November this year will see the refurbishment of Victoria Park Markets finally completed. The site originally overlooked the beach of Freemans Bay until the land was reclaimed in the 1870s.
Between 1905 and 1918, several brickwork buildings were built for a waste depot and incinerator complex, including the iconic 38-meter tall red-brick chimney. For the 94 horses required to pull Auckland City’s rubbish carts, double-story stables were also built.
By 1981 the site was used as a rubbish-collection depot only, with the stables and incineration complex no longer in use. In 1983 the Auckland City Council planned to demolish the complex, but after public pressure, gave in and, instead, began developing the Victoria Park Markets that we know today.
With 85% of the buildings now tenanted, there are now even more exciting Auckland restaurants and bars.
On Drake Street, directly behind the market, is LaZeppa. This spacious bar has a New York industrial warehouse feel, with soft lighting on brick and a large open fire place. The tapas menu averages at $15 per meal and includes Smoked ocean trout pâté, toasted rye, candied beetroot and Crispy calamari, lemon, sweet chilli jam.
Atico Cocina on Drake Street, behind the markets, draws inspiration from the Caribbean and South America. Set in one of the original stables, they are open all day and offer local and imported wines, exotic cocktails and seasonal dishes. Some meals that look particularly nice are the Charred chicken jerk, spiced mango rice and beans with minted honey yoghurt and the Jerk duckling, feijoa relish, mango salsita. Prices average at $16 per meal.
The solid oak and brick construction of The Oakroom is fashioned to create a modern feel. It was originally a stable, but management assure guests that the horses are long gone. They have a range of dishes on the menu, including garlic toast with smoked fish remoulade and lemon for $14 and lightly cured salmon, pickled fennel and lime crème fraiche for $18.
Libertine, with inside décor that combines historical character with a modern industrial feel, can be found behind the markets on Drake Street.
The menu ranges from prime cuts of beef to crab cakes and prices range between $23 and $31 per meal.
With live DJs, Libertine is a great place for music lovers.
Editorial by Liam MacAndrew
18 August 2012
Image courtesy of Kristina D.C. Hoeppner @ Flickr.com.