This historic Hillsborough estate is now a hidden Mecca for food enthusiasts and lovers of contemporary art.
For gallery lovers and those who live in the Hillsborough area, you will likely have made the acquaintance of the historic Pah Homestead. Built in 1879, the grande dame has housed a gentlemen’s club, an orphanage, a primary school, and now the dignified manor is home to an impressive private art collection, the James Wallace Arts Trust, which showcases over 8000 rotating contemporary artworks collected since the 60s with an emphasis on emerging talent.
While the stately home, gallery and perfectly manicured grounds overlooking Monte Cecilia Park is more than enough reason to visit, there is now another element luring us to make the surprisingly short 15 minute drive across town for — a new eatery by the name of Homestead. Located on the ground floor, the new space is helmed by a talented trio: Conner Nestor and Charles Williams of Grafton’s Ceremony and a new addition, chef, food writer and cookbook author, Sam Mannering. Upon entry, you’ll notice that each wall features a curation of diverse pieces different to that of any other room in the house. Minimal yet tasteful accents of red, white and marble are smattered throughout the room in a design direction by Nick Sayes of Daniel Marshall Architects in collaboration with Nestor and Williams. However, it’s the terrace that will win your heart when it comes to seating. Whether rain or shine, the glossy white shaded deck overlooks the lush surrounds and the eye-catching sculptures dotted around the gardens.
The menu is inspired by what a treasured mentor once told Mannering: “it’s not what you can add to the dish, it’s what you can take away”. As such, expect to see soft Italian influences while remaining pared back and unfussy, like the utterly mouth-watering salt cod and parsley or silver beet and prosciutto bruschetta — both simple yet effective. And while the crumpets took a while to master, a divine balance of sponginess, chewiness and crispiness has been achieved. Other notables on the menu include the sweet lemon curd, labneh and fresh coconut, or the smoked kahawai, caper beurre blanc and parsley with a poached egg. Also on offer are fresh salads and delicious small plates, while those who’re keen to share can enjoy. The larger dishes encompass house terrine and kumara sourdough with fresh radish and nectarine chutney, or the lamb scottadito with white bean, cauliflower and rosemary purée and artichoke pesto, all ready to be accompanied by the concise yet adequate selection of wines on offer.
What’s more is that we hear this is merely the beginning. The team have set their sights on hosting monthly dinners, events, and opening on the weekends for dinner — one can only hope that these ideas come into fruition sooner rather than later. A cultural Mecca where food and art live in perfect harmony, we’re ecstatic to have so many reasons to visit this mesmerising Auckland property.
Tuesday to Friday: 8am-3pm
Saturday to Sunday: 8am-5pm
72 Hillsborough Rd