First Look: Miann Britomart
Words by Kate Richards, photos by Alice Harbourne.
Brian Campbell says that being back in Britomart feels like coming home. He launched his New Zealand career at Hip Group’s Milse in the downtown precinct before opening his own Fort St store Miann, with his partner Roselle 10 months ago. Miann’s overwhelming success has led to the creation of a spacious new patisserie neighbouring two of Auckland’s most upmarket stores, Chanel and the soon-to-be-open Tiffany & Co.
Though the space doubles as an office lobby for lucky corporates upstairs, it’s a far cry from the ubiquitous ground floor Coffee Club or Gloria Jeans. Exposed brick and raw timber floors give that cool loft vibe, the worn aesthetic made new by Peddle Thorp Architects with a glossy Tiffany blue feature wall and matte black furnishings. Behind the counter sit rows of candy coloured ceramics, made by Peter Collis. Dozens of clover leaf-shaped mesh lampshades hang low from the ceiling like honeycomb and the sweet smell of chocolate hangs in the air.
Before they knew what Miann 2.0 would be, the couple had visions of a hot chocolate bar. Expanding on their original idea – and not wanting to be limited – a chocolate theme emerged. There are cabinets full of high sheen desserts, made fresh each day at the Fort St premise and transported to Britomart late at night. Intricate gateaux, macaroons and gelato sticks line the shelves, in addition to handmade doughnuts and little jars of dragees. Already on the menu are nine different hot chocolates and 20 types of Valrhona chocolate, with more to come.
What’s most exciting about this new opening is that Roselle and Brian have been working behind the scenes with Valrhona for months. Come January, the couple will have their own unique cocoa to play with. The finished product will be a multi-origin blend of African and South American beans and will incorporate “the flavours that Kiwis love”. Combining the acidity of sauvignon blanc or a bright coffee, vanilla notes and a toasty finish, the Campbells’ new chocolate will lend itself to being used in a wide range of desserts. You’d hope so, since just getting it made meant the couple had to commit to ordering a tonne of beans. A LITERAL TONNE OF CHOCOLATE. Just let that sink in.
Miann’s flagship store on Fort St will remain open, focused on seasonal, fruit-centric desserts and plated a la carte options. Over at the new store, there’s plenty of tasting and development to be done. Apparently it never gets old having to sample those delicious treats, though their teeth must take a hammering. Luckily for Brian and Roselle, there’s now a dentist just around the corner.
36-38 Customs St East
021 261 8172