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Sunday, November 29, 2009


If you were to ask me which Western restaurants in the Howick-Bucklands Beach area are nice, I would have to say Barracuda! Without a doubt, it's one of my favourite restaurants in Auckland. Right next to the sea, it's practically on the beach and it caters from a nice evening out with the kids to a romantic dinner with that special someone ;)

They’re open for brunch as well as dinner so you’ll get a lovely view of the beach and sea. I personally like the dinner ambience I’m a sucker for the candle-light concept – cosy & romantic.

Their menu has changed quite a bit; These are the pics I took when we came to this place for dinner in 2008.

Chicken Livers

The livers here were really tender and they went so well with the sauce. One word: yum! Too bad now they only serve this for brunch ($14.90) and I don't know if it's the same as shown in the picture or they've changed it.

Seafood Chowder

We were rather disappointed with the portion because it seemed rather tiny but the bread was nevertheless quite fresh and crispy.

Thai Chicken Salad

Lamb Shank (2 legs)

And dessert was the best! I forgot what they were called but this one is a mixture of chocolates and cake with ice cream. Deliciously heavenly. It's a pity they don't have this anymore. The chocolate cake was coated with a deliciously chocolatey chocolate sauce and it was scrumptious right down to the last bite. I love Gelato ice-cream and it was perfect.

Can't remember what this was but I think it was some Apricot Cake with Vanilla Ice-Cream. This was so-so.

So those were the pictures that we took somewhere last year and these are the pics that we took this year! Parents, Pink Dinosaur & I went together for dinner. Apparently they were so busy on Mother's Day that they had approx 150 people for lunch! We went the day after Mother's Day so it wasn't crowded and the ambience was nice.

Service was good and the waitresses are (generally) attentive and friendly, except for one waitress (this was during the dinner in 08) who was quite rude towards us and we waited for approx 1h 15mins for our food. When we asked the waitress to check on our food, she rudely replied, "What's the problem here? You guys ordered appetizers, that's why your food is taking a longer time". That was absolutely rubbish because the couple next to us also had appetizers yet their main course arrived faster than ours and we even ordered before them! Ridiculous.

Anyway that one incident did put us off a little but after coming back this year and being rewarded with great food & great service, we were glad we came back. Plus we asked about that rude waitress and was told that she didn't work there anymore.

For appetizers we had,

Seafood Chowder ($13.70)

This was surprisingly good. The soup was creamy and it had lots of seafood inside. Mum was so happy with this dish she was tempted to order another one. I definitely prefer this one to the old Seafood Chowder (the one in the bread bowl). Perfect starter.

Thai Chicken Salad ($14.70) but now it's only available for brunch (according to their website).

The salad is a one of the 'must have' at Barracuda. The vegetables were fresh and the crisps on top were pretty yummy. Although they don't give much chicken, the chicken was marinated quite well with a thai sauce (I think) and with some dressing over the greens. Mum loved this, it's her main course here. Fab.

Chicken Livers (as a main)

Dad ordered this and it was a thumb's up! I'm not sure if they serve this for dinner now or only for brunch, so you'll have to check when you go there. The livers were yummy but Dad did comment that next time he'll rather have it as an entree because to upgrade to a main you have to pay much more and the liver portion was somewhat similar to the entree portion; there was not much of a difference.

Lamb Shanks (1 leg for $22.90, 2 legs for $29.90)

One of my favourite dishes here. I've been to places whereby when you order 2 legs, the first leg is yummy however, the second leg's meat is hard and dry - not at Barracuda though! Both legs were delicious and the meat was tender and tasty. They were served on top of the creamy mashed potatoes and they complemented each other. It would have been nicer if the mashed potatoes portion was a little bigger though. One of the best lamb shanks I've eaten in Auckland. Thinking about it just makes me drool...

Eye fillet ($32.90)

Dad & Pink Dinosaur both ordered this, medium rare. The fillet was served on top of kumara mash which went well with the meat. Meat was cooked just right, not too over-done and it was juicy. I always can't decide between the eye fillet and lamb shank, both taste so good!

Boston Mud Cake

This mud cake was really good, I'm not sure if it was the same cake as the 'mixed' dessert platter shown above (in 08) but it was a warm and moist rich chocolately cake which sent my tastebuds into a pleasure frenzy. It went so well with the chocolate ice-cream.

Italian Gelato Ice-Cream

I would say that this is the only disappointment at Barracuda; It didn't taste like Italian Gelato Ice-Cream at all, it was so ordinary. Frankly speaking, I would have preferred Haagan Daaz or Ben & Jerry's anytime. All of us didn't like this and wouldn't order this again.

Barracuda Restaurant
23 a, The Parade
Bucklands Beach
Phone: (09) 5344943

Closed on mondays

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Elephant

Dear readers, we're back with a blast! Not to worry, we'll keep you entertained with awesome food all the way!

Welcome to The Elephant, an authentic thai restaurant with yummy food. This place has been around for many years and is quite popular with the people living in the Howick Area.

The Elephant is a warm and inviting place to step into for dinner after a long and cold winter's day. The staff there politely greets you with a Sawadee Kah, something that is always nice to hear. I like the cosy candle environment.

Love the teapot, it's so cute

And dinner begins!

We had Gang Dang (yes - dang, not bang) and we chose Roasted Duck ($22.50) as our meat. You can also have Chicken/Lamb ($19.90), Mixed Seafood ($23.90) or Scallops ($26.90).

Gang Dang is a red curry and we ordered it thai spicy, because if you order just 'spicy' in asian restaurants in NZ, it usually turns out sweet and not spicy at all. T says that most caucasians like their curries sweet and not too spicy. So thai spicy was the hottest! :)

They gave quite a lot of duck meat and the curry was full of flavour. It was served with bamboo shoots and green beans as well.

Pha Goong ($24.50) is a salad of spicy grilled prawns mixed with herbs and some veggies with a dressing. My mother loved this and although it was too spicy for me, I enjoyed the prawns they served.

Pla Mar Naow ($26.90) - this is a steamed whole snapper. My parents prefer ordering the whole fish because we can eat different parts of the body and not just the fillet. Fish ordered as a whole is generally more crispy as well and The Elephant served this fish with a somewhat spicy and flavoursome sauce, which went well with the crispy fish. The shallot and coriander also complemented the fish and it was fragrant.

Of course, we also had the usual crowd-pleaser, Pad Thai ($19.50). This is basically stir fried noodles with prawns, chicken, egg mixed with other stuff. Crushed peanuts, chilli, beansprouts and spring onions are always served by the side of the plate and most people mix it with the noodles. Squeezing lemon over the noodles also gives it extra flavour.

The Pad Thai here is not bad although the noodles could be a little more chewy and there should be a bigger portion for the price.

Tom Yum Gai ($9.50)

This is one of my mother's favourite dishes to order at a thai restaurant but the Tom Yum Gai here was a little diluted and the flavours were not that strong, which was a disappointment. Tom Yum Gai is a sour-ish soup served with chicken, thai herbs and the stronger flavours are lemongrass and coriander.

For dessert, we decided to try Banana Fritter ($6.50)

This was a huge disappointment because when we were almost finished eating, my mum ordered the desserts but specifically told the waiter that we only wanted the chef to fry the fritters after we had finished eating and not before. However after we finished eating, our desserts were immediately served - indicating that they were already fried earlier and they were not hot. They were lukewarm going cold. Terribly disappointing. Well, at least we know better next time.

The Elephant
No 1 Moore Street, Howick
Phone: (09) 5340588

Fully licensed & BYO

Opening hours:
Lunch - Tues to Sun 12pm to 2.30pm
Dinner- Everyday 5.30pm to 10.30pm