ADDRESS: 25b Cross St, Newton, Auckland
CONTACT: 021 127 9377
Check website for opening hours
MAINS: $18 – $28

SCORE: 17/20

This subterranean spot has been notched up a few steps since we last came calling. In our 2021 awards we pinged it as One to Watch. Now we’ve given it a hat – and we doff ours to the efforts of chef Carlo Buenaventura. He and colleagues Matt Venables and Craig Thompson bring considerable street cred to this blink-and-you’ll-miss-it venue. Carlo cut his teeth on a high-end variety of local restaurants and pop-ups and his Filipino upbringing is reflected in some of the flavours and techniques evident on the menu – he is a great proponent of the charcoal grill. And then there are ingredients that have more of a local influence, allowing the creative freedom that gives so much expression to the food. An impressive drinks list warrants comprehensive consideration. Decisions, decisions: if it’s all too hard, there’s a Magda feast that caters to groups. We know everyone will be happy.

IN BRIEF: A subterranean secret worth shouting about


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