Plant-based restaurant Forest moves to Dominion Road
Plabita Florence opened her restaurant Forest on Symonds Street three-and-a-half years ago with a focus on making creative dishes with a low-waste, vegetarian ethos. She’s now ushered in a new chapter with a move to Mount Eden. Forest opened its doors at 243 Dominion Road yesterday, and Florence says the move was prompted by a few factors including the need for more space (there are now 30 seats instead of the 16 at Symonds Street) and a larger kitchen. “We're also happy to be in a more relaxed neighbourhood, with potential for an outdoor area where we plan to plant a circular compost garden system, which will transform our food waste into useable soil,” Florence tells Broadsheet. “We certainly couldn't have done that in our car park in Midtown!” The structure has also evolved, with the set menu changing to à la carte (featuring Forest’s most well-received dishes) and a morning menu of treats and sandwiches, along with Kokako coffee, run by Ashleigh Payne (ex-The Caker). For more information and bookings, visit

A whisky-lover's dinner at Milenta
On August 2, Victoria Park restaurant Milenta is hosting Glenmorangie Hideaway – a ticketed dinner event to celebrate the release of the 180-year-old whisky maker’s new drop: A Tale of the Forest. It’s Glenmorangie’s first whisky to be made from barley kilned with woodland botanicals, lending a smokiness and woodiness as well as aromas of pine needles and juniper, and tastes of eucalyptus, mint and bitter orange. Book in for a four-course meal centring on Milenta’s South American flavours with whisky pairings and you’ll be served dishes like spiced duck breast with kumara puree and smoked cherry coulis, and braised short rib with queso polenta. Wednesday, August 2. $150 per person. Find more details and tickets here.

A warming winter ramen special to try

Auckland Nikkei restaurant Azabu has two locations, one on Ponsonby Road and one overlooking the beach in Mission Bay. They, along with fellow Savor restaurant Ebisu, are doing a lunchtime ramen special on selected days for the rest of winter: select from three types of ramen and pick two sides for $49 per person. Order shio tare ramen with char siu pork and a soy-marinated egg in chicken and pork broth; spicy miso goma with a sesame-infused pork broth; or spicy miso tantanmen with chicken mince and all the trimmings in a miso-infused pork broth. Sides include salmon or tuna sashimi, karaage chicken and vegetable tempura – and you can also order just the ramen for $25 per bowl.

A Pasifika food and culture extravaganza for Elemental Auckland
Auckland’s Elemental festival is underway until August 6 and, among the events, Takurua Ti'iti'i Sacred Knowledge manages to encompass all three of the food, art and music pillars. Taking place in six performances between August 4 and August 6, it’s billed as “an immersive cultural experience delivering Pasifika excellence through theatre, dance, storytelling, and fine dining”. Attendees will be treated to a five-course banquet menu created by Kingi head chef Wallace Mua-Frost and artistic director (and Mudbrick executive chef) Tausani Simei-Papali’i. Between them, they’ve created a unique theatrical experience weaving indigenous cuisine with the re-telling of the ancient stories from Māori and Pasifika cultures. Book tickets here.

A world record-breaking New Zealand honey
It's big news for Big Honey this week as Napier-based business The True Honey Co has achieved the highest mānuka grade ever recorded. The Rare Harvest 2050 MGO (34 UMF), was independently verified for its potency by the UMF Honey Association, which confirmed it’s the highest of its kind in world history. UMF stands for Unique Mānuka Factor and is a measurement used to denote the quality and purity of mānuka honey. It’s a globally in-demand substance, and in order to create its world record honey, The True Honey Co founder Jim McMillan and his team partner with landowners who have large stands of pristine mānuka on their properties. Most are incredibly remote, so helicopters drop the hives into their locations, where they stay for the duration of the mānuka flowering season before being lifted out. A jar of this honey will set you back $2500, but it does come with a special drizzler and hand-crafted box. Sweet indeed.

Cher’s Aotearoa gelato collaboration
We love an unexpected partnership and while Cher launching her own gelato company with Auckland-based store Giapo wasn’t on our bingo card for this year, it seems so right. Cherlato is a mobile gelato truck that will be making its colourful way around Los Angeles from today, selling Giapo’s frozen creations made from seasonal, local US ingredients with suitably eye-catching toppings and whimsical names such as Snap Out of It! (kefir and cardamom) and Breakfast at Cher’s (coffee and doughnuts). The collaboration came about after Cher (apparently a big ice-cream and gelato fan) discovered Queen Street-based Giapo during her 2018 tour in New Zealand and loved it so much they started discussing a partnership. Giapo was created 15 years ago by Giapo Grazioli and his wife Annarosa Petrucci Grazioli, and is renowned for its artful, inventive gelato flavours using organic and local ingredients. While the Cherlato truck is just in LA for now, we’re pushing for a New Zealand reboot come summertime – and if the Believe singer could be behind the wheel? Even better.