This newly renovated seaside hotspot has us hot-footing to the Eastern Bays for brunch through to a late-night dinner.
Saint Heliers isn’t the same old sleepy seaside Auckland suburb it used to be. Just ask owners of the brand new waterfront eatery, Porch — Adnan Mutlu-Ross and Rachel Gesta. “There are more professionals and young families than there used to be,” Mutlu-Ross says, having observed as much in his 12 years as a local resident and business owner. “People want something polished yet approachable and casual. At the end of the day, it has to be social.” Thus the transformation from what was formerly Kahve — a tired cafe in dire need of titivation — into the slick new bistro that has taken its place.
There’s no denying Porch’s drawcard is its view. From the wraparound balcony, Rangitoto is essentially within arm’s reach. And on a stellar day, much like the one we visited, it’s hard not to feel as though you’re still on summer vacay with only the languid pulse of the picturesque Eastern suburb to go by. But location hasn’t left the owners resting on their laurels. “It had to be done,” said Mutlu-Ross explaining the inevitability of the revamp. The only problem was trying to lock in builders to do the work. When the opportunity came up late last year, the couple jumped on it, installing a whole new bar and kitchen area; establishing a singular, glass-fronted entrance; installing new lighting, applying a fresh lick of paint and, of course, renaming it.
The overhaul has given way to an enticing line-up of sharing dishes, large and small, featuring fresh renditions of salmon poke with edamame, quinoa and pickled daikon; platters of spiced pork tacos and chicken larb lettuce cups, and a roasted beetroot salad with baby carrots, pomegranate, and goat’s cheese croquettes. And that’s just their lunch menu. When asked what was most exciting about the change, Gesta alluded to their dinner service — a function forgone by Porch’s wary predecessor. Now, as twilight approaches, this prime spot on the Saint Heliers strip beckons with the promise of excellent, fresh food and an elevated spot for evening drinks.
Monday – Friday: 10am till late
Saturday & Sunday: 9am till late
1 Saint Heliers Bay Road