I don’t know if you heard, but Ed Sheeran arrived in New Zealand a few weeks ago to conclude his ‘Divide’ tour, and as proud fans of this ginger guitar guru my Mum, my sister and I all flew up to the big smoke, Auckland, to admire his craft in the flesh. Of course, when you travel to a new city, there are three main must-do’s; explore the area, drop tonnes of money on shopping, and most importantly check out their food scene. Auckland has an incredible number of cafes, restaurants and bars that are all influenced by a variety of different cultures and cuisines – which made choosing a place to wine and dine for our Friday night dinner immensely difficult! After about an hour of trawling Zomato and other foodie platforms, we all came to an agreement to check out one of Auckland harbours hot-spots; The Lula Inn.
We didn’t really know what to expect with this place, after a few scrolls through their menu, gallery and tags on Instagram we managed to gage a vague idea of the vibe at The Lula Inn, however we completely underestimated the sheer buzz of this place. The restaurant is split into various little sections; with a dance floor and stage as you enter, an epic bar stacked with various alcohol, and then their dining area with indoor and outdoor tables. During the day I could imagine this place is a hip little lunch spot, but at night it transforms into a bustling social scene. This place gives off a South-Pacific style ambience with its botanical décor, dim mood lighting, and loud hip music; it’s a tropical dining paradise!
Since it was a girl’s night out (and mum was paying), cocktails were a must. Every time I have a cocktail, I like to try new flavours and combinations that I wouldn’t usually go for – however the possibility of getting a cocktail that I don’t like frightens me a little! All concerns aside, I crossed my fingers and ordered their ‘Golden Ivy’ rum-based tropical cocktail. A massive weight was lifted off my shoulders as I sipped this concoction, as it was mind-blowingly delicious and punchy, with a perfect mix of sweet passionfruit and sour limes – all topped off with a warm touch of white rum. Deciding on my dinner was less risky due to all the options sounding delectable, and as we had done so much pre-dining research I already had an idea of what my tummy was craving – their prawn and scampi spaghetti. I will always choose seafood above anything else on a menu, and the chef at The Lula Inn certainly did not disappoint my fishy taste buds by serving perfectly Aldante pasta smothered in a rich garlic burnt butter sauce that was laced with beautiful freshly caught prawns and scampi. This dish made my tummy and tongue want to sing ‘under the sea’ with how utterly gorgeous it tasted!
The first night in the big city with my mother and sister was made perfect by coming to this harbour-side haven. The ambiance was vibrant and loud which created the perfect environment to enjoy punchy cocktails and drool-worthy dinners. Putting my criteria to the test, I can confidently rate The Lula Inn a solid 8.8/10. With an endless drinks menu, tantalizing food menu, and a live DJ followed by a local band performing, this place created not only a cheerful and poppy atmosphere, but some exceptional dining memories. I had high hopes for the hospitality industry of Auckland from reading fellow foodie blog posts and social media updates – and my expectations were more than exceeded with the service I was given at The Lula Inn.