A symbol or character representing ‘and’. It is for connections, collaborations, inclusion, bringing together and reminding us that there is always more to come…
The above quote underpins Ampersand Eatery, a fabulous collaboration of all-day dining and the coffee excellence of Espresso Workshop nestled in Orakei Bay Village (OBV).
The industrial-style 120-seat establishment was designed by the renowned crew at Ctrl Space and features raw wood, indoor greenery, a semi-open kitchen, on-site coffee roastery, festoon lights, a rustic pink bar, and an expansive Sydney-esque deck overlooking Hobson Bay in the Orakei Basin.
Yin and Yang
Along with superb coffee served by specialist baristas, the menu focuses on fresh seasonal produce and is designed by chef Mikey Newlands (ex-Bracu and The Grove) and pairs beautifully with a well-thought-out wine list put together by his award-winning sommelier partner Amanda Rogers. “If I’m the yin Amanda’s the yang,” says Mikey. “Amanda runs the floor and the wine programme.” It’s been a busy time for the couple who co-founded Ampersand Eatery last year, three months after their son Alex was born.
Orakei Bay Village
Perched beside Father Rabbit and The Botanist, Ampersand Eatery is one stop from Britomart by train or there are 270 parks onsite (now free!). Open for breakfast, lunch, afternoon grazing and dinner it’s a delightful spot to relax imbibing a cup of joe or a glass of vino paired with delicious food.
“The menu is modern, damn tasty, on trend but approachable,” says Mikey. “It’s important to me that we keep our customers interested while delivering what they want. In the beginning, we had no end of requests for scones, so we added them and now I think we make the best scones in the area.”
An Outstanding Chef Pedigree
After qualifying as a chef in New Zealand Mikey worked in Melbourne with acclaimed restaurateur Andrew McConnell of Cumulus Inc, Supernormal and Cutler and Co. fame. Then came a stint in London at The Ledbury in Notting Hill, which is owned by Australian chef Brett Graham and has been the recipient of many accolades including best London restaurant several times.Mikey returned home to work with Ben Bayly at The Grove before becoming head chef at Bracu.
Ampersand & Espresso Workshop
It was a dream of Mikey and Amanda’s to establish their own restaurant so when Espresso Workshop was looking for partners to collaborate with it was the perfect opportunity.
The name Ampersand stems from Mikey reading an article several years ago by an American food blogger who was poking at hipsters about his boredom with the number of restaurants who used the ampersand symbol in their name. “So in this time of mumbling, texts, and Snapchat, I thought it was strong,” says Mikey.
Made From Scratch
“Ninety-five percent of everything we serve is made inhouse right down to the burger buns which are based on a brioche recipe I learned in Europe,” says Mikey. “And I’d put our puff pastry on a par with what you can find in Paris.”
The potato gnocchi and zucchini flowers are also standouts. “The gnocchi recipe originally came from a chef’s Italian grandmother, and it’s been passed down from chef to chef,” says Mikey. “We flipped it on its head—traditionally you don’t work gnocchi a lot but we work it so much it resembles pasta before adding goat’s cheese, fresh herbs and preserved lemon.”
The Rosé Factor
Couple that with a freshly roasted speciality coffee or first-rate wine. “Our wine list is thoughtful and accessible,” says Mikey. In keeping with the rosé zeitgeist, best-sellers include the sexy Domaine Houdart and New Zealand made Grava, as well as plenty of other varieties to choose from.
All Day Grazing
All in all. Ampersand Eatery is a delightful space—even dogs are invited on to the open deck. Fine food, exceptional coffee, fabulous wines, delicious dining, and free parking with well-behaved and respectful pooches welcomed. What’s not to like?
Amanda and Mikey would like to offer a mini-Christmas pudding to Verve readers when mentioning this article during the monthof December.*Ts + Cs apply.
*Subject to availability – One pudding per dining customer – Available from 02-12-18 to 31-12-18 – not available in conjunction with any other offer – not transferable.