We dine at some unique places in and around Auckland. Today: A Korean buffet restaurant located at a remote apple orchard in Drury.
When Korean migrant Paul Lee, 65, and his wife Rosa, 62, bought an apple orchard in South Auckland two decades ago they realised it wasn't large enough to be commercially viable.
So they decided to turn their 1.8ha apple plantation into the next best thing - a restaurant.
Setting up an eatery off a rural road 3km from the Drury motorway interchange may not sound like a good idea.
But the buffet restaurant is pulling in the crowds - and it would be near impossible to get a seat without advance booking.
Regular customer Grace Park, 44, said she did not mind the 45-minute drive from her home in Albany.
Mrs Park said a drawcard for her is the restaurant's "out-of-the-way place" nestled among rural paddocks and farmlands.
"It adds to the fun, like a mini adventure to go somewhere interesting for dinner," she said.
The buffet runs only on weekends, from Friday to Sunday, with two sittings at 5.30pm and 7.30pm.
The restaurant first started in 1995, serving meals in a small dining area and catering exclusively to Korean tourists arriving on buses.
But when the tourist numbers started to decline in the early 2000s, the Lees decided to open the business up to the public and built the current 140-seat restaurant in 2004.
"We didn't know if people would come, given that it was so far away from downtown Auckland," said son Jun Lee, 35. Despite its rural location, the restaurant continues to pack them in without needing to advertise or have a website.
"Most of our customers we get through word of mouth, and many are repeats who come back because they like it," Mr Lee said.
He describes the food as "traditional Korean" but with "a bit of mum's invention".
"The galbi, gejang and kimchi spreads are typically what you get in a traditional meal back in Korea.
"But there's one or two items, such as the radish salad roll, is mum's invention which other Korean restaurants here have followed.
His father, Paul, has been behind the marinating and cooking of the galbi, or barbecued beef short ribs, since the business began.
"The galbi is the main draw for many to the restaurant, so it's his pride and not something he's willing to let anyone else have a go."
The buffet costs $30 for adults, children aged 3-8 years are charged $17 and those up to 12 pay $22.
Korean among the apples
What: Apple Orchard Korean Buffet
Where: 341 Fitzgerald Road, Drury
When: Fri to Sun, from 5.30pm
Five things to try: Galbi (charcoal barbecued marinated beef short ribs), gejang (marinated raw crabs), jap chae (glass noodles), je yuk bo keum (spicy pork), sikhye (rice dessert drink)
Contact: (09) 2947936