It’s a part of blended family life that, unlike a lot of families, James and I have 2 nights to ourselves with no children each fortnight. We really try to make the most of it when we do have these two nights together and use them for adventuring and having fun. Lately though it’s been a bit more of sitting at home and watching Netflix or going to the same places that we know well. So when we got chatting to Our Date Nite it seemed like the perfect opportunity to break out of our well worn path and try something completely new.
Our Date Nite
Our Date Nite have a very similar ethos to Getting Lost so it was inevitable really that we would end up sharing experiences. Our Date Nite’s aim (like ours) is to inspire you to get out and enjoy life. They hand pick and act as concierges for unique, amazing and memorable experiences that create lasting memories.
Excited? We were too. They have experiences all over NZ and I have to say that with James love of sea planes and our combined love of Man O War wine the Scenic Flight to Waiheke Island with Man O War Tasting was top of our list. Unfortunately at $1,300 it was also out of our budget but if you’d like to dream about it along with us then click on over here….
What was very much within our budget was the exclusive wine tasting for two. At $85 it boasted 16 premium tastings, a shared charcuterie platter – all guided by a professional Sommelier. It sounded right up our alley and unlike anything we had been doing.
As sometimes happens with a busy life we had to put our date night off several times because life got in the way. As we rolled up to our date night James and I looked more like two kids being sent to the Principals office than two people looking forward to a night out together. James had been installing a kitchen all day and had to leave the kitchen unfinished to make our date and I’d been out getting lost and more recently fighting with the fibre company to try and get our internet working (don’t even get me started). So it wasn’t the most auspicious start to the evening. Maybe that’s part of why the whole night completely exceeded all our expectations – but then it probably would have anyway.
The Wine Cave
So if I could wrap our night up into one word it would be unexpected. We arrived at The Wine Cave in New Market with our voucher from Our Date Nite. It’s very unassuming from the front and didn’t look particularly inspiring.
Inside however is an entirely different story. It is exactly as it sounds – a wine cave. Natural light is at a minimum and the light comes mostly from the backlit bottles of amazing wine that surround the walls.
Mood music plays quietly and compliments the hum of conversation from the many different spaces in the Wine Cave. Including this awesome space that we got to have a look at too which is available to hire for up to 60 people.
Now the wine tasting itself is pretty cool. To kick off Sommelier and Founder Joe Wang took us through a bit of the background to the Wine Cave and some of the stories around the wines. After this our platter arrived and we were each given cards for the 16 wines we would be tasting.
The tastings worked with an automated machine. There’s a photo below but the best way to describe it is a bit of a cross between the soft drink machines at McDonalds or the ice-cream machines at Kiwi Yo. And not surprisingly James and I reacted exactly like our kids do at this places. We were in grown up heaven with top quality, amazing wine on tap instead of soft drink and ice-cream! Each portion was tasting size (30ml) so while 16 seems like a lot you are drinking 480ml of wine over a 3 hour period so it’s not too much. We made our way through Reislings, Savs, a couple of Chardonnay’s, Rose, Pinot Noir and Shiraz’s – plus a few more I’ve never tried before. And there wasn’t a single wine we didn’t enjoy!
It’s pretty sensational value for $85 and after 3 hours we were ready to do a bit more exploring.
We were just down the road from K-Road and friends at work had been talking about the Satya Chai Lounge so we decided to track that down.
Auckland’s oldest cemetery at dusk
On the way though we passed the Symonds Street Cemetery. It’s the oldest municipal cemetery in Auckland and it has always fascinated me with it’s rich history and sunken grounds. At sunset it was practically irresistible – especially as I had my camera on me.
As fascinated as I am by the cemetery I’ve never been brave enough to go in by myself. But James makes me brave. Now relax – I haven’t just set Woman’s Lib back 30 years by that statement and I don’t need a man on my arm to make me brave. He makes me brave because in the 30 years that we have been friends he has never let me make excuses or take the easy way out. He has always been the person (as my best friend for 26 years, my partner for 4) who has stood there firmly and quietly until I stand up and take control. He’s also pretty tough if someone did try to mug us though… 😉
The light and the stories were amazing as we strolled through the cemetery. With graves dating back to 1841 it showed the toughness and sometimes unfairness of life in the early days of Auckland.
And the juxtaposition of the battered monuments and the new spring flowers showed so aptly the tenacity of the world to keep on moving.
So if you are still with us after 16 glasses of wine, some tombstones and 1,300 words – thank you. And let’s move on to Satya Chai Lounge.
Getting spicy at Satya Chai Lounge
I said earlier that this was the night of unexpected and understated places and the Satya Chai Lounge absolutely fitted into this category. It was another place that had we not have had the address we would have walked past. In fact we did and had to back track.
Inside it is nothing if not unique. Old coffee sacks cover the roof, upturned beer crates with sacks as makeshift cushions serve as seats and colourful lanterns hang from the roof.
While being Indian cuisine it’s definitely a new take on it with none of the curries you would expect and a lot of small sharing plates. We went for the veggie dumplings, prawns, paneer and chicken. When it arrived we wolfed it down and then immediately went for the water. We’re not spicy people and this was light your mouth on fire spicy. It was then that we heard the people at the table next to us ask for mild and we managed to get our last dish out as mild which was much better for us spice challenged people!
Definitely worth a try (ask for mild if you are a curry wimp like us) and was the perfect end to a very unique and memorable date night.
In the interest of full disclosure James and I would like to say thanks to Our Date Nite for shouting us on the Wine Tasting Experience. All opinions are, as always, our own.