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Editorial / Food & Drink

The Modern-Day Ladies Lunch

I’m sure the term ‘Ladies Lunch’ really has more to do with the literary technique of alliteration than the meaning or image attached to it. Still, it’s a fun expression to say and I love using it as an excuse to get my friends together over great food and a few wines!

A Ladies Lunch should be a non-negotiable date in the calendar of women of all ages, backgrounds, and lifestyles. Whether it be a simple picnic in the park or a three-course lunch in a glamorous terrace setting, it’s about making time for those who support and motivate you and most importantly, who keep you in check. So, when I was offered a table for a long lunch in the iconic Non Solo Pizza courtyard, I had the girls on speed dial.

Having spent our recent catch-ups snuggled up fireside, we were dying to dust off the summer outfits and soak up the rays that speak to the summer days to come. Non Solo Pizza has always been my go-to venue for a picturesque courtyard setting, and the new refurb has elevated the Amalfi Coast-style ambience. Enclosed with climbing greenery and vines, water features, and stylish squabs, the fit-out whisks you away to the Italian countryside in minutes. The sun was shining down through the open louvre roof, making for a perfect afternoon fueled by fabulous conversation and even better food.

It’s in our nature to share; clothing, advice, humour, and of course our food. With a menu like this, it was easy to put trust in the chef, who fired out a few of his favourite new menu items. The food started flowing, and the Champagne had to fight to keep up! 

Burrata: I’m new to the Burrata craze, but have happily welcomed it on my list of go-to dishes. A bursting ball of delectable cheese, topped with wood-fired peppers, cherry tomatoes, olives, mint and croutons, it’s a dish full of textures and flavours and one that will be a summer staple for sure.

Crudo Plate: The queen of food fomo, this dish takes any need for decisiveness away by serving up Crudo three ways, with salmon, tuna and snapper. The salmon is served with a citrus dressing and chives, the tuna with fennel, capers and dill and the snapper combines a punchy hit of chilli, oregano and lemon oil. 

Roasted Beet Salad: I often order roasted beetroot as a light side and alternative to potatoes, leaving room to enjoy the dishes that I can’t cook at home. The roasted beets at NSP are served with goat’s cheese, citrus, pistachios and a Sapa dressing, beautifully complementing the flavour combinations throughout the main menu.

Beef Carpaccio: delicately sliced with cubes of golden beets, chives, anchovy mayo, light flakes of aged parmesan and punchy wild rocket.

Butternut Squash Risotto: We all agreed this was the absolute winner of the day. I wouldn’t usually go for a vegetarian dish when dining out, especially with a menu packed with so many options. But this creamy sweet risotto with almond, oregano, balsamic and truffle oil was an absolute hit. Take our word for it.

Roasted Snapper Fillet: Perfectly slow cooked with lemon and fennel, the fillet falls apart over the prawn tortellini, sage and anchovy fritter.

Scampi Linguine:  Cherry tomatoes, chilli, pangritata, scampi bisque, rocket, parmesan and balsamic. To die for.

And last but not certainly least ….

Truffle Fries: No Ladies Lunch is complete without a bowl of crunchy decadent truffle fries topped with parmesan and parsley, and ready and raring to be dunked in a creamy aioli.

It’s all too easy to put organised lunches in the too hard basket, yet the most time-poor women I know always make the time to recharge in the open air, with fabulous food and fabulous friends. So with summer fast approaching, plan ahead and flick the invites out — dust off the summer florals and recharge under the afternoon sun at Non Solo Pizza.

Address: Address: 1052/259 Parnell Road, Parnell, Auckland

Website: www.nonsolopizza.co.nz

Opening Hours: Monday – Sunday 11am – 10pm