Burger Burger and Fish Fish fans on Auckland’s North Shore no longer need to traverse the bridge to get their healthy fast food fix, with the opening of hybrid restaurant Burger Burger Fish Fish at Fortieth & Hurstmere in Takapuna.
Keen on a Saturday night pre-movie dinner, my boyfriend and I made the mission from New Lynn to the North Shore to check out what this double-whammy food fix had to offer. It was the day after opening night and word had already got out, with hungry patrons queuing in the lane awaiting a spot at the 100 seat resturant. Designed in conjunction with Bureaux Architects & NY Art Dept, half of the 200 square-metre space is set out as Burger Burger, with dark tabletops and signature navy blue, while the other half is the more seaside eatery-inspired Fish Fish, with light tabletops and slat chairs. A bar festooned in fairy lights divides the two, while a sheltered exterior courtyard offers dining al fresco.
We chose to eat at Fish Fish, mainly because I can’t count the number of times I’ve Burger Burger’d, and we were both yet to try the restaurant’s marine counterpart. Because sharing is always the best way to dine, in both of our opinions (luckily), we ordered the tacos of Sawmill Pilsner Beer Batter Fish, Lemon Mayo, Autumn Slaw, Herbs, Chilli & Lime ($12 for two); NZ Green Lipped Mussels in Homemade Red Curry, Coconut, Chilli, Coriander, Lemon & Garlic Bread ($18); and a bowl of Potato Chunky Chips ($7).
After ordering a French Syrah ($9) and a Beer Beer (the house beer, $10 for 500ml) for Clint, I discovered the Grown Up Spiders menu and kicked myself for being so hasty in my drink ordering. I therefore missed out on a Grown Up Aperol Spritz ($12) a fun cocktail made from Aperol, Prosecco, Vanilla, Ice Cream and Mandarin. Next time!
The food came out within 10 minutes and was a veritable FEAST! Enough food for three people, for sure (but only two tacos per serve, so whatchagonnado?) Last year, Clint and I spent a week in Tulum, Mexico, and ate everyday at a taco stand we discovered on the beach. Since coming back home, we have been yet to find a taco that could even try to match the freshness and flavour of the battered fish and shrimp fare in Tulum – but we both agreed the Fish Fish special could be a contender for Auckland’s best fish taco. As taco connoisseurs, trust me, that’s a big call.
The mussels were huge and juicy and I could have picked up the bowl and slurped the soup like a drink. I didn’t. But I was tempted. The Potato Chunky Chips lacked the crispy oiliness of Burger Burger’s famous potato skins (nothing can beat those) and didn’t come with any dipping sauce… We got around it though by asking for a dish of the lemon mayo that comes with the Golden Kumara Chips. That’s a hot tip, right there.
Sitting back in our seats, full to the brim, the waitress came over with the dessert menu, but there was no way we could fit in any more food. If I could have a do-over, I would forgo the Chunky Chips with dessert in mind. Burger Burger’s famous ice cream sandwich is on the menu, and from past experience I know it’s a winner.
For now, Burger Burger and Fish Fish remain two separate restaurants, so you’ve got to choose your side and stick with it – however, the host at the door did let me know that being able to order from both sides is likely to be a go in the future.
Verdict: Burger Burger Fish Fish is definitely worth lining up for, or even trekking from the city for. The atmosphere was humming and the larger space means you don’t need to get quite as intimate with your neighbour as you do at Ponsonby Central. A note to Mimi Gilmour and Adrian Chilton: Please NEVER take those tacos off the menu!