Nov 7, 2014 Restaurants
By Catherine McGregor. Photos by Ken Downie.
Here at Metro, any new restaurant, wherever in Auckland, gets us excited. But we must admit an extra frisson of anticipation around the opening of Odettes Eatery, located next door to our office at City Works Depot. Since the closure of summertime pop-up Miss Pings, we’ve been peering through the window, impatient to see what sort of butterfly would emerge from the unprepossessing space officially known as Shed 5.
And now, finally, it’s open – and what a transformation. What was a gloomy, cavernous room is now bathed in light, thanks to a new glass frontage; cheap bamboo panelling has been replaced with bright teal paint and gorgeous handmade tiles. Owners Clare and Joost van den Berg mixed pieces collected from their travels with furniture from Auckland stockists including Simon James Design and The Vitrine.
The result is a warm and comfortable room that is, in terms of style, the polar opposite of the van den Bergs’ other eatery, the cleanly minimalist Zomer in Takapuna. The couple decided not to use an architect for the Odettes refit, but City Works Depot’s design guru Nat Cheshire provided back-up. “I’d meet with him every three or four weeks and we’d talk through options,” says Clare. “He really was a mentor to me in this project.”
The new kitchen is headed by Josh Kucharick, a Québécois Canadian who has worked in restaurants across Canada, in Bermuda and Dubai. His menu, divided into “morning”, “noon” and “night”, draws inspiration from Levantine food – you’ll spot lots of Middle Eastern flavours like chermoula, pomegranate and tahini – and includes plenty of seasonal produce and inventive, healthy options. The kitchen’s wood-fired oven gets put through its paces in dishes like the “to share” lamb shoulder, shown above, which Josh marinates for two days and braises for nine hours, before finishing on the grill and serving with tahini, fried chickpeas, baby carrots and pickled radish.
The vegetarian dishes, in particular, are a showcase for Josh’s clever combinations of texture and flavour: his wild mushroom dish served with whipped Persian feta and donuts made from dehydrated mushroom “flour” (also pictured above) is a knockout. At breakfast, alongside a range of cooked dishes, there are pastries and savouries to takeaway; at lunch, coming soon, there’ll be a small selection of sandwiches and salads to go.
Odettes Eatery is open from 7am on weekdays and 8am on weekends. Breakfast and lunch daily, dinner Tuesday – Saturday.
City Works Depot
90 Wellesley St
Ph 09 309 0304
From the Odettes Eatery menu
Tahitian Vanilla Crepes with lemon yoghurt, blueberry compote, mandarin sugar
Breakfast Burger with pork sausages, fried egg, crispy bacon on a brioche bun
Egg White Omelette with vine tomatoes, smoked eggplant and chermoula on dark rye
Beef Cheek Fritter with spiced red pepper, walnut, charred leek (5)
Vanuatu Prawn Steam Bun with avocado smash, lime, crisp shallot
Braised Lamb Flatbread with smoked eggplant, marinated feta, mint
Saffron Tortellini with yoghurt curd, spiced cashew, green chili
Charred Wagyu Rump with wild mushroom, rouille, basil
Tarte Tatin with caramelised pear, vanilla bean ice cream