Auckland’s gastronomic scene is a ‘Running-of-the-Bulls’ melee of the latest über-cool opening, an elbow-jostling juggle to stay on trend and in flavour with New Zealand’s discerning palates.
Black Label’s Founder, Tania Stoyanof is well versed with Auckland’s hippest and happening bars and restaurants so she was especially excited to hear she had secured a seat for ‘Pith by Mini’, hosted by Jonah Reider on Saturday 5 November.
‘Pith by Mini’ with Jonah Reider: The Coolest Dinner Reservation in Town
‘Pith by Mini’ was a pop-up dining experience for just six guests; if you like cosy and characterful this was the place to be with the intimate event hosted in a small apartment in New Lynn.
At just 22-years old, chef Jonah Reider has stamped his mark on global media from novel origins. Reider was studying sociology and economics at Columbia University when he decided to set up a restaurant in his dorm at Hogan Hall. The dorm dining experience was christened as ‘Pith‘ with four guests only per sitting; after notoriety snowballed on booking app Yelp about the wallet-pleasing price of $15 and superb food Reider quickly had a waiting list of 4000 diners.
The New York Post considered a reservation at Reider’s table ‘the hottest table in town’, Wall Street Journal calls it ‘a coveted reservation’ and he appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert where he chatted about his vision of art, music and food intersecting. The YouTube video of Reider’s appearance on The Late Show has already received 125K views.
He has popped up everywhere since from tiny art galleries in New York to the Lost Property Bar in the heart of Hollywood.
Reider visited Auckland as part of his ‘Pith, Down Under’ tour, a collaboration with KitchenAid to celebrate its new Artisan Mini Mixer and Tania was privileged to be there for ‘Pith by Mini’.
A Pop-Up Degustation with Jonah Reider
‘Pith by Mini”s Auckland event kicked off with a pomelo stone pine gin garnished with lemon myrtle meringue, a refreshing twist before a much anticipated meal.
This was followed by homemade rye bread with churned butter dipped in seaweed and a delectable plum jam scented with strawberry gum leaf. Already, the combination of flavours was out-of-the-ordinary; seaweed with strawberry gum – definitely not mainstream dining here!
As a huge seafood fan, Tania was eager to see what was next and was not disappointed by oysters drizzled with pomegranate and mulberry-infused apple cider vinegar – it was clear that Reider has culinary talent and thrives on engagement with food.
Reider served up handmade ravioli stuffed with wild mushrooms and macadamia nuts and doused in a deep roasted leek broth, followed by a main course of lamb chops with parsnip puree and micro radish that embraced a decidedly Kiwi touch to the evening with a mulberry, pepper and manuka honey relish.
To end, the diners were treated to a delicious cake with caramelised strawberries and bergamot and of course, the customary dollop of cream on the side.
The atmosphere at the table was relaxed and never pretentious; this wasn’t a dip into the latest dining craze but a thoroughly enjoyable meal with strangers without stuffy waiters or high-brow attitude.
Thank you ‘Pith by Mini’!
Pith does Puhoi & Ponsonby – A Black Label quintessentially Kiwi experience
The following day, Black Label’s Founder Tania Stoyanof ventured with Reider and another of the lunch guests on a mini trip of discovery.
They travelled an hour north of Auckland stopping for the prerequisite road trip meat pie before visiting Scotts Landing at Snells Beach on the stunning Mahurangi Peninsula – a snapshot of quintessentially Kiwi life at a bach (Kiwi holiday home) right on the water’s edge.
Afterwards, they headed to popular Matakana village best known for its fabulous farmers market and proximity to wineries.
In Matakana, they bought OBV Rosé, Lothlorien Feijoa Sparkling Wine, a selection of Over the Moon NZ cheeses, artisan bread, locally smoked salmon & locally produced proscuitto.
After a quick stop into the green shed at Matakana Oyster Company to grab 2 dozen freshly shucked oysters they headed to local surf beach Tawharanui for a low-key Kiwi beach picnic.
The sun was shining, there were gorgeous nibbles and a bit of surf. Perfect!
On the way home they stopped at the historical Puhoi Pub for fish & chips, mussel fritters and a jug of beer. Simple pleasures and a great finish to a day out.
Last week, Reider also stopped in for lunch at Saan in Ponsonby.
Reider says of his visit to New Zealand and day out with Black Label’s Founder Tania Stoyanof, ‘I’m looking forward to the opportunity to work together and create a magical meal in an amazing place! Can’t wait…’
Reider clearly enjoys the fusion of music, art and multi-sensory gastronomic experiences and we hope to see him back on Kiwi shores again.
Words: Rebecca Whitlocke from original review by Tania Stoyanof
Images: All images Tania Stoyanof, except rye bread photo Justine Harvey from Urbis Magazine