Grand Park – Come for the Dumplings, Stay for the Races

Left: Xiao Long Bao, Middle: Spinach Dumpling, Right: Coriander Dumpling
Left: Xiao Long Bao, Middle: Spinach Dumpling, Right: Coriander Dumpling

Dumplings, Dumplings, Dumplings. If we’re doing Dim Sum, this Kiwi’s pecking him some dumplings. Grand Park, located at Gate B at Alexandra Park, Epsom.

Grand Park is our go to Yum Char experience because it’s central, parking is free (and allocated), and their time limit of 50 minutes per sitting usually guarantees you’ll see all your favourites come around before you go, which isn’t always the case at other establishments. Solid quality, and if you’re a sucker for burning your mouth on Xiao Long Bao like I am, you’ll be a happy little Kiwi too.

Top Tips:

No booking? Best come at 10:30am.

Booking? Best make it 11:00 if you want to guarantee your spot and not feel like you’ve wandered into a Chinese auction house, complete with people waving numbered tickets, and white folks peppered at the back, looking like they got lost on their way to see the terracotta warriors.

Desserts and innards come early and often. Don’t despair if that’s not what you’re looking for, but if you do, tell them what you’re waiting for so you get it sooner.

Condiment fiends? Ask for at least two sauce trays (consisting of soy and chilli sauce) between four people. If you’re there as a couple like me and Mrs Peckish were, request one per person. Also, make sure you ask for Red Vinegar to go with the Xiao Long Bao, they won’t always remember to give it to you.

Prawn Chives Dumpling
Prawn Chives Dumpling
Fried Combination Dumpling
Fried Combination Dumpling
Prawn Dumpling
Prawn Dumpling

All you see here fed me and mine enough to last us breakfast and lunch for $42.30.

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The Bad Nappers’ Tee Party

Brevity? Love it. Not a master of it by any means, but I appreciate skilled practitioners. It has a special appeal for me in motion picture. So much today strains to provide origin story and exposition, no matter how many plot muscles it pulls to do it. Flashbacks to life before crashing on the island, […]

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Lost Last Sunday

When it comes to a main street organisation that really works for you, Karangahape Road Business Association is pretty hard to beat, bang for buck wise. They work hard to get you playing, and paying, hard at the various businesses that line the street and surrounding neighbourhoods. One of the jewels in this cultural crown […]

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The Butcher of Westmere

Headed over to the old man’s house for post work  drinks, after he foiled his plan to come to ours by leaving the lights on in his car. The subsequent drive across town in peak hour traffic was mitigated by the smell of these beauties on the barbeque when we arrived. Made with loving care […]

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No Accounting for Taste

I’m an accountant by trade, so an inability to account for anything is taken very seriously. To your right we have a very respectable Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana certified genuine Neopolitan Pizza. It’s got the nice folding crust, saucy tomato, wonderfully cured prosciutto, fresh rocket and parmagiano, all lovingly prepared by the dough boys of Dante’s Napoletana Pizzeria, […]

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Bitterer, Hoppier, More Aromatic

Orcon, Mayhem, Mosaic.
Orcon, Mayhem, Mosaic.

Comfortable, not drinking too much.

Forget being fitter, happier, more productive for a second. Think of Radiohead’s robotic voice extolling a new era of craft beer in NZ. We’re no longer pigs, in a big liquor, Steinlager and DB Export cage. We’re now free range, on our decks, savouring Pale Ales, drinking less, and less cheaply, but at a much higher quality. We’re now spoilt for choice with brewers who think long and hard about what they put into their beers, rather than what they put on their billboards.

Epic was probably the first craft beer to ever break into my consciousness. Packaged in an appropriately bold fashion, these guys had big flavours, and a social attitude that promoted an open office policy to come down, share a drink you’ve found, and maybe walk away with a free bottle of their latest and greatest. I like to think of these guys the way I think about some of my favourite musicians. They’re eclectic, you don’t always get what they’re going for, but when you do, it blows away anything you can find in the mainstream fridges, and much of what you can find digging in the craft crates. Hop Zombie, Larger, Message in a Bottle, Barrel Aged IPA, these are truly Epic beers for the likes of me. It’s what the gods would have drunk while watching the Trojan war, if only Dionysus had been as good as head brewer Luke Nicholas.

It was in Epic’s social spirit that I came to be drinking a bottle of their newest brew, Mosaic, which is due for commercial release on Monday. Luke was good enough to put the word out on Facebook, and my father, who works nearby and is an exceedingly capable drinking buddy, was good enough to pick some up. He even scored a free bottle of Mayhem for his trouble.

So on Friday just gone we decided to make a bit of a night of it.

Mosaic

Impressions: A bit like being blind sided by Colin Meads. It’s all over very quickly, you come up with a mouthful of grass and the faint taste of pine tree at the back of the mouth. But you get straight back up, and go for another round. Not as much to my taste as some of their other offerings, but I think I see what they were going for. Character changes as it warms up, but I’ll have to comment on that more at another time because I was very thirsty and this was my first for the evening.

Recommended to: Lumberjacks; men who have freshly mown their lawns and want a taste of their good work.

Orcon

Impressions: Perhaps the corporate champion of the Epic world. Father pursed his lips and said it wasn’t much different from any nondescript beer one could get from a mainstream supermarket. I detected something a little medicinal in the finish. Again, not one for the likes of me.

Recommended to: Mad scientists who are Salary-men by day. They remember the old lime/green soft drinks from the 80s and wish to have a hint of that at the back of their throat while they sear their fillet of beef with a blow torch.

Mayhem

Impressions: This feels more familiarly Epic. A mellow, caramel, malty feel that is gone all too soon. Like if you just started to get into a MacIntosh’s toffee and swallowed it accidentally. Finish isn’t too bitter.

Recommended to: People who want to ease their way up to the bigger Epic ranks, and don’t like a bitter finish to over stay its welcome.

Good evening, and these bottles were a good way to ease into a night of BBQ sausages and discussion outside by the fire. Like any music that’s a little complex and eclectic, it gets you thinking, and gets you talking, while demanding you come back later for another listen.

Which is why I’m glad I have another bottle of Mosaic set aside for a repeat sitting next weekend.

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