Auckland: Bedford Soda and Liquor

I have been so overwhelmed and in love with Britomart and Federal Dining District, I had totally neglected the development of Ponsonby Central, another excellent dining complex in Auckland. With a fresh produce market, a variety of eateries including Toru and Blue Breeze Inn and several retail stores, Ponsonby Central is rapidly becoming the most popular place to be on Ponsonby Strip.

Bedford Soda and Liquor, a newly established eatery, has two main selling points, their meatballs, served either on its own, over pasta, or in a slider/sub and their handmade sodas. On a beautiful Saturday afternoon, the place was lively with people enjoying the precious sun with jars of sodas and plates of meatballs. We were quickly shown to a table and the friendly waiter kindly explained how the ‘build your own’ menu worked and the specials for the day. The menu itself is adorable and the novelty of marking and ordering with a red felt marker is amusing.

We toned down our usual amount for lunch and decided to share a few plates. The beef meatballs served with a spicy tomato sauce over pasta is overpriced at $19. The pasta was cooked perfectly and the sauce was sensational, I particularly liked the balance of  heat and the tangy tomato. The meatballs itself was under-seasoned and desperately needed the help of the sauce for flavouring. Compared to the luscious meatballs at Baduzzi, the ones at Bedford was disappointing as it lacked moisture and was dry for our liking. 

The salad special, which was a beetroot salad with roasted kumara, feta and cherry tomato was refreshing and the flavouring was well executed. It’s a nice way to highlight seasonal produce as the natural taste of the vegetables were given room to shine. The combination of the cheese and cherry tomatoes was wonderful.

Our sliders ($5 each) was just a simple meatball covered with a sauce of your choice on small toasted buns. The meatballs had the same problem as the pasta, lack of moisture and adequate seasoning. But the sesame buns were nicely toasted which gave it a crispy crunch. It was rather messy to eat, as you can tell from the photos.

Their drinks (not pictured) is something to rave about, they have a better selection of beverages compared to their food! They offer alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks and the endless option meant that you might need to have more than one! I had the blueberry pomegranate black tea as well as the peanut butter and chocolate shake and they were refreshing and packed with flavour.

Bedford Soda and Liquor has great potential and I’m hoping that they were just having an ‘off’ day in terms of the food. It’s at a great location, the service is friendly and attentive and the place is hip and modern. Price-wise, it is leaning towards the expensive end for lunch but you kind of expect that price tag at Ponsonby.

Date: Saturday 4 January | Location: Ponsonby Central, Ponsonby | Food: Meatballs