Skip to content


MM Fridge





Photographs: David Straight

Morven Mcauley is the irrepressible sales and marketing manager for Antipodes Water: she used to work for Negociants NZ. She knows about food and booze and she is funny and enthusiastic and she once shouted us the most enormous platter of sashimi at Cocoro, for which we are eternally grateful. She also sells some very, very nice water.

Antipodes water “It goes without saying.”

Almonds. “They’re my saving grace when I get home and it’s late and I’m hungry. The almonds are what I eat while I try to work out what to cook.” Morven keeps them in the fridge to preserve all their natural oils.

She has a weakness for proper Greek haloumi. “Whenever there is haloumi on the menu I don’t see the rest of the menu. A couple of pieces of haloumi and some tomatoes and a dinner you have.”

It’s either Ceres or Pics peanut butter – it used to be Eta (crunchy, naturally). “Then I read some fairly hairy ingredients – I’m just trying to reduce preservatives. The more natural ingredients the better.”

Gonzalez Byass Sherry Vinegar. “It’s absolutely divine.” There’s also usually a bottle of Tio Pepe sherry “for consumption and cooking.” Morven recommends frying prawns with butter and garlic, and then adding sherry and – what else – haloumi.

The day we visited, there was a bottle of Huia Pinot Gris in the fridge. “They’re organic and they don’t do too much mucking around,” she says of Huia. “Their whole range is in a dry, old-world style. If you want wine with food, then it’s perfect.”

Morven eats quinoa three or four times a week instead of rice or pasta. “Pasta is for dining out when I can get it made by someone who really knows what they’re doing.”













Photographs: David Straight

We had such a good night on Friday night. EHN readers managed to scoff their way through a full 40 dozen oysters – impressive stuff, and some of you even shucked your own, without injury as far as we can tell.

 Thank you to our friends Mahurangi Oysters, Catalina Sounds for the wine, Sabato for the exquisite vinegars – and Michael Lett, of course, for having us. See you at the next event!


FNO final

And so it is that we come to the end of the oyster season – just another few weeks of glorious bivalves and then you’ll have to wait until autumn.

To celebrate – or commiserate, we’re not sure which – we’re throwing an oyster party on Friday November 7 from 6.30pm at Michael Lett’s newish gallery just off Karangahape Road, along with our good friends from Mahurangi Oysters, Catalina Sounds and Sabato. There will be a mountain of oysters and plenty of Marlborough sauvignon blanc.

Tickets are $36.50 and are available via this very handy PayPal link. We’d love to see you there!






Photographs: David Straight

Farina is the second restaurant of Toto’s owner Sergio Maglione: his food is devastatingly simple and yet full of flavour. (Ironically, we started EHN because of a date involving live opera at Toto, though we’ve long since forgiven them.) Farina is simple: very white with slightly industrial touches, and some unsettling green lights under the bar. We like to sit at the high marble-topped tables down the side of the restaurant and share a few plates.

The place is a homage to Maglione’s home town of Naples – so there’s pizza, pasta and lots of seafood. There’s a big chunk of “streetfood”, of which we can happily recommend the Polipo ($16), beautifully tender pieces of octopus with olive oil, garlic and chilli ­– classic, plain, simple. We love it. We recently ate a simple bresaola salad ($18) and the selection of Italian cured meats ($10 to $20) wasn’t just perfectly executed, it was also ridiculously good value. The pastas are handmade, generous – designed for sharing, rather than a big bowl for one; there is a daily ragu special ($18) and a brilliant octopus tagliatelle ($22). But it’s the spiedini ($36) we love: foot-long skewers of chargrilled meat, slathered with salsa verde – perfect medium-rare steak and a fabulous pork and fennel sausage.

If I have a complaint, it’s the service – at times, it descends to almost farcical Italian. The staff are all good looking and they all have fabulous accents, but sometimes they’re overbearing and sometimes they ignore you and it can be exceptionally hard to get a second drink. A bit like Naples, really. SFG

HOURS Open seven days, 12pm until late

ADDRESS 244 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby, ph 302-2665.

IMPORTANT DETAILS Toto’s three-metre pizzas are now also made here – delivery or takeaway.




You might have seen the supper club we ran with Amisfield not so long ago – after a couple of years of hard work, Amisfield and SFG have released Amisfield: Food, Wine and Stories from Central Otago, published by Random House. It’s in stores now and it is very beautiful.

It’s a special book, from one of our favourite bistros, taking in the history and the story of one of the country’s most beloved vineyards – hardback, lovely paper stock, beautiful photographs and some really stunning recipes from chef Jay Sherwood. (We’re happy to report that after many hours of testing, the recipes are almost fool proof.)

We’ve ordered a few copies for EHN readers at a very special price of $50 (RRP is $60), so if you’d like one, drop us an email on or order using this very handy link.