Creative vegetarian/vegan dining in a pretty-as-a-picture setting.


Sometimes it can feel like every menu in town is similar and that nothing entices you enough to force open your wallet. Forest provides the perfect alternative: a menu of plant-based favourites from years of experimentation combined with seasonal specialities and wholesome ingredients that spur the imagination, all served up in a dining room that’s intimate, charming and pretence-free.


On offer is a series of sophisticated, beautifully compiled vegetarian dishes: the descriptions are playful but the intent and delivery are serious and artful. We started with a bowl of crumbed olives that married seamlessly with our Marceline méthode traditionelle. We supplemented this with a richly flavoured eggplant dip and then followed up with Forest’s now famous witloof tacos which are delicate and delicious with a quirky bite of spice. A highlight was the deceptively simple, seasonal asparagus, pan-fried and dressed with a sublime sticky radish vinegar. The mint garnish however, like icing on a cake, led to the brightest smile of the meal. The most creative dish was the soft purple kūmara which chef Plabita Florence drizzled with a Marmite cream and then blanketed with a duvet of perfectly prepared peas. This is delicious food that speaks directly to diners of any persuasion and demonstrates what a creative and skilful mindset can bring to a vegetarian table.


Chef/owner Plabita Florence came to Auckland foodies’ attention back in 2018 when she offered up a series of Forest-themed pop-ups. Next came an intimate dining room on Symonds Street where the 3-course vegetarian set menu changed weekly and getting a booking was near impossible. Today’s iteration of Forest feels like Plabita’s culinary coming of age. She and the team seem settled, with a strong yet relaxed sense of direction and a desire to satisfy and excite without compromising her commitment to making vegetables and grains meal mainstays. This is the food of passion and of heart from a chef who is entirely self-taught, a chef who is guided by instinct and her love of all things natural.


It’s a tight team at Forest. Plabita is the anchor in the kitchen assisted by chef Ashleigh Payne while Aoi Sato takes on the barista role.


Check out the family-created crayon drawings on the walls.

ADDRESS: 243 Dominion Rd, Mt Eden, Auckland
Check website for opening hours
MAINS: $23 – $32
CONTACT: 021 0901 3352