A hidden sun trap and new lunch menu awaits diners at Orphans Kitchen.
Believe it or not, a space in which to soak up the afternoon rays is surprisingly hard to come by in this city, especially if you happen to be lurking about Ponsonby Road. So the arrival of a spacious outdoor courtyard at Orphans Kitchen was met with unbridled enthusiasm.
Smaller establishments can often hide the greatest treasures, as is the case with this secluded spot. Walk through the main dining room at Orphans Kitchen, squeeze down a covered alleyway, and you’ll come across a slice of al fresco perfection; its fit out wholly uniform with everything else we’ve come to associate with the eatery. Wooden bench seating frames one half of the space, complimented by low tables made for resting drinks and several drooping Elm trees to provide dappled shade for those in need. It feels like an entirely separate world in which to gather with friends, after all what’s not to love about a sunny courtyard?
In a match made in dining heaven, the eatery’s new lunch menu is made for such sun-spoiled surrounds. Having recently opened for lunch exclusively on Thursdays and Fridays only, it has us musing of whole afternoons spent away from the desk, yet knowing the team here; a brief lunch is just as achievable.
The menu operates on the premise that a great midday meal has the power to lift the afternoon like no breakfast could. There’s that same emphasis on fresh produce we’ve come to respect from the kitchen here, albeit tailored to the lunching crowd. Of particular note is the skirt steak with cabbage, seeded mustard and heirloom tomatoes. It’s satisfying in a way that your home brought lunch will never be, and we’ll hedge bets that if a particularly icy client needs wooing, this is the dish that’ll help you thaw them out. For cooler days there’s an indulgent risotto, with butternut, yolk, parmesan and truffle, or if your preference is for a swift bite, the bruschetta with avocado, buffalo curd and black garlic gets our vote. And if alcoholic beverages are off limits to wash it all down, one can choose between rhubarb iced tea, house made Meyer lemonade and the house ginger beer.
It appears that Orphans Kitchen now has both our days and evenings sorted, and with vinyl records set to spin on Friday and Saturday evenings, it looks like the revelry could extend well into the night. Cheers to that.
118 Ponsonby Road
(09) 378 7979