A gar­den par­adise

Hide­away venue worth the hunt

Weekend Herald - Canvas - - BRUNCH -

SET UP & SITE

It’s not quite 10am but it’s too hot to move. We’d parked at MacKelvie St, guessti­mat­ing that num­ber 282 would be about mid-point along Pon­sonby Rd. So we me­an­der along like tourists, past the empty ta­bles out­side SPQR, past the scaf­fold­ing-en­cased Dizen­goff and Mekong Baby and on to­wards Three Lamps. The “Hyde” should be “Hide”. Be­cause you’ll find it in a court­yard, flanked by ra­di­ol­ogy lab, a hair sa­lon and an eye­wa­ter­ingly top-end Pon­sonby fash­ion store. There’s no traf­fic or toot­ing horns. It’s quiet, just two other ta­bles of two, while we’re there. But what a find. It’s a lit­tle gar­den par­adise bathed in sun­light. Now they’re fully li­censed, they plan to ex­tend their hours and their menu to in­clude din­ner. If you can’t coun­te­nance an out­side ta­ble, it’s coolly el­e­gant in­side.

SUS­TE­NANCE & SWILL

Be­ing a lover of good eggs, I al­ways find my eye fre­quently locks on that brunch op­tion. There is one here that starts at a stag­ger­ingly af­ford­able (by Pon­sonby cafe stan­dards) $11. You can build your clas­sic brekkie from there, adding mushrooms, ba­con or av­o­cado. But game is at the fore­front here, and their sig­na­ture dish is a meaty treat — a reuben-style open sand­wich ($18). Ap­par­ently they fly out the door and it’s not sur­pris­ing. Served on toasted rye, the corned beef is fall-apart ten­der, and topped with melted edam, pick­les, coleslaw, mus­tard mayo and po­tato sticks. Chris has the game ril­lette ($18), which is wild rab­bit that is con­fit in duck fat for two hours then added to slowroasted wild boar and served with ap­ple jelly, a mesclun salad and the most glo­ri­ous sour­dough toast. We share mouth­fuls, com­pli­ment each other for our good calls. Con­sid­er­ing the in­ven­tive­ness of the menu and the ex­quis­ite ren­der­ing of their ideas, this is great bang for your brunch buck. There is also a veg­e­tar­ian op­tion and, on Pon­sonby mar­ket day, they set up the barbie out­side and grilled oc­to­pus, which they served with pota­toes and chorizo salsa. Yum. It’s ac­tu­ally too hot for cof­fee, so we go straight to the wine list. I choose the Mill­ton chardon­nay ($12) and Chris has a Palliser ries­ling ($10). Af­ter­wards, in the in­ter­ests of re­search, Chris fin­ishes with a solid mac­chi­ato. Their cof­fee is sourced from the South Pa­cific, Cen­tral and South Amer­ica.

SER­VICE & OTHER STUFF

It’s not pedes­trian, in any sense of the word. The at­mos­phere and the ser­vice is fab­u­lous. Once we’re seated, they bring menus and water. Also, if you can’t leave the fur baby home alone, they of­fer dog tucker and puppy park­ing. For those other ba­bies you can’t fit in your hand­bag, there’s a kids menu, which in­cludes a Lit­tle Hyde Sand­wich, schnitzel and other good­ies, from around $8. They also do take­away, but you’d re­ally want to stick around to en­joy that court­yard. Sarah Daniell

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