Azabu at the Auckland Fish Market
We came here because:
we were curious to check out the revamped Auckland Fish Market. There are a variety of food outlets offering everything from fresh seafood/fish to pizza to grilled meats, but I wanted to try the new Azabu outlet.
The décor was:
Classic tiled fish market meets trendy food court. The food outlets and fresh fish shop surround the central eating area, which means (as we found out) that if you sit near the shop selling fish, you inhale the fragrance of raw fish throughout your meal. Better to sit in the main seating area or at a wooden table in the outdoor courtyard. Both areas were packed when we visited one Friday lunchtime.
The food was:
Not the same as at Azabu Ponsonby. The Fish Market menu highlights seafood/fish and popular Asian dishes. We ordered the lemongrass chicken with noodles ($15), prawn dumplings ($12/4) and slow-braised pork belly bao ($11) to share between two of us.
The restaurant staff recommended the prawn dumplings and these were delicious, if expensive. This dish highlighted the fusion of Japanese/Peruvian food that Azabu is known for. The dumplings were a generous size and filled with perfectly cooked chopped prawn. There were a few thinly sliced kumara chips on top and the Peruvian “aji verde” sauce underneath the dumplings. This sauce is a staple in Peruvian cooking and in Peru is usually made with a touch of aji amarillo paste along with some chilies, cilantro, garlic, mayonnaise and oil and vinegar (or lime juice). There are many variations of the sauce and it is especially used with a traditional chicken dish. The Azabu version really packs a punch and it seemed that the main ingredient was garlic!
The slow-braised pork belly bao was a challenge to share but totally worth it. This was definitely my favourite dish of the three that we sampled. What is not to love about meltingly tender pork belly complemented by lightly pickled cucumber, fresh coriander and almonds, all wrapped up in a soft bao bun?
The lemongrass chicken with noodles was a disappointment. This dish didn’t seem to receive the same attention and creative flare from the kitchen. It was ok but I would not order it again.
the slow-braised pork belly bao. We also loved the variety of food outlets and the shiny tiled fit-out for the retail fish area. This re-development of the Auckland Fish Market was long overdue.
If I could change one thing it would be:
that the retail fish shops are totally enclosed so that the smell of all the raw fish does not waft over the seating. I would also like to see more of the Japanese/ Peruvian fusion and flare on the Azabu menu. I suspect that the sushi and sashimi are the dishes to order at this Azabu location.
The Fish Market is a casual fresh seafood destination for a quick bite.