I don't travel into town much these days but recently I went on a dining expedition with great expectations. You see, Orphans Kitchen has been the Ponsonby Rd restaurant that's been popping off with praise ever since it opened its doors in mid-2013. The brainchild of two good mates - chef Tom Hishon and sommelier Josh Helm, who works front of house - Orphans has become known as Auckland's ultimate paddock-to-plate experience. It's a place where regulars rave about the "things Tom does" with more unusual cuts of meat such wild boar, ox cheek and tuna belly.
The reason I was so keen to try Orphans, however, was because of the pair's passion for bringing sustainable, seasonal and local foods to Auckland's table. In fact, Tom's so keen to cut food miles and source sustainably that the Ponsonby restaurant even has its own beehives on the roof. I also love the fact that Tom and Josh have created an establishment that while uber-hip also feels welcoming, like your neighbourhood local.
This vibe pays homage to the Christmas dinners the pair used to host for their friends with no family when they were both living in London. In fact, it was during one of those dinners that they came up with the idea to open Orphans Kitchen.
Needless to say, my mouth was watering as soon as walked through the doors of this comforting, healthy hot spot and my senses weren't at all disappointed. We enjoyed a fish entree and lamb main. But in true Orphans style it was the veges that stole the show, with a simple side dish of broccoli that was both so good and really good for you.
I also love the fact that the team are masters in serving up real New Zealand food in clever and unique ways. When I close my eyes, I can still taste the fresh, clean finish my favourite dish - a kahawai ceviche with avocado, radish, watermelon and dill - on my tongue. No wonder, this will be the first of many great dates with this Ponsonby Rd pearler.
Open for brunch from Monday to Friday from 7.30am and dinner Tuesday to Saturday from 4.30pm, bookings can be made online at Orphans Kitchen
(PS. Don't miss their sweet-as open test kitchen deal - the first Tuesday of every month pay just $60 for 4 courses).
Good For... Ethical eats
Good For... Indulging in fine wines
Good For... Live music on a Friday arvo.
Yours In Health and Happiness, KB
Discover Orphans Kitchen at 118 Ponsonby Rd, Ponsonby.