It was going to be the highlight of our long anniversary weekend… leaving the boys with Grandma and totting off to the Auckland Seafood Festival on the holiday Monday. Well, I wish I’d stayed home.

The recent 2010 Auckland Seafood Festival was the 4th annual event. Maybe they should leave it at that.

Mark and I threw on our gladrags Annniversary Day Monday and off we went, expecting to taste and try the freshest and best seafood in the land. Kid-free and hungry, our smiles were wide!

On arrival, we were greeted by a lady who herself needed to smile a bit more. Through the dirty and drab entrance with our media passes (which saved us the $15 entry) and into the throngs.

Having said media pass, we went to the area where we had been allowed in previous years and was turned away as it was for “VIPs only sorry ma’am”. I explained that we had our passes and the past 3 years we’d been at the event, we were allowed in the lounge. To no avail. “Ah well, let’s go have a look around,” I chirped after a rather icky visit to the port-a-loos.

Food time! This will make things better I hoped. Might even have a glass of bubbles chimed in the other half. The smiles were back…

Mark returned with 2 glasses of Pol Roger champagne from the Glengarry wine tent which cost him $39 each. $37 for the wine and $2 for the glass. I almost choked! $37 for a glass of Pol? Prego sells a glass at $22 and that’s one of Auckland’s top restaurants! Glengarry’s has Pol Roger on sale in their shop for $79 for the entire bottle.  But like it or lump it, there was no option to select another wine tent. Glengarry’s had the monopoly at the event. It was their wine, or none. Smiles faded.

Sipping on our massively expensive bubbles, we thought we should match it with some stunning seafood.

Dish 1: The roast salmon that had no taste… $9. Down the tubes.

Dish 2: Next came the deep-fried calamari. It certainly looked good, but it was cold. $8. Gone.

Dish 3: The prawns were fresh but again stone-cold coconut casing isn’t posh! $10. Bye-bye.

We decided to walk around a bit more as we were close to pulling the plug. Noticed Paul Holmes flogging off his Olive Oil at close to $40 a bottle. Steep I thought, but then Paul himself was on his stand. Impressive star power. But the dark glasses and the sneer didn’t push me to buy. Should’ve got Millie and the pre-organised media there Paul.

Onwards through the masses to the stages which were empty. No toe-tapping in between music. Maybe the radio station sponsors could have provided us with some atmos?

Let’s try the Thai prawns I suggested to hubby. There was only one Thai stand at the entire Festival so we figured it had to be good, if not the best Auckland had to offer for Thai food lovers. The prawns were soft and at least a week old. Dish 4, the Pad Thai was nothing short of awful. 

Vietnamese. That looked good. After waiting close to 10 minutes for Dish 5, at least it was tasty and hot and unlike the Thai, the seafood was fresh.

Dish 6 was by the far the best. The Oceanz prawns and hot chips at $7. But I can get those down the road at my local Oceanz takeaway on the Hibiscus Coast.

The best part of the Auckland Seafood Festival? Leaving! $150 poorer after 6 small seafood dishes and 2 glasses of wine.

As committed foodies, I’d love to say we’d be back in 2011 for the 5th annual Anniversary Weekend Seafood Festival. We won’t.


NB. was given 2 passes to attend the event which softened the blow by $30. All food and wine was purchased by Fresh In The Kitchen/Trudi Nelson.

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