Peking jackfruit pancakes, tapioca chips and plum sauce; caramelised black pepper tofu, shallots, garlic and gai laan; East gado gado, long bean, chioggia beetroot, spinach, tempeh and soft egg; and Typhoon shelter fried rice with corn, asparagus and burnt garlic.
The team of chefs at East, the newest innovative vegetarian restaurant in the heart of Auckland have created a concise and inventive menu, designed to share. These chefs represent culinary tradition from Japan, Hong Kong, China, Thailand, India and Sri Lanka, with Harmeet Singh at the helm.
“I’m excited to not only be cooking regional Asian flavours, but to be applying them to plant-focussed, vegetarian and vegan cooking,” expressed Singh.
“We have been experimenting, developing and embracing techniques, including fermentation. We’ve created our own sauces, including prik nam pla, nahm jim, chili oil and a vegan ‘XO’ sauce (featuring shitake mushrooms and using a special process to achieve texture and flavour) inhouse. The result is a menu that has depth without relying on meat and that celebrates the piquant, sour, sweet and umami of the Asian flavour profile.”
Seventy five percent of the dishes on offer are vegan and 70 percent are gluten free. The modern-Asian eatery is also one of few restaurants in New Zealand to have an extensive, 100 percent organic and vegan wine list featuring New Zealand and Italian vintages.
The cocktail menu offers a bespoke range of pan-Asian drinks, including an Omo Sake — jasmine-infused tengumai junmai sake, campari, sweet vermouth, tea pearl; a Shochu Sesame Sour — Hombo shuzo shochu, lemon juice, honey syrup, sesame, grapefruit and hops bitters; and a non-alcoholic Nang Pimm — Seedlip spice, lemonade, lemon juice, angostura bitters, strawberries, Thai basil, blackberry and balsamic bitters.
East is a passion project for its vegetarian owners, the Jhunjhnuwala family. The restaurant is on the ground floor of the new Sudima Hotel in Nelson Street.
“We love the vegetarian palate in Asia, where flavours are bold and vibrant, and we are committed vegetarians,” noted Kanika Jhunjhnuwala, who oversees sustainability for the business.
“The ethos behind East is high impact on taste and low impact on the environment, so we’ve created a menu and a space that focuses on sustainable, health-conscious dining, while providing a stylish and delicious dining experience.”
The restaurant’s architectural interior has been created by Luchetti Krelle, an award-winning architecture and interior design firm that specialises in hospitality and created Longrain in Tokyo and Acme in Sydney. East has a cover capacity of 100 and will be open for lunch and dinner daily.
Key partners have collaborated on the East project including hospitality consultant Andrew Glenn, co-founder of Waiheke institution The Oyster Inn and clients ranging from the Blue Plate Group in Los Angeles to Josh Emett’s Onslow. Andrew worked with the team on creative development and culinary advisor to the kitchen.
Simon Kelly, with 15 years’ experience in the wine and spirit industry and an Associate Member of the Institute of Wine and Spirits (London), developed the beverage offering and has previously curated wine and beverage lists for leading renowned institutions nationally and internationally. East’s consultant Mixologist is Ben Legget.
Ben has over 14 years’ experience bar-tending, as a drinks writer, Brand Ambassador and Consultant, and also teaches spirits at the NZ School of Wine and Spirits while also launching an award-winning gin brand and establishing a new boutique distillery.