Luke’s Kitchen

Surfer boys flipping pizzas draw in locals and weekend warriors alike at Luke's Kitchen.

Venture down the line, veering from Thames towards the Coromandel and you’ll find the breezy seaside village of Kuaotunu, home to Luke’s Kitchen, a beach bar and eatery with a million dollar view. What started off as local Luke Reilly’s way of satisfying hungry local surfers with quick bites out of the side of a van, has evolved into a thriving hub of live music and killer fresh food that would rival the best of Bondi or Venice Beach. Sourced shabby chic furniture and re-purposed surf boards complete the surf shack look and feel, with a traditional wood fire oven at its heart.

Open from morning right through till late at night, the space feels alive regardless of when you visit, however the main event at this local-frequented spot is the pizza. The pizzas are topped with seasonal produce grown at the local vegetable patch, and ‘Pacific Chix’ is a particular standout with coconut chicken, courgette, onion, preserved lime, kaffir and coriander. And seeing as fresh fish and other seafood caught by local fishermen is delivered straight from the boat to the kitchen, you’d be silly to turn down a steaming bowl of chowder or a plate of salt & pepper squid.

Come at dusk and you’ll be treated to sunset skies, or stop in on your way to the beach in the morning and order a locally roasted brew from Coffee Lala next door (they share the space with Luke’s Kitchen), before tucking into oven-cooked Spanish eggs or crepes with grilled banana and bacon.

Luke’s Kitchen is already a treasured hang out over summer for the peckish who’ve been let in on a local secret. And don’t be deterred by the arrival of Jack Frost, this local will be lighting up the coastline throughout winter too. We guaranteed you’ll leave one happy camper.

Luke's Kitchen

20 Blackjack Road
Kuaotunu
Whitianga

(07) 866 4480

www.lukeskitchen.co.nz

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La Femme Fleur flower truck

Stop and smell the roses at this spiffy new flower mobile.

It may have started with food, but the mobile phenomenon has now spread far and wide, and the latest local entrant is a flower truck by the name of La Femme Fleur. It’s the work of Milly Austin, a florist previously of Newmarket’s Cartier for Flowers, who wished for a more flexible approach to selling her favourite blooms.

Selling flowers hot off the back of a shiny white customised van, La Femme Fleur has made Cox’s Bay home for now. After visiting the flower markets at first light, Milly then makes her way to her seaside spot, setting up at 9am every morning (apart from Sunday), selling fresh stems right through to 6pm, or until there are no more to buy. While the selection of blooms changes with the season, Milly likes to make sure that repeat local customers can swing by to pick up their favourite flowers week in and week out, and on our morning visit, there were ample amounts of hydrangeas, roses, lilies and alstroemeria to choose from.

La Femme Fleur will no doubt quickly acquire a loyal fan base of those who are in need of a bit of flower power.

If you would like to make a special order of some kind, contact Milly directly via email here.

La Femme Fleur

Cox's Bay car park
Westmere

022 077 5326

www.lafemmefleur.co.nz

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Goodness Gracious Café

The staple food of New Yorkers has a new home at Goodness Gracious café.

There are only a mere handful of places in this city that bagel lovers would consider stopping in at for this delicious doughy snack, the latest of which is Goodness Gracious, a café and bagelry in Eden Terrace that’s dishing up plenty of bagel-centric menu options.

The daytime haunt is the brainchild of Greg Cornes, a self-professed bagel lover who first came up with the concept after a stint working for a cafe in Melbourne. The space is narrow, long and suitably urban, exactly the type of place where one wants to sip on great coffee and munch on rings of baked dough. A black and white colour palette dominates the interior, with glossy white tiles, concrete floors, brick walls and metal detailing found throughout. Outside, a scattering of stools by local furniture designer Sam Lennon can be found for coffee drinkers to perch on, while inside smaller tables line one wall.

It feels like practically every type of bagel is on offer here, from the classic to the creative. We vote ‘The Wilbur’ as the pick of the lot, with pulled pork, slaw and a tangy apple relish going down a treat. Also of note is the hearty ‘Bagel Burger’, a novel creation that combines two of our favourite fast foods into one mega morsel. A house made beef pattie is slathered with HP sauce, topped with bacon, rocket, tasty cheese and tomato. It’s utterly delicious, adding an unexpected dimension with satisfying chew and texture.

Coffee is kept simple, but good, and there are salads, other baked goods and smoothies to choose from too. The salted caramel and peanut butter smoothie-milkshake deserves a slurp, and further down the track, Greg hopes to be open late as a wine bar too.

Goodness Gracious is open seven days, and we’re predicting plenty of repeat visits from those keen to get their fix of this iconic American snack.

Goodness Gracious

2A New North Road
Eden Terrace
Auckland

(09) 368 5800

www.goodnessgracious.co.nz

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