Category Archives: Drink

Ponsonby Road Bistro: first time visit, won’t be the last

I don’t know why but we had never been to PRB – until last Saturday night that is. Rebecca is a regular there and it has always been on my (ice) bucket list haha.

So there we were, party of six, with our southern visitors Pork & Ant.

We got there at 7 – early enough to be able to negotiate a table in the front section which was great because I like light and open! We had a few minutes before the rest of the party arrived so sat up at the bar for our first drink – always a pleasant thing to do.

Service was prompt and friendly. A bottle of Taittinger Brut Reserve NV for a little celebration to start  with followed by excellent breads and fantastic chicken liver pate with chutney & toast

I’m always interested in restaurants that have sardines on the menu – many in Europe, not so many here. I like sardines (from the tin mind you) mixed with vinegar, spread on toast, cheese on top, grilled and then with a spread of mustard pickles. Divine. Most people go oooh! But I digress.

So I ordered the sardine (one biggie) which was very tasty and I enjoyed the flavour blend – it had been marinated in bay, lemon, garlic & paprika and was served on a slice of Catalan tomato bread. The others shared a couple of calamari entrees. No sharing of the sardine I’m afraid!!

Entree cropped

By this stage the champagne bottle was sitting upside down in the ice bucket so while the others had a red and a white I opted for English cider (Aspall Crisp Suffolk Draught) which comes in a 500 ml bottle and which I found very refreshing. I’d only really started drinking cider when we were in England in July and I find it a most agreeable alternative.

For a main I had the chargrilled scotch fillet with chunky chips and a parsley-garlic butter which I thoroughly enjoyed as did the other three carnivores. Pork & Deb had the miso & sesame crusted Stewart Island salmon with a salad of asparagus, broccoli & soba noodles and cucumber- yuzu-ginger-soy dressing which they declared superb. (sorry but remembered to take the photo well after I’d started!!)

Main cropped

By this stage of the evening the sun light had disappeared and the restaurant lighting kicked in so it was necessary to use one of the most important apps on the iPhone – the flashlight haha – to read the dessert menu. As I was perusing the menu I was distracted by a beam of light from behind. Turned around and there was an old mate pointing his torch at me – so I’m not the only one to use this approach!!

Actually it’s the “puddings” menu (love it when they call them puddings!!). It’s short in length but packed with tempting variety. However it was an easy choice for me and, while the others shared two puddings, I went for the (not shared) warm Valrhona chocolate pudding with chocolate sauce & crème fraiche. Heaven.Dessert cropped

It was a lovely evening and Blair has perfected a menu/service combo that has seen this award winning bistro stand the test of time. And we had excellent and friendly service from Jay our Welsh waiter.

We’ll be back.


Orphans Kitchen: It’s fantastic – if you’re game!

We’ve been meaning to go to this new Ponsonby Rd eatery for some time now having been given a voucher for my bday!

So we went last Friday night and what a treat. Tom & Josh have done a wonderful job with the set up. I love the high tables & stools – it gives it a communal eating feel which is quite European but Kiwis don’t seem as keen on it, as you are, in effect, sharing what is a cosy space. More on that later.


It’s a small menu with 4 “smallers” and 4 “largers” and 2 desserts but this was not a problem. It was a menu which with my choices proved to be quite gamey and delightfully so.

For smallers Deb had the ora smoked salmon, celeriac, granny smith and horseradish which she pronounced as somewhere between delicious and sublime. I had the alpine merino tortilla, feijoa, millet & sheep’s milk yoghurt which I pronounced delectable. You don’t come across hogget on a menu very often but it was beautifully cooked and of a mild gamey flavour which made the dish quite unique. Sorry about the photo below – I’d eaten the first tortilla before I remembered to take the photo!!


For mains, sorry largers, Deb had the beef rump with aubergine, black garlic & backa which was very tasty. I had one of the tastiest meals I have ever had with the wild boar boilup, kumara, doughboys, watercress and flax seeds. It was sensational. Served in a large bowl in the cooking juices, they give you a spoon to get the last drop. Again, on the nice side of gamey, or was that pleasantly smokey.


There were two sides to choose from so we had one of each: Tina’s wedge salad and kumara chips with smoked sour cream. The wedge salad is in the photo above – Tina had obviously smashed open the iceberg lettuce and poured a delicious dressing over it.

Two desserts so we had one of each. A divine dark Valrhona chocolate, tamarillo, black cardamon and …oops took a photo of the dessert menu and missed out the bit after “and” haha, and a TDF Banofee with young coconut and banana.

Choccy Pud

Banofee Pud

For me the meal was 11 out of 10. Such wonderful tastes and eclectic combinations. Friendly and attentive service (thanks Ana) and it was nice to see Josh on the floor serving and chatting – you don’t see enough of that in Ponsonby restaurants – but that’s another subject for a blog posting!! And I did a quick trip to the kitchen to thank Tom and team for the wonderful meal – not enough of that done either!

Oh and back to those communal tables. We had 3 couples on ours and we ended up having a most interesting chat to the ones nearest us. You can if you want to or not if you don’t. Sometimes it’s nice to share a conversation as well as a table.

And finally Tom tells me they’ll be changing the menu soon. I said leave the boilup on the menu or there’ll be trouble!!

Can’t wait to go back.

VOP: Wow Al Brown you’ve done it again with Federal Deli

VOP: Wow Al Brown you’ve done it again with Federal Deli

We’ve ventured outside Ponsonby again – this time to try Al Brown’s new Federal Deli. And we loved it. Sunday night was probably a good time to try it as we had no problem getting a table. Super friendly and attentive service with the water poured literally as we sat down.

For starters we shared amongst 4 of us MEAT SCHTICKS (pea & pastrami croquettes w/ habanero mayo) and SMOKED KAHAWAI CAKES (w/ NZ wasabi & lime mayo) – plenty to go around. And the water kept coming!

For mains we shared SPIT-ROAST CHICKEN (half bird) and VEAL SCHNITZEL (w/ sage & lemon) – again enough for 4. The schnitzel was the best I’ve tasted. And the water kept coming!!

Fed 3

And for dessert we shared NY CHEESECAKE and LEMON MERINGUE PIE. And still the water kept coming!!!

Couldn’t fault anything. It’s casual but efficient, that is, the good part of efficient.

We’ll be back there for breakfast soonest. Well why wouldn’t you with these yummies on offer:

MORNING GLORY breakfast salad w/ haloumi, portobello, poached egg & dukkah GRIDDLE CAKES blueberry buttermilk pancakes w/ cinnamon butter & strudel crunch LATKES crispy potato w/ salmon lox, crème fraiche & dill TREYF pickled pork, poached eggs & horseradish hollandaise on rye SMOKED HASH smoked mullet w/ fresh herbs & poached eggs MISH-MASH pastrami hash w/ poached egg

And finally they’ve got these wicked postcards with a brilliant tag line: Raising Auckland’s cholesterol since 7am

Fed 1

What’s not to love. Well worth crossing the border for!!

To market, to market

Over the last couple of years a lot of new food stores have opened that encourage the daily trip to the market to buy fresh produce so reminiscent of the European life style and I love it. Nosh has been around a while and do it well and Farro just off Richmond Rd has added an exciting new dimension. A special mention here for their coffee. They’ve got Supreme and Allpress and their baristas are very friendly. And they do a mean “sub” sandwich on Fridays.

As well as great restaurants Ponsonby Central offers fresh fruit and veges in a market setting and the long established Bhana Bros on P Rd have responded to the challenge, refurbished and expanded their range of food products. And they sell a wicked bunch of flowers.

And speaking of Ponsonby Central the Produce Market opened last weekend and it is fantastic. Amongst other things we bought Top Shelf’s Beetroot & Onion Feta Spread – soo yummy. And I couldn’t talk about Ponsonby Central without mentioning Tim and the boys & girls at Neat Meat – what a great job they do and so friendly. We’ve taken our own marinade along and they’ve vacuum packed it with the butterfly lamb. Brilliant

What’s not to love about living in Ponsonby?Beetroot spread