Step into Orphans Kitchen for a slightly offbeat but homely bite to eat.
Orphans Kitchen is an unassuming addition to Ponsonby Road’s dining scene. Situated in the old Ella café building next to Long Room, Orphans Kitchen pays tribute to the saying 'less is more', almost like you’ve stepped into your friends kitchen for a casual bite to eat. The simple, homely environment houses large communal dining tables as well as smaller tables and bar leaners. It’s casual, unpretentious and the food is superb. Chef Tom Hishon, previously of Clooney and pop-up The Hamptons, uses simple ingredients and unusual cuts of meat to give classic dishes a unique twist. Working with business partner and wine aficionado Josh Helm, the duo offers a beautiful, multi-layered approach to bistro dining.
The menu is small and concise and while the meals use simple ingredients, the subtlety and unusual flavour combinations hark back to Hishon’s fine dining background. We started with the yellowtail tuna belly with finely sliced radish, grapefruit and persimmon ($15). The combination of the sweet citrus with the fish was super light, fruity and refreshing. For the main we tried the wild boar boil up ($25), a hearty dish with kumara, doughboys, puha and flax seeds which had a surprisingly delicate flavour and seriously tender meat. We also had to try the ox cheek served on swede with black garlic and barley ($25) and a side of the roasted yams with smoked sour cream and lardo ($6). The meat was deliciously tender and full flavoured and the yams perfectly earthy and the sauce slightly tangy. For dessert we tried the banoffee ($14); a deliciously deconstructed, textural affair with passionfruit, coconut and banana.
Orphans Kitchen's wine list curated by Helm is extensive, with local drops sitting alongside a variety of international wines and a selection of tasty “bin ends”. There is a Mountford Estate Pinot Noir on tap and a few craft beers including a specially created Orphans Kitchen Pale Ale by Brothers Beer.
If you are after an affordable yet hearty bite to eat and are up for something slightly offbeat culinary wise, Orphans Kitchen isn’t one to miss.