It's midway through August and I have sampled only one of the 100 Auckland restaurant month special menus.
So Saturday brunch is the perfect excuse to sample one more, and to try out Britomart hotspot Tyler Street Garage's recently relaunched menu.
The sleek, industrial-style bar is a favourite with afterwork and weekend drinkers but the food is worth a trip on its own.
Chef Murray Wiblin has created new dishes for the menu, while retaining old favourites like the excellent pizzas and the wild boar gourmet hotdog.
The deal on the restaurant-month website (biglittlecity.co.nz/restaurantmonth) says we can get a starter of edamame beans, plus two small plates for $30 a person, but it seems the staff haven't been well informed.
Taking a seat on the north-facing rooftop area, we are given regular menus, with no mention of specials. I ask the waiter who looks bewildered, says he'll check, and returns minutes later with the Restaurant Month menus.
The edamame beans, served warm with smoked sea salt are great to snack on, and the portions are so plentiful we're still chewing our way through them after we've finished the rest of our food.
We quickly polish off the pulled pork sliders - shredded pork in a barbecue sauce, with crunchy iceberg lettuce and mayo, served on the slider mini-burger bun.
They look as if they might be too small to satisfy, but the flavours are intense and the size is right together with the other dishes.
The fried chicken is wickedly sinful, with large, juicy chicken breast chunks deep-fried in a crisp batter and served with thick, creamy, Japanese mayonnaise.
"Like posh KFC," boyfriend notes, which is definitely a good thing. The ceviche is light and refreshing - thin slices of snapper in a delicate soy vinaigrette with tiny chunks of pink grapefruit giving a delicious citrus burst.
But the soft-shell crab is our favourite. The large, fleshy pieces are easily divided for sharing, and the crisp tempura batter is nicely complemented by the orange ponzu dipping sauce and wasabi tartare.
There are two more weeks of Auckland restaurant month to go, and for those who don't make it to Tyler St before August 31 the dishes we ate are available on the regular menu, plus many more.
TYLER ST GARAGE
WHERE: 120 Quay St, Auckland, phone (09) 300 5279, tylerstreetgarage.co.nz
WHEN: Monday to Sunday, 11.30am-late.
WHAT'S TO EAT: Small plates, large plates, platters, pizzas and salads.
HOW MUCH: $69 for two - $30 per person, Auckland restaurant month special offer, plus two coffees.
WHAT DO WE THINK: Share the love.
- Sunday Star Times