Albert Yen

Albert outside his cafe smiling to camera.

I was born in Taiwan and raised in Auckland. I am lucky to have two jobs that I love—I have been a practising dentist for over 10 years, and this year, my café Daily Daily will celebrate its fifth birthday. When starting Daily Daily, I was inspired by the peaceful coffee spaces in Copenhagen, Kyoto and Taipei that contrast with the loud, busy café model in New Zealand.

My Dad, who still lives in Taiwan, can only be described as a collector. He seeks out antiques, Danish furniture and lighting. His home (and dental surgery!) are filled with beautiful and unique objects, and I have inherited this passion.

When I'm not making coffee or fixing teeth, you'll find me walking through Albert Park’s tree-lined paths in autumn, hunting for vintage furniture, or eating and drinking at one of the incredible owner-operated places on Karangahape Road.

Opt for Cosy Shopping

Just up the road from Daily Daily is TÜR Studio, owned by my younger brother, Joe. It is a finely curated shop with a range of exquisite goods, including locally made weavings, rare Japanese ceramics and New Zealand-made objects. Joe has his own line of unisex clothing and jewellery, called Thyen. For Autumn, I'd pick up one of his one-off shirts in wool, often crafted with deadstock fabrics.

Autumn Days at the Art Gallery

On an autumn day, I would head straight to Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki. Not only to check out the latest exhibitions, but also to see the leaves as I meander through Albert Park and along Kitchener, Lorne and Shortland Streets. I like to stop at my favourite shops and coffee spots along the way—Kompass Coffee, Gow Langsford Gallery, Edit and Shakes

Fly Out on a New Adventure

I am really keen to try out the EcoZip Adventures zipline on Waiheke Island this autumn. Waiheke is known for relaxation and wining and dining, so ziplining is quite a contrast to what you’d typically do over there. It is different and definitely an activity I’d like to have a go at.

Hit the Sculpture Trails

Checking out sculpture trails around Auckland is a way I like to get inspired. There are a few to choose from, but if you head north to Matakana you’ll find both Sculptureum and the Brick Bay Sculpture Trail nearby. These tick all the boxes; beautifully considered gardens, local and international artwork and on-site restaurants (with plenty of local wine to sample). 

Seek Out Views on Foot

The pandemic really helped me get out and explore my local neighbourhoods. I enjoy walking around Kingsland and up Mt Eden Maungawhau. The view from the top is so relaxing. I will walk around Westhaven and then loop back through either St Mary's Bay or Westmere if I want to be near the water. I have also heard that Duder Regional Park near Clevedon has stunning views of the Hunua Ranges and Hauraki islands, so that's on my to-visit list. 

Rest Your Head in Style

Hotel Britomart would be my first choice if I were looking for a getaway around Auckland city. There is an excellent restaurant, Kingi, onsite, so you don’t need to go far for a reliable cocktail or a mastered local and sustainable seafood experience. 

Scout Out New Favourite Dishes

Sake Bar Icco is a Japanese restaurant run by a husband and wife duo, with the finest Japanese food and hospitality. Make a reservation, and if you get a chance, sit at the bar and watch the team whiz around the kitchen. My favourite dishes are the prawn tempura avocado sushi, grilled eggplant and fresh sashimi platter. The lunch bento is also always delicious and fresh.

Feast on Diverse Cuisine

Empress Garden at the end of Jervois Road would be at the top of my list for the best Peking Duck in town. Sri Pinang on Karangahape Road serves authentic Malaysian flavours. Both restaurants accommodate BYO too, so they’re perfect for dinner out with a group of friends. There are lots of other unmissable owner operated restaurants along K Road, such as Cotto, Madame George and Apero.

Sample Auckland's Architecture

I have a book called Auckland Architecture, a walking guide with 50 different buildings and six routes, published by Massey University Press. There are some really beautiful buildings to see around the CBD on a self-guided walk. If you want to see the streets and history from a different perspective, switch things up with a bike or art tour around the city.    

Try Your Hand at Pottery

In the café, we have a variety of cups from Japan and Copenhagen—most of them are vintage, but some are new. I would love to try and make some of our own at a pottery course; I have seen these at Studio One Toi Tū on Ponsonby Road with their drop-in ceramics studio and weekend courses. Or, pop into The Clay Centre for a one-off session and peruse their shop and gallery.