Art Wok (North Shore City, New Zealand)
Takapuna is a becoming really vibrant scene in terms of restaurant choices, many years ago options are limited to a few but now there are tons of options, from Thai, Mediterranean, South American, Korean, Filipino and many more. We had our fair share of dining experience here and our latest one was at this Authentic Chinese restaurant that is called Art Wok, this place has been operating for quite some time now but this our first time to visit them, I did try some of their offerings at the Taste of Auckland and this is where I first knew about this place.
Located just beside the Takapuna Wilson Parking, Art Wok is very accessible and hard to miss, you may need to make a booking if you are dining here on a weekend as it tends to get busy. Upon entering you will notice it does not look like your usual Chinese restaurant apart from the large salt water aquarium on the side. You have the option to dine in upstairs which is more relaxed than the ground level which are tighter in space and seating options are on high chairs.
With this place being listed on Auckland Metro Peugeot Top 50 Restaurants of 2016, I have high expectation which it did set and here is what we had on our last visit. Another thing that I notice is that unlike any Chinese restaurants where the dishes of the whole Chinese cuisine is listed on the menu here it’s quite simple. There are only three sections in their menu; Raw, large eats, and small eats, love it like this, easy and less stressful as each section offers very few options.
For starters they gave us some free crispy potato chips, something really different from what is usually served like peanuts. Unlike the usual potato chips which are thin, this is quite thicker and puffed, even with its thickness these chips are very crispy even on the insides.
We did enjoy that with some Shui Jiao 水饺 / 8 Pieces (NZ$ 12.00), a total contrast to the chips, basically its boiled dumplings prepared with pork, prawn, spring onion and ginger.
We also had some Xun Rou Da Bing 熏肉大饼 / 4 Pieces (NZ$ 16.00), a dish of Peking pork, pita pockets, spring onion, sweet bean paste where the diner’s wraps using pita pockets. I am not sure if this is the authentic pita pockets but we were given something like the pancakes you use on the Peking duck dish, otherwise it was good.
For the mains we grabbed with Hongshao Rou 红烧肉 (NZ$ 27.00) a dish of slowly braised pork belly and bok choy. A dish I really love and hence one of the things I usually order when we are dining on Chinese restaurants. While it was good, it was not as soft and tender as the ones I tried on other places.
We also have some Crab fried rice (NZ$ 29.00) a special on the menu, a very tasty rice dish which can be a meal on its own.
Finally, the best of the bunch the Guo Bao Rou (NZ$ 30.00), North Eastern Chinese Style Crispy Pork, carrot, garlic, ginger and coriander. When I ordered this, I was thinking of the usual crispy pork belly roast I was wrong and was glad that was introduced to this type of dish. Its very crispy, addictively sour and savoury perfect for the beer that I did ordered.
The drinks that I got was a beer taster (NZ$ 25.00), odd they have it here but why not. Made with 5 different craft beers 180ml each of Good George, Epic Lager, Mata, 6 foot 5 IPA and Hop Federation. Great selection where it starts from something pale and ends up to a darker lager.
It was a good dinner, great spread and selection, the range of flavours and textures of what we had was amazing.
ARTWOK Eatery & Bar
Address: 152 Hurstmere Rd, Takapuna, Auckland 0622, New Zealand
Phone: +649 930 0999