Not Feeling Fired Up

Archie’s Pizzeria

Address: 63 Davis Crescent, Newmarket, Auckland 1023
Online: Find it on Facebook


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We all know that the weather turns to custard on a bank holiday weekend. Indeed, when I woke up indecently late this morning my pillow was so cold that my cheek got an icy shock as I rolled to one side. But once we’d escaped the chilly micro-climate surrounding our house a stunning day revealed itself. Perfect cornflour blue sky, not a single cloud to be seen.

If you looked out from the beach at the end of our road you’d see the volcanic island of Rangitoto (below right). To the left of that you’d spot Devonport’s twin peaks of Mount Victoria and North Head, on the North Shore of Auckland (below left). Just two miles away as the crow flies, it’s a 15 mile drive following the road around the shore and over the Auckland Harbour Bridge.

Today we were going to scale both the peaks (not as impressive as it sounds) to build up our appetites for a tiramisu quest later in the day. (The less said about the large Big Mac meal and hash brown we’d already polished off that morning the better, thank you very much).

We explored the military tunnel complex, gun emplacements and fortifications at North Head Historic Reserve and lapped up the beautiful 360° view at the top of Mount Victoria.

Having descended back to Devonport we surreptitiously investigated a couple of Italian joints on Victoria Road. With no sign of any tiramisu on the menu we headed back to our side of the bridge and, with some help from Google, scouted out the best tiramisu in our own neck of the woods.

Think ‘Italian restaurant’ and a bustling, warm and welcoming atmosphere probably comes to mind. However, the stark plain walls and spartan chairs and tables left us wanting at Archie’s Pizzeria in Newmarket. No question, the place was busy for late lunch on a Sunday. The wood fire was blazing and innumerable chefs were crammed into the small kitchen behind the bar. The owner – Archie himself – was such a cliché of an Italian restaurateur they wouldn’t cast him for the role in a film. But where was the vibe?

No messing about, we head straight for the dessert menu. Looking to the tables near us, though, we feel a twinge of regret as we eye steaming, creamy tagliatelle and fragrant, melty pizza. Today Mr C joins me for tiramisu and adds an espresso martini to the order for good measure.

The presentation is just as you’d expect from a low-key Italian cafe; nothing fancy. The sides are slightly crisp where it has been exposed to the air, but once we dig in it is moist. The generous creamy layer of mascarpone is the first thing I taste and it is perfection. Sweet and delicious and light. The first sponge finger layer is good: suffused with booze but not soggy.


The second layer is disappointingly dry. The sickly chocolate sauce liberally squeezed over is clearly not homemade, like the sponge base. Mr C is glad of his ‘inspired decision’ to get a cocktail, which ‘definitely helped the situation.’ Halfway through and I’m struggling, and easily distracted by planning our weekly shopping list.

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Hold on a minute. You shouldn’t get distracted eating a tiramisu! It should grab you by the shoulders and devour your attention until the plate is clean. You should feel as fired up as that stone pizza oven. It’s very name means ‘pick me up’, for goodness’ sake! Overall, it’s a passable effort. With a bonus point for the heavenly cream, this is a solid three stars.


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