Cameron Leakey breaks down the best deals for American Express Restaurant Month so that you too can dine out fancy on the cheap this month before the Studylink money runs dry.
August every year marks the annual iteration of American Express Restaurant Month in Auckland. Besides some pretty suave events which are usually pretty pricey, it also means that restaurants put on a whole lot of special menus and deals which are great for dining out. I highly recommend that you treat your boyfriend/girlfriend/friend-with-benefits/life partner/whoever-you-want-we-don’t-judge to a date night this August so that it doesn’t cost you a fucking fortune. Without further ado, here are my picks:
Note: All menus are set menus so Craccum picks are purely from these options.
Situated on Princes Wharf between the Hilton and the Maritime Museum. Culpeper’s BBQ style is widely raved about and with a $25 lunch or dinner deal, you’re in for a treat. It’s a nice place to go if you’re feeling like a classy but also casual dinner.
Craccum Picks:Lamb Merguez corn dog and the rotisserie jerk spice chicken.
A low key American style eatery, Low Brow is opening its second location in St Kevin’s Arcade this month. Super chic and very cool, Low Brow is a great place to take your date before a movie or show in town.
Craccum Picks:The $25 set menu involves no options so we’re keen on what they’re laying down: Big Nugg Sando chicken Burger and a sundae. Yoza.
XuXu Dumpling Bar:
XuXu is open not only for dinner but also lunch, situated on Commerce St, XuXu is the best place to take your dumpling game a step up from Barilla. The $25 menu includes two baskets of dumplings and also includes a glass of wine (or a soda if you’re doing a sober drive) and with the option of either white or red on the set menu, you can act like you know what you’re talking about without having to make any big wine choices (or to search for the cheapest on the menu)
Craccum Picks: Prawn and Ginger har gao and the tofu, shiitake and chinese chive dumplings. A bit more adventurous than pork and cabbage. Wine-wise Pinot Gris is a white wine that’s sweet and easy to drink. Go forth.
Gusto at the Grand:
Gusto at the Grand is grand. Located as part of the skycity complex – it’s a great place to have a delicious carb loaded dinner for only $25.
Craccum Picks:Again we don’t have options because it’s a completely set menu. The bruschetta sounds good and a pappardelle ragù sounds fucking bomb. The drink match isn’t familiar but a quick google search reveals it’s a red wine, it’s included so just run with it, maybe you’ll like it or maybe you’ll tolerate it.
Ostro is flash, like really flash. So the fact that they’re doing a $40 lunch menu is pretty solid. If you’ve got a special occasion like a birthday or anniversary than definitely do this, it will 100% get you laid. Ostro sits in Britomart with this pretty phenomenal view out to the harbour. It’s beautiful.
Craccum Picks: Pork Croquettes sound yuuuuummm. Also the beef pappardelle. I know the last review was pasta and so I am probably stuck on that but seriously delicious.
Culprit is delicious. Located off Queen St on Wyndham St. Culprit is up a flight of stairs in the loft of an old style building. It’s uber cool. Usually, they do a yum-cha style of service with a trolley bringing around food selections. For restaurant month however, they forgo the trolley for a set menu. Whilst I prefer the set menu I rate Culprit so much that I’ve included them (please send me a gift voucher, Culprit, I’m a fan!).
Craccum Picks: $40 for a starter, entrée, main and dessert. The entrée is called a ‘TV Dinner’ and contains four bite sized dishes followed by your main = we recommend the monkfish, the other option is a ‘pressed roast pig face’ – I’m not sure I can endorse it without trying it first. The dessert is a peanut slab mousse and is delicious.
The Grill by Sean Connolly
The Grill is delicious and a great place to get a delicious steak. The $55 set menu is pricey, though reasonable for how much The Grill normally costs. Craccum recommends you invite your parents out for dinner and then let them foot the bill, it’s the right thing to do.
Craccum Picks: The savannah eye fillet steak. Delicious. Don’t get the non-steak option. You didn’t come to The Grill for risotto don’t be ridiculous.