Kim Knight reports from the sweetest spot of her restaurant reviewing year so far.
Because sometimes you just want to cut straight to the sweet stuff, here are five of the best puddings on offer across the city, for some very reasonable prices:
Burnt orange panna cotta with roasted rhubarb, Cotto
You know that girl at high school who wore op shop clothes like she wasn't even trying, all edgy and interesting, but one day you plucked up the courage to borrow her scalpel in art class and she turned out to be super lovely and nice? This was her. If she was a pudding.
• $10 at Cotto, Karangahape Rd
Hotteok pancake, The Candy Shop
Looks aren't everything. Beauty is more than skin deep. All the cliches applied to this flat, fried lump of Korean street food. Don't be deterred by the exterior aesthetic, because inside you'll find a gooey cinnamon and brown sugar nirvana.
• $9 at The Candy Shop, Newmarket
Coconut and banana sago pudding, Love Exposure
If you went to boarding school, or were raised Pākehā, you might be a little suspicious of sago. The pearled starch from the pith of palms has come a long way since dinner with Grandma, circa 1950, and this coconut milk and crushed peanut take on the traditional banana split is everything that's great about living in an ethnically diverse Auckland.
• $9 at Love Exposure, Dominion Rd
Fig leaf brulee and buttermilk ice cream, The Grove
Best matched with a Pegasus Bay Aria riesling and someone else's credit card. We had this mid-Autumn and it was a sepia-toned study in seasonal perfection.
Its winter replacement is a gingerbread parfait with a mandarin skin and kaffir lime ice cream and a warm mandarin salad. Frankly, this is how we'd like all our Vitamin C to be served.
• $155 as part of a seven-course degustation at The Grove, Wyndham Street
Deep fried apple pie and cheddar ice cream, Teddy's
Think old school Macca's apple turnover flavours but a much, much bigger portion. The ice cream was mere vanilla when we visited but, oh my, that pie . . .
• $15 at Teddy's, Ponsonby