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Simon started Eat Here Now with Natalie Smith in 2010 after returning from London, where he worked for Esquire magazine. Simon started his career at Metro magazine as a feature writer, before leaving to travel through southeast Asia and Europe on an eating tour that stretched over many months and several continents. He freelances for magazines and clients in Auckland and all over the world: you’ll find his column Suburban Man – which mostly covers the joys of being a father and learning how to fix things – in Metro, as well as regular pieces on food, travel and urbanism for KiaOra, Cuisine and HOME New Zealand; he’s also the Auckland Correspondent for Monocle magazine. His first book, Food Heroes, profiled artisan producers and was published by Penguin in 2012; he has also written several books for other people, including the best-selling Whittaker’s Passion for Chocolate and Amisfield. He often works for agency and commercial clients, creating editorial-style content with integrity and guts. When he has time, he writes occasional features on topics as varied as the politics of waste and moving to far-flung suburbs.

Rainy Thursday night dinner  It’s hard to go past an omelette, isn’t it? Especially when it’s filled with mushrooms.
Coffee Beach Haven has one cafe and it’s awful, so I have a weekly single-origin subscription from Coffee Supreme. If I’m in the city I love Coffee Supreme Seafarers and Orphans Kitchen.
My local restaurant
 For a special night, The Engine Room – brilliant food, great service, now an Auckland classic. For a cheap night, we go to local Malaysian Chef Rasa Sayang up the road in Birkenhead. 
Food bible 
Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child.
Auckland secret
 The Shanghainese breakfast dumplings from Little Fatty (AKA Tasty Takeaways) on New North Road in Mt Albert: they’re half fried, half steamed and they have boiling stock inside.


NATALIE SMITH – Writer at Large

Natalie started writing for the online magazine Runway Reporter when she was still studying towards a post-graduate diploma of journalism at AUT. From there, she got her first taste reviewing at Metro before moving to Sydney, where she worked for Russh and did a stint at an advertising agency. She has written for the likes of MetroCanvas, US Nylon, Kia Ora, the Sunday Star-Times, and blogs at Magic Surrounds. In October 2012, she relocated to London, becoming EHN’s Writer at Large as well as holding down a job as a digital strategist at R/GA. We miss her and hope London doesn’t keep her long. You can email Natalie on ns (a)

Rainy Thursday night dinner: Tiny, friendly, cosy – Railroad is what you want. The set menu is £19.50 for three courses: last time I visited we had a simple fatoush with radish; slow-cooked lamb with tahini and roast cauliflower; and a dense, moist chocolate tart.
Coffee: The best coffee (in my opinion) is to be found in East London is at HUH, a boutique which sells takeout flat whites alongside a small selection of very good magazines (Port, The Gentlewoman), art books, striped T-shirts and Happy Socks. They also have a wonderful online magazine of their own.
My local restaurant: I’m two minutes from Exmouth Market and ten minutes from Islington’s Upper Street. How could one choose between Moro and Ottolenghi? I give both my equal attention (when I’m feeling flush).
Food bible: Time Out is overwhelming. These guys do a pretty good job of er, editing the chaos into something manageable.
London secret: It’s not very secret, but the £5 Borough Wine fill-your-own wines are a godsend. Also, to save yourself running around the city finding various obscure ingredients, this website has some wonderful things.


DAVID STRAIGHT – Photographer

We once called David a geekish urbanist: he makes his living photographing the built environment, from architecture and interiors to everyday landscape, and he has a particular fondness for concrete. He started at Massey University school of Fine Arts in Wellington and has lived in New York – where he interned at Magnum Photos – and London where he worked assisting photographers associated with the film industry. David is obsessed with the photographic image and the way we use images today – from appropriated images on the internet to details of the post earthquake Christchurch topography. These often end up as self-published books and even sometimes end up as part of International photography festivals. David’s new book Vernacular (with Philip Smith) on the everyday landscape of New Zealand is out spring 2015.

Rainy Thursday dinner: Shakshuka. It’s simple but employs some of my favourite ingredients, plus you can just put it on the table and eat it up with vast amounts of good bread and good butter. If not Shakshuka then anything with Tahini. You can never have enough Tahini.
Coffee: The best in the West is at Humbug made by one of Auckland’s most experienced baristas. Always good.
Local Restaurant: It used to be Cazador (the upside of living at the nowhere end of Dominion Road). It’s a brilliant place, especially in summer in the courtyard. But now it’s the Refreshment Room. Spectacular location, great food, lovely people.
Food Bible: Jerusalem by Ottolenghi moving up to Food of Life by Najmieh Batmanglij.
Auckland Secret The WISE Collective works with refugee women, helping them with skills needed for settlement in New Zealand – and part of that is amazing food. They have a stall at the New Lynn night market, where I love the wonderful Ethiopian and Afghani food.



When she’s not working as a waitress – we’ve promised not to say where – Kate is EHN’s new reviewer. After majoring in theatre at the University of Otago, Kate took off travelling, returning to study hospitality at Queenstown Resort College before making the sensible move north. She has a sharp eye and a quick wit and she knows restaurants from the inside out and EHN is very grateful to have her.

Rainy Thursday night dinner I don’t get to indulge in many Thursday night dinners because of my working hours. That being said, I love to cook – chicken pie, in my view, is what a rainy day is all about.
Coffee I’m a big filter coffee fan when I’m out and about, and use Eight Thirty or Supreme for my percolator.
My local restaurant Orphans Kitchen: so cool, so casual, with some of the most exciting food in Auckland.
Food bible There are so many bloggers doing amazing things: current favourites are and
Auckland secret The dumpling lady at Lim Supermarket, Mt Albert, will sell you 60 of her handmade frozen dumplings for $12. They’re delicious and such a steal.