The Conch Kitchen does so well for it's size. You just don't expect the quality you get from the tiny wooden boxes that divide up the various sections of this record store/ kitchen/ café. The chef seems to enjoy exiting the kitchen and collecting dishes himself, almost just to see the satisfied faces of his customers.
We initially sit down to enjoy a coffee in the heart of Ponsonby, with outdoor seating we know we'll be able to enjoy a cigarette and a coffee with nice atmosphere. We order our various caffeine injected beverages and the guy taking our order quickly lets us know it's his first day. We aren't impatient, in fact it's a beautiful Saturday and we have all the time in the world. The coffees comes surprisingly early and we enjoy a few cigarettes.
As we read the menu, we're seriously surprised. Everything looked really good. Straight away the first item on the lunch menu stood out. The Arepas. Conch is South American themed from the record genre sections to the staff and the Chef's thick accent conveys the insurance that your food is going to be some kind of authentic.
The Arepas were pan-fried circular slices of cornbread with various fillings. You have your choice of three fillings and it's so hard to choose, we ended up going with 'braised organic lamb shoulder and green apple mint slaw', as well as, 'Organic pork carnitas with smoked cheddar & Pickles.
Wow, it was so delicious. The first thing to note is the authentic taste, it's actually like you've ordered some traditional food from a South American truck on the side of the road in Venezuela. I thought I had a fair idea of what cornbread tasted like, but the chef cooked it in such a different way to the traditional American styles I'm accustomed to. Although I only had enough for lunch, I certainly intend to head back and sample the rest of the menu. This food is of a very high standard.
Image: Kevin Smith.