Whether you’re on the lookout for your next lunch catch up with the girls, or you’re like me, simply curious when it comes to anything food related and devour Urban list articles like there is no tomorrow, then this is the post for you.
We decided last month to revisit some of our old and new favourite lunch and brunch spots around central Auckland to inspire you foodies to get out there and eat your heart out this summer! Let us know some of your favourite lunch spots in the comments below!
Set on the ground floor within an airy loft building on the outskirts of city centre, Winona Forever is the gem of Parnell’s brunch spots. The spacious glass panned interior is coolly atmospheric. Hanging plants and vibrant flowers inject colour and warmth into the space. Not to mention the warm smell of sugar dusted baked goods and bloated pastries wafting from the glass cabinet to complete the ambience.
We sat on one of the benches clustered with vases of flowers, magazines and fruit bowls. Perched on wooden stools, we sat sipping on our cold pressed juices while we watched the sun flitter through the glass and cars chugging through the almost suburban like road. With Britomart just a fifteen minute walk away, the place is always packed with a throng of city dwellers and workers looking for a little city detox.
I order the Eton Rifle that day, and Linda ordered the Ladyboy, the cabinet tempted us to later split a Macadamia cheesecake. The portions were more than generous, I struggled through the mound of whipped cream and the extra bacon that I had regrettably added on to my order.
The Eton Rifle was a giant fluffy French toast base, softly puffed and sitting under a mound of whipped cream, fresh berries, a scatter of crispy meringue and a sprinkle of vibrant flower petals. The Ladyboy was a crumbed prawn benedict on a chilli brioche with with poached eggs swimming in a pool of tom yum hollandaise sauce. Both were equally filling and let me reiterate, almost impossible to finish if your appetite, like mine, is the size of an ant’s.
It’s a beautiful and might I add the most ‘grammable brunch spot on our list. Each dish is served and presented with flourish and care. It’s the place for long catch ups with old friends and new ones. Set against Parnell’s urban neighbourhood, with a street lined with cafes, restaurants and dessert shops, Winona is not one to miss!
Billed as a bar, terrace and kitchen, Pilkingtons is downtown’s hot spot boasting a mediterranean inspired set up. It’s elegance is understated with long sleek panes of glass, steel and wood; the space is livened with leafy greens and swathes of floral furnishing evoking quaint English countryside charm. In the daytime, sunlight warms the outside terrace where diners can share their meals while basking under the sun. The place comes alive at night, as the faint glow of lights emit from the hollows glass globed lights strung on the ceiling. It’s the perfect spot to bring a significant other to share an intimate night of conversations.
We ordered from their lunch menu that day to sample a variety of dishes from starters to desserts and of course a drink each. For starters we had the rye waffle and duck parfait, the beautiful bite sized parfait serving was rich and creamy on the tongue. For the mains, Linda opted for the lamb rump which was sliced in tender pieces on the plate, the meat still plump and blood red. I had the fish of the day garnished with turnip slices with a side of potato mash. We also devoured a side of fries with a generous dollop of miso mayonnaise.
Overall, Pilkingtons’ refined ambience is perfect for those seeking an upmarket yet relaxed dining experience. The location is widely popular as a wedding venue for those seeking an intimate botanical flair to their wedding. We love it for a cosy catch up close to uni and a classy dining experience if you’re looking to splash out.
Tucked under a canopy of fairy lights in Britomart’s most upscale dining and shopping precinct Ortolana is the city’s contemporary bistro offering a salivating selection of organically sourced dishes keeping aligned with the restaurant’s philosophy from “garden to fork”.
The thriving Britomart precinct boasts an impressive list of fine dining and cafe options, yet the charmingly rustic and utterly contemporary restaurant has won its position as one of our favourite dining spots. The interior is fitted out with an open kitchen with gleaming pots and colourful jars of preserves decorating the shelf. It’s an inviting interior meant to evoke a sense of homeliness that is offset against the polished wooden furnishing and sleek glass table. The seats are strewn with linen pillows and woolen blankets, and dangling overhead are bauble shaped lights with its contrasting aesthetics.
On the day, we ordered the Agria gnocchi, scampi, tomato, chilli, cultured cream; Crayfish ravioli, bisque butter, preserved lemon, fennel; and Market fish with garden harvest. For drinks, Linda and I both washed down our meals with the freshly squeezed carrot, ginger, orange, apple and turmeric juice. For my dish, the soft morsels of gnocchi was heavenly in texture and together with tender scampi pieces flavoured with this creamy tomato based sauce sharpened with a hint of chilli, it’s the dish I can see myself ordering again and again.
Overall, I love the authenticity that Ortolana invites with their fresh sustainable approach to food. It’s the go to downtown lunch spot for catching up with girlfriends, grabbing a juice break or the next spot to plan your romantic interlude. It’s a cosy escape from the University libraries if you want to plunk your laptop down on one of the glass tables and grab a coffee or two. To satisfy your sweet teeth, their sister dessert shop Milse is just across from Ortolana. They serve delicious pops of freshly whipped gelato sticks and a selection of cabinet desserts to tickle your sweet tooth craving.
Photographed by Linda Li and Ashley Yuan
Photography edited by Linda Li
Written by Ashley Yuan