Photographs: David Straight
Odettes is in the City Works Depot, in a lovely high-ceilinged industrial former bus workshop, all steel beams and huge windows and a door that opens right across the front. To this, owners Clare and Joost van den Berg – they started Zus & Zo – have added handmade tiles, Japanese-ish fabrics, oiled timber and delicate blown-glass lights. It is an exercise in softness and texture and it kind of shouldn’t work in such an industrial space – and yet it does.
The food is fabulous: loosely plated and generous. There’s a brilliant saffron tortellini ($23) with yoghurt curd and green chilli and a Middle-Easternish lamb shoulder (half for $40 or whole for $69 – half is plenty) designed for sharing with tahini, chickpeas and radish – falling apart, slightly unctuous in the good way. We can highly recommend the wild mushroom, served with a mushroom doughnut and whipped feta ($17). The wagyu rump steak is perfectly cooked, beautifully charred on the outside and just past medium rare on the inside, served with a rouille, wild mushrooms and basil – an exercise in simplicity, though we question why it has to be wagyu. It’s magnificent – and good on them for serving rump – but it’s also $39, and sometimes you feel like steak but you don’t want to pay $39. (We also recently had incinerated broccoli and bullet-like chickpeas, though we’re putting these down to teething troubles because they have been very busy since the day they opened.)
Service is swift and efficient, the servings are large and the light is beautiful, so it is the kind of place you drop in at any time of the day, for coffee or breakfast or dinner – though it is best at night. You sit there with the doors wide open on a steamy Auckland evening, and the breeze tufts around you – you could be anywhere but you would mostly just like to be there. In short, it feels like how this city is meant to be. SFG
HOURS Open seven days breakfast and lunch; dinner Tuesday to Saturday.
ADDRESS Shed 5, City Works Depot, 90 Wellesley St, ph 309-0304. odettes.co.nz
IMPORTANT DETAILS No bookings.