First look: Siostra
By Catherine McGregor. Photos by Ken Downie.
When Esther Lamb announced she was leaving hospitality to practice law, the sobs could be heard across the city. At a string of Ponsonby restaurants – including SPQR, Stella, and Sunday Painters, where she worked alongside co-owners Isobel Thom and James Kirkwood (and her sister Beki Lamb in the kitchen) – Esther was known for her unflappable charm and infallible instinct for the kind of food Aucklanders want to eat right now.
Lucky for us, her sabbatical didn’t last long. “I missed the humour of restaurants. There’s not much laughter in law.” And she missed working with Beki. Enter Siostra, the Lamb sisters’ new restaurant on the old Delicious site in Grey Lynn. The sisterly bond runs deep at Siostra, from the Polish name (it means what it sounds like) to the John Reynolds artwork in the dining room. Its title? “Seven Sisters”.
Other changes: a new bar area, where diners can wait for a table (Siostra won’t be taking reservations) or drop in for a drink, maybe some charcuterie. Beki’s menu is divided into “Now” (snacky things like devils on horseback or oysters), “Soon” (salads and small dishes), “Later” (mains, including char-grilled T-bone steak with a crab and smoked cheese-stuffed jalapeno pepper, and lamb ribs with hummus and harissa) and “After” – we’re drooling at the thought of the deep-fried apple pie with dulce de leche ice cream.
For a neighbourhood joint, Siostra’s opening hours are ambitious: 11am – 11pm on weekdays, and from 9am on weekends for brunch – try to nab the gorgeous courtyard table out the back.
472 Richmond Rd
Ph 09 360-6207