Orphans Kitchen reminds you just how delightful breakfast can be. You might have eaten dinner there since it opened a couple of years back – chef Tom Hishon takes a devilishly clever approach to simple and secondary ingredients, and the place is nicely casual without being sloppy. It’s lovely at night – small, with tongue-and-groove paneling and macrocarpa benchtops and stools with sheepskins on them – but by morning the place is awash with soft yellow light, which bounces off the walls and over your table. Of a weekday morning it could even be described as sedate.
The breakfast menu here doesn’t feature eggs benedict, and there is no chia seed bircher. Instead, Hishon takes the same approach to breakfast as he does to dinner – there are no rules, and very few things that are obviously breakfast but all of it is genius – as seen with the tenderly cooked sardine, served with horseradish and microgreens and a side of spelt toast that we ate recently: there was something faintly Swedish-ish about it. We also love the mushrooms with quark – multiple types of mushroom in a sticky dark broth with the tiniest blobs of quark and chervil. We should all eat soup for breakfast more often.
And there are some of the finest house-made crumpets ever produced, anywhere – they are big and almost cake like: chewy and slightly yeasty and they come with honey from the restaurant’s hives. And, there is a dish of poached eggs on brioche toast with meyer lemon curd and an anchovy, the dish artfully darting between salty and sweet, crunchy and smooth. Genius. SFG
HOURS Wednesday to Friday from 7am, weekends from 8am.
ADDRESS 118 Ponsonby Road, Auckland, ph 378 7979.
COFFEE Supreme, naturally. There’s an espresso machine but they also serve a changing selection of single origin roasts in a Fetco filter, in a custom-made ceramic mug from Taus.