Discovering a hidden gem.

For Christmas last year, I bought Daniel tickets to see Billie Eilish in Auckland. Since we were travelling up for the concert, we decided to extend our stay to 2 nights and do a little exploring.

We had an amazing flight up. It was so smooth, it almost made me forget that I hate flying and as I was reading through the Kia Ora Magazine I began fantasizing about overseas travel again, thinking maybe I could handle a long haul flight.

It’s our first time flying North in a while, almost 3 years in fact. Our holidays tend to be in the South Island which is far less populated and since we haven’t been doing any international travel, it made Auckland feel quite foreign – the size of the city, the height of the buildings and number of people we saw, everything was on a much bigger scale to what we have grown used to in recent times.

We check into our accommodation, Imagine Beach Road, it was only completed 6 months ago so everything is new and modern. It’s in a great central location too, perfect for our weekend getaway.

It’s already early evening so we decide to head out for a bite to eat before the concert. I had been planning on going to Saigonz, a Vietnamese restaurant, which was just across the road and had some great reviews. Unfortunately it was closed. So we head out for a wander down to Britomart in search of dinner.

We try a Mexican place which is full and notice how many people are out and about in town. Probably all heading to the concert, and probably like us, all looking for some dinner before the show. It never occurred to me to book something in advance. We try another restaurant that is also full, but they suggest we try the one downstairs. We look around, a bit confused, and the waiter points to a glass door with no signage. We head down some stairs into a dark hallway and sure enough, there is a restaurant. We ask the host if they have any room and he tells us they have space at the chef’s table for walk-ins.

So we follow him into a dark, underground, windowless room. We have no idea what type of food they serve (although by the decor I am guessing Asian) and no idea of the price. But judging by the buzz in the room and the number of people, this place is popular.

We are seated at the chef’s table, a prime spot for watching all the food getting cooked. On the menu I notice that we have arrived at Ghost Street and our waiter explains that they serve sharing plates from 3 distinctly different regions in China. To order, we mark on the menu the items we want and then peg it above us. It gets collected and the items served when they are ready. If we want more, we just mark down what else we want and peg it back up. No one goes hungry here.

The energy at this place is electric, the vibe is mysterious, the food is fantastic and I am buzzing! What an exciting place to have stumbled across. I love finding hidden gems like this. This would be a great place to go with a group of friends, the sharing plates lend themselves well to this. It’s a bit harder when I am a vegetarian and Daniel is a big meat eater, although, Daniel still managed to share my plates!

After our hunger is satisfied and my senses delighted, we head to Spark Arena for the concert. I haven’t been around this many people in a while, we are surrounded by 10,000 fans (a lot of whom are teenage girls who seem to enjoy screaming at the top of their lungs.) The concert was amazing though, Billie is so talented and has so much energy. I have no idea how she manages to jump and dance on stage like that and still manage to sing. She has a very inclusive presence and is clear how much she cares for and loves her fans.

I’ll admit, I wasn’t prepared for the amount of high pitched screaming, and as I settle happily into bed for the night, ready for sleep and resting my ears, I can’t help but feel just a little bit old!

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