Metro NZ

Dead restaurants

A decade is a really long time in hospitality: cities change, their people change and the food scene changes. Back in 2010, Karangahape Rd had Coco’s Cantina — then a year old — and Satya, and not a lot else. Ponsonby Rd was the place to be, and there was almost nowhere to eat in the CBD. Ten years later, we consider the glorious failures, grand experiments and much-lamented closures that helped bring Auckland’s eating scene alive.


Mandarin was a very beautiful restaurant — designed by Cheshire Architects — in a basement on Fort Lane: you’ll know it now as Sid and Chand Sahrawat’s Cassia. Back then, it was darker, moodier, with incredibly low lighting and a menu of dumplings and Yunnan, Hunan, Sichuan and Xinjiang food — a self-described “exploration of China’s culinary heartland” — and a very good wine list. It was meant to take Chinese food from cheap

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