In our life there is a single colour, as on an artist’s palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the colour of love.
~ Marc Chagall
Auckland is like a messy moving canvas. People here are like sploshes of paint; bold, bright and different – hailing from a million different lands and backgrounds, here one day and gone the next. Daily I see luggage-laden people walking around with maps, hear a symphony of different accents wash over my ears. It’s a good place to learn new languages, and to feel like you are travelling. Vehicles invade the roads the way ants close in on a sugar cube. I do not know of a single kind of food you can’t get here – Vietnamese, African, Korean, Italian, Mediterranean, you name it, they have it.
Oh, and the buildings – were they meant to be abstract art? Sometimes, I imagine a group of giant gnomes holding a drunken party in the sky, sitting on clouds and throwing random slabs and glass panes all over Auckland… it’s one thought I use to comfort myself when my eyes flinch at the sight of a hideous building (of which there are many in the CBD).
One thing that’s taken some getting used to too is the “spread out” nature of this city. Actually, I have found it pretty frustrating. The buses are more spontaneous than punctual, and I don’t know how many times I’ve thought about getting a car (and then rapidly backed out – or was it blacked out? – when sitting in friends’ cars praying that the drivers around would stop driving like my brother used to drive in Gran Turismo on his Playstation).
Tonight, though, I found one thing to enjoy about the randomness and size of Auckland. It’s the fact that it makes the search for good food that much more fun and exciting – always new places to discover, always a crazy ride to get there. Sometimes the search leads to disappointing results, of course. But it’s ever so thrilling when the search leads to something good…
T and I visited Sunday Painters tonight. So we drove past it twice (looking for parking) without spotting it, and I was glad I had looked up the address on Google Maps at home beforehand, because I would have hated to have missed out on our dinner this evening!
It was impossible not to smile inside the cosy and beautifully decorated dining room. My coat was whisked away with a smile by a very welcoming lady, the menus were promptly brought to our table. My eyes delighted in everything – the graceful curtains, cheery walls, sparkling chandeliers, handwritten menus with crimson ribbons attached. It was calm and colourful, reminiscent of golden days long gone – days I never lived through, but could nevertheless imagine. Something about the place brought to mind the words “French” and “bohemian”. Lively conversation and the sound of good music complemented the glow from the nearby lamp perfectly.
T graciously gave me a forkful of her chicken leg with roasted chestnuts, leek and bacon which made me instantly suffer from dish-envy (I wished I had ordered it)… until I tasted my dish (pictured above). Then I promptly rejoiced in the duck confit on my plate, tender and flavourful, complete with a generous bed of puy lentils (woefully misunderstood by many) and mellow spicy radicchio which together was a pretty harmonious and celebratory meal. All that with a glass of Cotes de Rhône Guigal, a shared bowl of silverbeet cooked with pine nuts and sweet onions and some creative brainstorming/conversation truly made for a colourful Saturday evening!
Sunday Painters – 185 Ponsonby Road, Auckland – Phone: 09 360 2001