All Reviews by Dmitry
167 Cuba Street, Wellington
Awesome spot to get full to the brim
It is open till 9pm & until the last customer (me this time) finishes and you are spoiled for choice. I had: fried dumplings (8 with veg meat mince & dipping sauce), delicious Tom Yum ("small" portion which turned out to be 3 times bigger than tiny bowls I got at some other non-veg places) hot & spicy, but not to burn off your palet - just right, then Singaporean fried noodles with BBQ gluten I believe (I love gluten BTW, but if you don't I am sure you'll find something because the menu is huge), which I liberarily sprinkled with soy sauce from a help-yourself bottle, Chinese tea (no skimping here - a big pot) & a "sago" for desert, kind of like sweet rice (I was told it was something like tapioca) with lychee fruits all around - quite interesting. All this, while watching an interesting crowd of seemingly non-conformist Wellingtoneans (in this Land of Meat & Dairy one has to be a bit) which seemed to go quite well with the simple decor of the place. Paid about NZ $40 for all the above, but it was worth it for me. It's on Cuba Street, which is pedestrians-only shopping etc hot spot of Wellington.
229c Tauranga West Rd, Bethlehem, Tauranga
Well stocked shop in a curious location
There are only a few places in the world that have names associated with Christian faith and Tauranga is one of them. For some reason it has towns/suburbs on its outskirts called Bethlehem and Judea, so that people pop in there just before Christmas and post their folks at home appropriately stamped festive postcards. You can't miss that shop - it's on the main road through Bethlehem among others and has got heaps of stuff: huge selections of teas and healthy drinks (including coconut water with one of the brands organic), vegan cheese, other organic and healthy goodies etc etc. I got myself a vegan cola ice bar, a bag of hemp flakes to try (legally sold as "animal feed", but OK to eat for humans - kind of like dry hemp oil, full of nutrients), a few cool drinks, an Ayurveda organic tea in a caddy, and a spicy Chai concentrate for mixing. Definitely worth a visit.
Radius Building, Te Rapa Road, Hamilton
We need vegan takeaways!
That's a place run I believe by the people from the Vegan Buffet, i.e. the same yummy vegan goodies, but at much later hours to enjoy wherever you take it. I heaped 2 large containers with everything from various "meats" to nice big spring rolls and potato stews, plus 2 pottles of sauces to pour on, and it served as a dinner and very nice breakfast the morning after. It's open I think from late afternoon till 8pm (make sure you call just in case before popping in - I was there just before 8, and the place was shut, so the guy has opened it for me - I understand it's NZ, and no huge crowds of vegans yet; hopefully, that will change).
45 Hastings St, Napier
Great shop with a variety of fresh organic fruit & veggies + occasional hard-to-find in NZ things like REAL DILL (no vinegar) German pickles. Lots of local and Aussie tofu and even seitan + nice soy yogurt. Organic juices, including biodynamics-certified grape juice. Heaps of organic health & cosmetics products, including Dr.Brenner's, packaging-less fragrant soap etc. It also has got a great 100% vegetarian cafe inside that serves salads, hot dishes, sandwiches, heaps of real leaf teas & delightful cakes + lots of seating room & reading stuff (see The Whole Food Kitchen).
Open until 5:30pm on weekdays & 2pm (check) Sat (see the cafe's hours separately).
1087 New North Rd, Mt Albert, Auckland
I've had a medium bowl (there are 3 sizes) with a combination of 3 yummy salads (chickpeas etc), a bowl of wholesome onion soup (not fully my thing re spicing, but I finished it off diligently - there might be other soups on other days), and Cosset Meze - a combination of yummy dips: pesto, olives etc with a selection of crispy toasted breads. Very nice pina colada smoothie and cranberry juice rounded up with a large pot of tea (more than 2 cups) and a yummy orange and other goodies cake slice and a sweet tasty ball with embedded coffee grains. There's a wide selection of cakes, a lot of them labeled gluten free. I didn't quizz about everything being vegan, but most of it seemed to be. It's pretty cozy - I was enjoying my combined breakfast and lunch on a padded bench, reading weekend paper and peering through the window. The service was extremely friendly and fast too: they even asked me if I was ready for another dish.
1356 Cameron Rd, Tauranga
Wow, great - Tauranga's worth a visit
It was lunchtime after a light early breakfast, so I had to check out this bright tastily decorated and comfy cafe (it was I think close to 30C outside but coolly air-conditioned inside), and I had a small bowl of 3 delicious salads (garden with flower petals, wild brown rice and chickpeas - ideal for starters), then a soup of the day - good proper home-style hearty tomato soup with leafy veggies, then a burger with sunflower and tofu "mince" patty (their own creation, not a generic stuff in "veggie" burgers elsewhere), tasty vegan aioli and vegan cashew cheese (I asked specifically for the "cheese" to be put on as I saw it on the menu board in other options - never tried it before and it was very interesting and yum!) followed by dandelion coffee (my first try as well and an interesting taste too that grew on me with each sip) with a vegan blueberry muffin of very nice light crusty texture with dairyfree spread on the side to smooth it over, rounded up by 2 mango-banana-berry smoothies in elaborately shaped glasses. What more can you wish for? Not 100% vegan, but I was spoiled for choice with so many things vegan, and vegetarians will be overjoyed (I was tempted myself by some rather enticingly looking sweet pastries). Don't miss Tauranga if travelling through Central North Island, a large port city where Mr. Rudd from AC/DC lives (skip his restaurant though, as it serves steak) about an hour and half from Hamilton and just 1 hour from Rotorua (which most tourists put on their itinerary).
180 Driving Creek Road, Coromandel
Chill out rustic place
A falafel burger was super yum with big slab of falafel roasted nicely with layers of tomato, greens between crispy buns (with yogurt replaced by mild chili) accompanied with a couple of freshly squeezed mixed juices. A mix of 3 only salads (I wish it could be ordered small as a side to the burger - perhaps I was too full for the amount of it) missed the mark for me a bit, just plain cauliflower, brocolli, asparagus, then couscous-like type (only larger - forgot the name) with a side vinegar dressing to pour on, which for me personally was too sour. Nevertheless, the burger and juices were 5 stars, as well as the rustic cottage athmosphere with very good music on and lots of second hand books to leaf through (from Leo Tolstoy to Bill Gates). It is 100% vegetarian (wow in NZ), i.e. eggs & cheese, but the board specifically says they accomodate vegans, plus a lot of it I belive is organic, and I hope in future more fully vegan dishes may appear. It's open I think 9am-5pm 7 days, but may call just in case to be sure. If I had been a vegetarian I'd give it 4 stars, for a mostly vegan it's probably not too bad, but may need a bit more options, so it's down the middle, as "fair". There is also another 100% meatless place right in the center of town called Chai Tea House, which is not yet listed on happycow.
Updated from previous review on Tuesday January 01, 2013
corner of Custom House Quay & Hunter St, Lower Ground, Old Bank Shopping Arcade, Wellington
Tasty Buffet Indian Food
Simple & tasty Indian food of good variety (plus nicely roasted potatos). Piled the big plate before having to catch a bus, and practically enjoyed it all - grabbed paneer cheese by mistake, but I am not dairy intolerant or super strict, so I allowed myself an exception: it's actually quite nice, but alas I have to skip it next time. You can educate yourself on their religion a bit by reading while eating, and make a donation to the temple, which I did - everything that preaches respect for living things gets mine too. Handy location close to Wellington transport hub, cozy and warm (downstairs from the street).
178 Devon Street East, New Plymouth
I was in town for 1 day and at 4pm with only breakfast inside, so I had 1 large plate of different things, 1 small plate of different salads (with fruits too), a mango smoothie (huge 2 glasses size), carrot juice, pot of nettle tea, a vegan "cheese" cake and a chocolate bliss ball. The big plate had a canelloni (just googled it to spell it right), spagetti with mock chicken, a few curries (one with lentils), potato & vegies, and something kind of aubergenie or else veggy thing (sorry I am not a chef) with help-yourself soy and tomato sauce on everything. So, basically, I nearly stuffed myself. I liked some things more than others (I didn't think any were "greasy"), but it's the only VEGAN place in town, so I am not picky. The cheesecake was yummy and the smoothie great. The place itself was very neat, staff cheerful and the loo immaculate.
120 Riddiford Street, Newtown, Wellington
Great place to have an early breakfast
My problem there - I want to try so much. This time I went for Mexican beany quesadillas (they conveniently made a vegan version for me) with a big portion of cabbage salad (helped myself to a bit of extra salt), and though I am not a big lover of beans (I'm just curious to try things), it all went down very nicely with a big glass of apple juice. Then I just wanted to keep on trying other things labeled vegan, but I had to make room for the sweet options, and again I had to select just a few rather than try them all: 2 apricot & walnut cakes with 2 first rate strong long blacks to keep me alert - perfect.
Update: tried other vegan pies & sweet options since - all very enjoyable (raspberry brownie & muffin I think are the best I've eaten anywhere).
45 Oruanui St, Taupo
Here at last!
Yay! Finally, those living in or visiting Taupo have a place where they don't have to scan the menu for something edible or ask the staff awkward questions. There is a choce of fresh salads, several juices, smoothies, yummy cakes and some of the best crackers you may taste. There is real raw kombucha on tap (you can see the actual floating wonder mushroom that makes it all) and in-house made almond milk, as well as good coffee. There is choice of fresh organic and health foods on sale and magazines to browse with your meal sitting on some comfy furniture handmade from recycled tyres (surprisingly good quality) listening to nice folk guitar music for the extra ambience (you might be actually served by the guy who recorded some of it professionally and still does it for a living). Raw, dairy/gluten-free, paleo (minus meat) or vegan - you should not be disappointed. The market food truck is run by the same people, the deli itself is just a short walk away - the 2nd street behind the supermarket. It is not too big and modest looking in regard to decor, but it is the food that matters. There are also quite a few secondhand books about the good things and some positive energy-type goodies.
Updated from previous review on Tuesday December 29, 2015
50 High St, Shop 6, Auckland
It's practially vegan as they said there only 2 items in their extensive menu that weren't. I had very nice boiled dumplings, laver (seaweed) and ham soup, which was OK (the "ham" tasted sort of pickled-ish), pickled veges and beef (with a kind of noodles), which would have been quite yummy if it hadn't been rather hot and hotter as I got to the bottom of the bowl (say that you'd like it mild if it matters to you). I also had a couple of nice juices, one of which was made of few layers of different kinds, which was tasty. I thought I detected a slight tiny wiff of tap water in their free water bottles (probably filtered), and I advised them to consider cheap bottled spring water instead (less eco-friendly for some). I had my meal while reading NZ vegetarian mag and overall it was not bad at all. The service was quick and the staff very friendly. I popped in Sat morning it was open, but the lady said actually they were not, so check the hours.
299 Dominion Road, Mt Eden, Auckland
Enjoyable food & atmosphere
Many things are vegan and everything is labeled and the staff will helpfully point out all the vegan stuff to you. I had a bowl of baked kumara with African beans, which was nice, a Hing (I believe) pie slice with sauce, which was super yum, a spirulina and berry smoothie, a pot of tea, and a kind of vegan bliss ball (with nice chunky dark chocolate inside), and even tried one of their non-vegan cup cakes (which was a bit of a dairy hit). There is also a second floor seating which is very cozy. The ladies are really friendly and wearing kind of beautiful Indian-type dress, even though they look European. Check their website, their menu range is quite extensive and allows them to change food often to keep it interesting (some options are constant and some rotate I believe - all available for takeways and catering), there is even a vegan pizza (!) option, which I would love to try sometime when I am back in Auckland.
45 Hastings St, Napier
Don't miss it if you are in town
Great 100% vegetarian place in town. It serves a variety of nice salads with rather diverse ingredients (some combinations I found quite interesting and delicious - you can order any selection of them in a medium or large portion) + a couple of hot dishes that may include a wholesome veggie soup, a curry (with a nicely toasted chunk of real non-supermarket bread) + a wide selection of sandwiches/pies (you can have them toasted - again the ingredients are quite diverse and may include fried tofu, tempeh etc). There is about a dozen of different teas - all real leaf, no bags, which they can offer you to smell before you order, some with quite interesting names I never tried before & delightful flavor + lots of home-style yummy cakes and slices to go with. They do serve a variety of cheeses & eggs (I believe mostly organic), but it's not in everything and all the ingredients are listed, so if you are after veggies only, you may still find a reasonable selection to suit your pallet (some teas come with milk on the side, so ask for soy if that's your wish). The food changes regularly, so you are assured of variety, and if you got extra dietary preferences, the range of your options may be wider the next day than today.
Another great thing about the place is heaps of room on large long tables and lots of mags (Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone etc as well as papers), so you can engross yourself in pleasant reading while you eat. There is also a tap of quality drinking water w/glasses at the back to help yourself. The place itself is right inside a large organics shop, where you can stock on variety of organic produce and other useful stuff.
Note the hours - it's open Tue-Sat (for hot dishes the kitchen I believe closes around 2pm on weekdays; the organics shop itself is open on Mon).
Updated from previous review on Wednesday April 13, 2011
2 Stancombe Road, Flat Bush, Manukau, Auckland
Feast for the eyes and stomach
That's a delightful Chinese Buddhist temple - huge, immaculately built with a huge golden Buddha statue inside and other beautifully made statues, a large courtyard with fancy trimmed grass squares and a "wishing bell" that you can ring to make a wish (with a few chants and bows that are written beside it - to do it properly). Entrance is free and you can wonder around (taking you shoes off inside the main temple & please taking pictures from the outside only) - there is a second floor with Buddhist art. There is a gift shop with lots of big and small statues (some quite intricately carved), pendants etc. And there is a cafe, which IMO is more like a restaurant - there is a huge menu folder with pictures of dishes, most to me appeared to be fairly vegan. I had fried soy pieces on wooden sticks, a spring roll, a veggie meat dumplings soup - all as entrees (there are multiple other soups as main portions), not bad tasting, and rather yummy vegetarian mince on rice with tofu slices, a lotus tea (though the flavor was a bit too subtle for me - next time I'll try a rose one), then I had a kind of a citrus/plum-tasting fruit tea in a tall wine-like glass (with real fruit inside) with a shortbread, which inside had something a bit like Turkish delight, sweet, but not too sweet, which was nice. All in all - the huge temple, the shop, the cafe are a window into 2000+ year old Chinese culture (some of those guys are from Taiwan) - not to be missed. Check the temple website, there is a service schedule and if you can get into one that might be quite an interesting experience too (I was given a sheet with chants in Chinese characters spelled out in English and some translation - though generally could not keep up as the language was so quick and pronunciation subtle).
88 Broadway, Newmarket, Auckland
Nice food & cakes + organics shop
It's practically all vegan. I had a curry with 2 side salads, then another selection of 4, a smoothie, a pot of tea and 3(!) vegan cakes - all because I missed breakfast and rolled it into lunch. The staff are extremely friendly and the food was delicious. The place itself is inside a large organics and health store, and the ingredients are organic too - so both vegan and organic, what could be better. The gift payment system cited prior was not on when I was there, which is understandable with the crisis, cost of living going up and using organic ingredients - it may not be sustainable, and I was happy with what I paid. I also grabbed some delicious dark German bread with a bit of beet in it, and from the shop NZ organic hemp oil and unrefined organic sunflower oil which is a rarity here. Also, if you are after mock meaty things (like I am) there were quite a few in the shop's freezer to choose from.