The Merchant (Albany, North Shore City, New Zealand)
We rarely passed by this part of Albany Mall because even before we reach the place, we already passed by the food court basically blocking us from moving further as the food court already satisfies our need, this time around it was different we parked at the back of the mall and started to notice these restaurants outside, this is when we visited The Merchant.
There are at least around 8 eateries here, did not count them but it’s just a wild guess based on my recollection and The Merchant was one of the biggest and the most noticeable from where we parked. Having said that it was the first option for us where to dine in, eliminating the complexity of pointing out where to eat, what we saw first was the one where we will dine. It is located at the rear of the mall, in a quiet nice place overlooking the small pond park.
We dined in here on a weekday dinner so it was not quite busy, a very cosy place where dining area occupies half of the premises and the other half is an open space which is meant for Friday drinks and some small band stand. We got seated on the centre as most parts by the window were already reserved, which means in several minutes the place will get busy which was indeed the case, luckily, we came in early so we had beaten the dinner time rush.
As we were already hungry it did not take us time to order and here is what we got.
Starting from House Cut Parmesan Chips (NZ$5.50) which is basically a French Fries loaded with powdered parmesan, it was great and tasty, chips were spot on. Can honestly say it was one of the best chips I had in New Zealand, crisp on the outside and fluffy on the inside. If you haven’t tried chips in New Zealand you should, it is the best ones you can get in this planet, the potatoes are such a good quality and Kiwi’s already perfected the way it is prepared , this one was not an exception, it was even better with that parmesan cheese.
Then we had some Buffalo Broccoli Bites, (NZ$16.50) basically broccoli florets lightly battered with coriander deep fried then served house-made ranch dressing, it was surprisingly good, very tasty, even kids would not notice they are eating broccoli.
Then our salad of choice was the Caesar Salad (NZ$22.90, additional NZ$7.00 for chicken) which is a loaded huge serve of baby cos, flash fried anchovies, slow poached egg, bacon, croutons, shaved Manchego in anchovy parmesan dressing topped with free range chicken. This was a meal on its own, very filling, very satisfying.
For mains we had this 1/2 kilo slow cooked pork ribs (NZ$26.90) served with Memphis Barbecue Sauce, it was fall of the bone savoury sweet goodness with a small spice kick, it was flavourful to the bones. Perfect with the Margherita Pizza (NZ$29.90) prepared with Campari vine tomatoes, bocconcini, basil and olive oil.
Of course, those two won’t be complete with a beer and my beer of choice was this Erdinger Weissbier, a light German White Beer that is very refreshing and easy to drink.
The mains then started to arrive and at this point we were already stuffed as the serving portions here are huge, good value for money. Staring with Crispy Skin Pork Belly (NZ$23.90) which was served with apple, mint and jus, it was a spot-on meat dish, skin was uber crispy and the jus gave it so much flavour, I like the touch of apple, if you notice that picture there is a whole small apple on top, it was sweet and crispy adding a different layer of texture and flavour.
Then finally the Merchant Burger (NZ$23.90), named after the place, it must be their specialty. Made with Awhi Farms Angus beef patty, caramelised peppers + onions, lettuce, cheddar then served with a good serving of bourbon chipotle, aioli, fries. It was a massive burger, the buns are soft and was served with good sized patty, it was juicy and beefy.
It was such a dinner, food was excellent, everything was spot on and I cannot emphasize more the serving sizes, we had a fun time and I highly recommend this place especially when you want a good hefty meal. It might be pricey for some but trust me it worth it and it is a good value for money, especially when one serving can fill up two people.
The Merchant Bar & Kitchen
Address: 219 Don McKinnon Dr, Albany, Auckland 0632, New Zealand
Phone: +649 444 1076