The not-so-common Commons

Rejoice North Shore foodies!

Love love love the latest additions to the Takapuna dining scene. Hurtsmere Rd has always been popular for great lineup of cafes along the beach. But when you're talking food, I almost have to drag friends from across the bridge to settle for a meal here. Sure there's Long Bay Restaurant but there's times when you want a bit more shebang and less candle-lit dinners with friends.

The Commons, right next to the ever so popular Mexico, is the newest addition to the Takapuna scene. Up for a morning coffee, casual lunch, special dinner date, or after dinner drinks, from the decor I can already see it becoming my regular checkin.

Risking the chance of wanting to snooze on the sunny beach after a nice lunch, we hit The Commons to find out about the new buzz.

 As printed at the top of our menus, their food philosophy is simple:  To play with different flavours, textures, techniques and styles, reinterpreting them in unexpected ways and challenging you the diner to think about what you’re eating. Having enjoyed my degustation at Meredith's, and being a person who has always opted for the innovative and unpredictable I knew this would be a treat.

The menu already makes you wonder – listing Tails, Land and Sea under the entrees, you'll have to flip to the back for a glossary. It turns out Land and Sea had a description of “confit chicken wings, konbu, sweetcorn puree, scallops, tete de pork”.

Ox Cheeks & Scotch – Wakanui beef cheeks & scotch, smoked potato, onion & shallots,
truffle

Don't let the light fool you, the fillet was cooked to perfection with lots of juice. This was the first time I had ox cheek and it reminded me of an Asian style pork stew; except with a much softer texture. This is really more of a dinner dish for me (though I wish I could have it for lunch everyday).

Vanilla Salmon – mint, thyme, chili, raw kingfish, salmon, lemon snow, pickled cucumber,
coconut sorbet, vanilla

It's a shame you can't see the detail inside the bowl. Mixing something light and appetising like kingfish sashimi with mint, thyme and chili, it's the coconut and vanilla that wins it for me. It's such a beautifully scented dish that balances the sour with beautiful aromas.

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Chickpea fries

To balance out that perfectly light and healthy salmon, I couldn't resist ordering something carb-filled and delicious. Fries in all forms from curly to beer battered and man fries is the norm but this is the first time chickpea fries has appeared on my menu. Much creamier, delicate, and chunkier – just the way all fries should be. I do wonder if other restaurants will catch on to this trend.  As to whether it's more healthy? I really can't vouch that it would be…

A slice of town in Takapuna with a gorgeous beach as a backdrop. It's food with a twist at The Commons. Their degustation for dinner is another thing I'm tempted to try. Pick the ingredients you want (or don't want!), and Chef Nick Honeyman will deliver an unique menu just for you. With all this new personalisation that's been happening, it's just what we need for a fun night out. In true Shore spirit, you won't get all that pretentiousness but great service with a smile. Though with all that being said, I do wonder if the Commons would be the one leading Takapuna into something new and fancy in the dining world – and if they were, would there be enough people to sustain it?

If you haven't been back to this side of the bridge in a while – be prepared to enjoy something unique and special. With summer on the way, a walk on the beach is essential to digest that amazing goodness. Having gone to school in Takapuna, my image of this suburb has always been one of congested students bombarding the local Burger King. To find this type of cuisine is a turning point and really allows Takapuna show some of it's flair again.

The Commons

21 Hurstmere Road

Auckland

(09) 929 2791

info@thecommons.co.nz

We'd like to say a thank you to all the loyal Omnomers who have been following us! The next few weeks will be an exciting few – with Taste of Auckland coming again, we'll be doing a few interviews and features on our amazing Kiwi chefs like Al Brown, Nick Honeyman, and Des Harris. Comment or post on Facebook for any questions you would like to ask!

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