Six of Auckland's Most Iconic BYO Venues (and What to Order Once You're There)
Gather some friends and a bottle or two, and see what the city's BYO eateries still have to offer.
We don't mean to alarm you, but come Friday, December 3, we're actually going to be able to go out and eat. At real restaurants. With actual friends.
If you're wanting to debrief with all the mates you've missed over these long months indoors, may we recommend the humble BYO? Having everyone you love packed down a long table at one of city's locally-owned eateries on a humid weekend eve, sharing stories while drinking a bottle (or two) of your favourite vino — it's the kind of thing lockdown dreams are made of.
Whether you've booked in for a Thai feast in Takapuna or you're planning on sharing some Malaysian in Mount Eden, if you've forgotten what and how to order, you're not alone. We've put together some of our favourite contenders for those never-fail, crowd-pleasing dishes so you've got something to refer to at your next classic BYO.
PAD SEE EW — AT BANGKOCK, KINGSLAND
Thai is always a crowd-pleasing option when it comes to a group BYO. But if you're facing decision-making anxiety while in the Kingsland joint's cozy, brick interior, you can't go wrong with Pad Thai's cooler cousin, Pad See Ew. Fried noodles with meat and veg, smothered in a perfectly balanced, salty-and-sweet, sauce — what's not to love?
Pair it with one of At Bangkok's famous ugly puff rotis for a guaranteed good time. With the rich molasses flavours and oily roti, you're going to want to cut through with a crisp white — but don't reach for usual Sav. Instead go for something like an Albariño, smooth and a bit acidic.
Pair it with: Leftfield Gisborne Albariño, $17.99, Villa Maria Cellar Selection Albariño, $16.99
BEEF RENDANG — KK MALAYSIAN, EPSOM
KK Malaysian is one of those IYKYK spots in Auckland: it's tucked down Manukau Road and the joint's interior isn't the flashest, but it's been feeding the masses with delicious authentic Malaysian food for 15 years.
The beef rendang is an absolute menu standout — if you haven't tried it, put the slow-cooked goodness on your list immediately. It's a dry curry made with herbs and spices like lemongrass, cinnamon and lots chilli.
Pair it with something like a buttery Chardonnay to refresh the pallet between mouthfuls and match the nutty notes of the beef.
Pair it with: Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Chardonnay, $17.99, Odyssey Gisborne Chardonnay 2020, $19.99
YUM CHA — GRAND HABOUR CHINESE RESTAURANT, CBD
Got a group of friends tricky to please, thanks to a host of different dietary requirements or picky palettes? Yum Cha is the best way to go, as everyone gets a wee bit of everything. Grand Harbour is one of the original and one of the best. You may think of Yum Cha purely as a Sunday afternoon thing, but it holds up for an evening option as well.
Steamed buns, dumplings, rice rolls – all delivered to your table from trolleys full of goodies. With so many different delectables floating around, you'll need a versatile wine that goes with everything, like a humble, crowd-pleasing Pinot Gris.
Pair it with: Vidal Reserve Pinot Gris, $19.99, Leftfield Hawkes Bay Pinot Gris, $17.99
SPICY GREEN BEANS AND DUMPLINGS – BARILLA, DOMINION ROAD
I know what you're thinking, that's two dishes. And yes, you would be correct. But at Dominion Road stalwart Barilla, the two make such a wonderful BYO pairing you simply can't have one without the other. The deep-fried green beans with spicy salt are a cult classic for a reason: they're crunchy and hot, with a spicy bite on the tongue.
Pair with a plateful of soft, pillowy dumplings and you have the perfect flavour combo. Alongside, sip a celebratory sparkling you can send around the Lazy Susan so everyone gets a glass. Cheers to that!
Pair it with: Akarua Central Otago Brut NV, $35, Lindauer Special Reserve Rosé, $13.99
BUTTER CHICKEN – SATYA, VARIOUS LOCATIONS
If you've spent the long months of lockdown attempting to make your own butter chicken at home and it just hasn't tasted the same, it's time to indulge in one of the city's best at Satya. It seems like a basic order, and perhaps it is, but it's one that will always leave you feeling warm and content, especially when paired with garlic naan.
The creamy, tomato-y gravy with warming spices like coriander and cumin need a crisp wine to cut through the richness. Select a dry rosé that packs a lively flavour on the tongue but is smooth enough not to overpower all of the intense flavours of Indian cooking.
Pair it with: Esk Valley Hawkes Bay Rosé, $19.99, Tupari Pink Pukeko Awatere Valley Rosé, $22
MUSHROOM AND TRUFFLE RAVIOLI – PANE E VINO, PONSONBY
Haven't been back to Pane e Vino since they bowled the iconic original Ponsonby villa and set up shop across the road? Put your pride aside and head there this weekend: the food is as good as it ever was. While you're there, completely skip over anything else and head straight for the mushroom and truffle ravioli.
It's so indulgent, it will feel like nonna spent the day hand-rolling the pasta just for you. Lean into the richness of the sauce and pair it with an equally rich and slightly spicy Malbec. The dark fruit flavours are just right for comforting Italian cooking – just maybe don't wear a white shirt, in case of spills.
Pair it with: Leftfield Hawkes Bay Malbec, $24.99, Tironui Above & Beyond Malbec Merlot Cabernet 2018, $24.99
Published on December 02, 2021 by Sarah Templeton