the building. Only then having to trudge your way back down as fellow diners peep out the window. The entrance is in fact exactly where it should be: out the front.
Located in the harbour-side heritage building along Tamaki Drive, the wellness centre is a far cry from former seafood mecca Hammerheads; acting as one part restaurant, one part yoga studio. Also included under the roof is a wellness room, a chiropractor room, an outdoor break out room and a retail section. Owned by celebrated chef Nic Watt (MASU) and wife Kelly, a trained reflexologist, True is a reflection of the pair's lifestyle at home - teeming with "nutrient-dense food and healthy practises". The decor continues the au naturale feeling with honest and stripped back materials - white walls, exposed beams, blonde wood. While yoga wasn't on the cards during this visit, the centre offers everything from Vinyasa, Naam, Hatha, Yin and Yoga 101 in a long room that happens to be amazingly zen despite its proximity to a major byway.
The restaurant carries a comforting lounge vibe, bordered by soft grey sofa benches, a glass fireplace and cosy black blankets draped over the back of each seat. An adult contemporary soundtrack is playing at an appropriate level. The food is predominantly health-driven, using proper ingredients across brunch, lunch and dinner. Despite the evacuation of Hammerheads, seafood remains a core feature on the menu. You can expect smaller plates like fresh kingfish sashimi ($22), a dish equivalent to the wounded peacock pose for your taste buds with sharpness from grapefruit and a lingering kick thanks to chilli, plus a smoked kahawai nicoise salad with ruby potatoes and baby gem ($18), and spanner crab salad with kelp noodles ($18). Larger plates include the melting Chatham Island blue cod ($34). The dish comes with a shiitake chia seed broth poured over at the last minute. It will have you reaching for the spoon to claim every last drop. The side of charred cauliflower ($7) was inspired by a Watt-family discovery and food revelation in the Middle East. This version is proclaimed as being better by Nic, courtesy of additions like a creamy almond hummus and caraway seeds giving the occasional crunchy texture.
The modest chef also explained that there should always be a balance in everything; hence menu items like the Rebel Warrior ($20) - fried soft shell crab with slaw in a pillowy brioche bun. That naughty side makes an appearance in the dessert section as the Miso Salty ($16), a warm chocolate fondant painted with white miso to give it that salty-sweet combination. The dish is crunchy top while still retaining the sought after gooey centre. For those looking to keep on the straight and narrow, the Golden Light dairy-free cheesecake is a prime option post-yoga and unlike anything this reviewer has ever experienced. Comprising raw mango and turmeric root, the dessert is more like a soft, spongy cake than your typical crumbly cheesecake.
With Garage Project's Hapi Daze on tap and a selection of organic and biodynamic wines on offer, a visit to True Food & Yoga will, in any scenario, leave you feeling on top of a cloud.