Circus Circus, Mt Eden

At the risk of sounding a bit gay, I’m quite a fan of fairy lights.

Maybe it’s the “fairy” portion of the name that makes it seem wrong, as a guy, to even mention their existence? Either way, I think they’re awesome. Circus Circus seems like it has kept whatever industrial-precinct-of-some-massive-Chinese-city, which makes this particular model of fairy light, in business. Match this with various hues of red, pictures and wall-hangings of all manner of circus-type things and (as the name would suggest) the over-riding theme of this café/restaurant is all things circus.

It was our second monthly date night and, her being notoriously anxious about deciding things for other people,  my better half made a great choice – which was all the more founded by its inclusion in the local Entertainment Book and a voucher for “Buy one meal, get one free”. We had received some positive feedback about Circus Circus before and I was keen to see what all the fuss was about.

On entering it seemed a bit squeezed but, as we snaked our way past the front counter and proceeded further I was surprised by how far back the eatery stretched and, once we found a table, how full the many tables quickly got. The atmosphere was laid-back and funky with all types of patrons spaced close enough for our dining experience to feel cozy and homely, without being squashed and elbowed by some over-enthusiastic diner. Our waiter must have been a newbie because he had all the confidence of Stephen Wilce at a reference check (Check it). But he was friendly and, despite appearing to stumble over the writing of whoever scrawled the “specials” on his order form for him, did a good job and more than deserved his $12.75 per hour.

The menu was pretty simple, but effective. A range of staple offerings include Lamb shank (which I got – can’t go wrong there), Eye Fillet, Chicken Noodle Salad (Amber ordered and enjoyed), Fish of the day etc etc. With no main dish over $30 it’s relatively reasonably priced for an Auckland establishment and Circus Circus does these simple things well. They were out of the Syrah I was after (wine snob than I am) but our nervous waiter suggested a suitable replacement – and suggested it with a certain upturned forefinger and thumb hand-gesture (see insert) that led me to believe he knew what he was talking about… turns out he did… or he just got lucky.

Overall, worth an outing and would recommend to others for a relaxed night out, a lazy beer/wine and a solid, satisfying meal. Ooh, and a funky, fun, circus-like atmosphere. Very cool.

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