Ye-Gon struggles to write something interesting about the Golden Dragon

Ye-Gon: They’re on the cheap side, and especially on busy nights, the food is hot and fresh. I’ve never gotten sick after eating there. Close your eyes, imagine lots of typical Chinese food, then open your eyes. Congratulations, you’ve just accurately simulated the experience at the Golden Dragon. The end.

Okay, that’s not really fair. There’s a few things to say about the place, which has been there for at least a decade – I forget the exact details, and it probably doesn’t matter. This isn’t the sort of place where history and tradition are of particular concern for its core audience. Continue reading “Ye-Gon struggles to write something interesting about the Golden Dragon”

South American fare at Fonda Latina

Embargo lifted

Mexican food is hitting the big stage in New Zealand. Tacos are hotly gaining on burgers and pizzas in terms of its appearances on bar menus, and places like Mexicali and Mad Mex are bringing the fight to shopping mall foodcourts throughout the country. So it takes a bit of courage for a place like Fonda Latina to, A, open up shop in the old spot that Embargo occupied for many a years in Garden Place, and B, set up a South American/Latin American eatery without putting any of the usual Mexican dealios on the menu. Not trying to be insensitive, but this is just the reality for eateries that bravely try to introduce people to something new. Ten years ago, I worked in a Japanese restaurant, and we had at least one person a week who came in, studied the menu for ten minutes, and asked me if we serve fried rice and sweet and sour pork.

So no, you won’t find carnitas on a wheat tortilla. Or burritos served with a scoop of guac on the side. Or guac, period. What you will find is menu filled with various permutations of arepas, masa, plantain and grilled meat. Continue reading “South American fare at Fonda Latina”

Brunch at The District

Ye-Gon: I love me some brunch – or I should say, I love the idea of brunch. What I romanticise as a feast of tantalising flavours to wake up the senses, taking in the late morning sun in plushy outdoor couches, in the presence of friends looking sharp and bantering even sharper, topped up with excellent coffee, usually turns out to be a choice between the same old fry-up or a boring muesli that more resembles breakfast for my cockatiels, on uncomfortable furniture under harsh indoor lighting, with people who are half-asleep, hungover, or both. (Usually the coffee’s still okay, though.) Sleepy people and drunk people I can’t change, but what I do have a say on is the venue and the food they serve. So, how does The District, a Te Rapa local favourite, fare?

While the cafe is tucked away from the main stretch of Te Rapa and the only visible signpost shares real estate on a tall mall-type sign with its co-tenants, it seems to enjoy a fair bit of foot traffic, or at least a general awareness amongst the public, thanks to the 24-hour gym that lives in the same building. The exterior is best described as subdued but classy and contemporary, and it’s a look that mostly carries indoors past the really heavy door which I remarked upon both entering and exiting. Some would consider dark and dingy, but I think it carries a nice sense of style, if perhaps a little bland. The full service bar behind the counter is a nice splash of busy colours, although predictably it wasn’t in much use at 10am in the morning. Continue reading “Brunch at The District”

Tron Bites’ Guide to Cambridge: The Stables

Larissa: So this was my second visit to stables and I, once again, thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Ye-Gon: I’ve been here once or twice before as well, but it’s not one that’s stuck to my memory. The menu seems like a nice balance. I wouldn’t call it casual, but it’s not overly high-brow either, and they have a rotating specials board.

Larissa: It isn’t by any means fine dining, but the quality of meals are good and the atmosphere is great for a social catch up. I really like the room at stables. They have put a lot of effort into their decorating and their tables are laid out well. The staff were all friendly and I enjoyed their taste in music! Continue reading “Tron Bites’ Guide to Cambridge: The Stables”

Sampling tapas at La Parrilla

Ye-Gon: Natalia and I are sitting inside La Parrilla, arguably the crown jewel of the Skycity Co-Op. There’s an acoustic guitar rendition of Summertime crooning through the speakers, and the glass of tempranillo in my hand fills the air with aromas of cherry and almond. The wine relaxes with every sip, as does the décor which is best described as a tapestry inspired by the colours of Spain. And as the food arrives one by one, I prepare myself for the oh-so-tedious burden of tasting delicious food and living to tell the tale. Continue reading “Sampling tapas at La Parrilla”

News Roundup: September 2017

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We try out the new menu at Ember


Ye-Gon: It’s been almost two years on since the launch of Ember, and in my mind it’s tragically underappreciated by the folks around town now as the day it opened. It remains unheard of or way down on people’s priority list as far as restaurants go, which is understandable; there’s a lot of good places to try in Hamilton. But it’s still a crying shame, since Ember is a great place, where the menu really brings something new and different, and everything is executed meticulously.

Their new menu, at face value, is a bit of a departure from their previous style. Gone are the selection of tacos, gone are the sandwiches (at least from dinner service), and gone is my favourite, the brisket feijoada. Overall, the direction of the menu is away from South American influence, and towards sterility. It’s not a direction I agree with, but it wouldn’t be fair to write them off now, especially given their track record.

Continue reading “We try out the new menu at Ember”