Aigo Noodle Bar Ponsonby
Prolific Auckland restaurateur David Lee (Gochu, The Candyshop, Pōni) has always loved noodles.
He pays homage to this fact with his charming Ponsonby Road noodle bar that deals in Korean flavours with a European and South American bent. Think chewy rice cake noodles (tteokbokki) in a cacio e pepe and truffle sauce and seared Wagyu with a kimchi chimichurri.
Lee designed the interiors of the 60-seat restaurant himself, inspired by unpretentious and slightly shabby bistros he visited during a trip to Paris in October 2022. Open for lunch and dinner, the plaster-walled space is punctuated with shades of deep forest green and terracotta tiles. Varying lampshades cast a warm glow over the front and back rooms, and exposed brick in places adds to the textural effect.
Hand-pulled noodles are the menu's star – you can eat them with Cloudy Bay clams in a seaweed mussel broth or with pork, wood ear mushrooms, chilli and spring onion oil – but Lee also threw in some nostalgic Korean street food to further introduce the cuisine to mainstream Kiwi diners.
This includes soondae, a type of blood sausage which is served here with spicy ssamjang sauce and caviar. There’s also galbi jjim, braised short ribs that are eaten on special occasions such as Korean Thanksgiving, and mandu – Korean dumplings.
As he has done with many of his other venues, Lee worked with Dan Gillett of natural and organic wine distributor Wine Diamonds to create a wine list that would complement Aigo’s flavours. There’s also a cocktail list that includes a Somaek, which is a beer-soju bomb, an Earl Grey Highball and an Aigo Negroni.
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