The Good Home bar and restaurant is everything a good pub-like enterprise should be. With two British parents, I grew up under the rafters of pubs and was raised on quality pub grub, so can genuinely vouch for the heart of this old soul of a shiny new establishment located on the once quiet streets of Normanby Road, Mount Eden.
There is by no means an absence of good food in our City of Sails, many fine dining restaurants and cafés can attribute to that. There is however, a space missing for the in-betweens, the family goers and homestyle diners. Those who don't fall into the categories of Ponsonby strollers, high-class rollers and young seekers who you would usually find in today's top restaurants. The Good Home creates that space, a retreat to where everyday people can flock. Bright coloured fire places, flamingo prints and an earthy styled kids area complete with Tui illustrations and chalk wall that made me wish I had been seated on that side of the restaurant. This creative space gives credit to the meaning behind the banner and creates an area that feels incredibly welcoming. It is a unique and nice change to find somewhere created for normal day-to-day people and families dining out, enjoying a meal, drink, relaxing music and atmosphere.
Kudos to the day time vibes but that isn't to say the evenings don't provide for an always well intended start or end to a night out. Local bands are on the agenda with not only space for a quiet (or loud) ramble and boogie, but a separate and lavishly decorated gentleman's lounge (the traditional meaning folks), more commonly known as the Balvenie Loungem, and for the ladies a wine and dine area.
Once inhabited by the weathered Cardrona Pub, the establishment has been outfitted as a classic bar and restaurant. A slick and classic paint job completed with open doors, a white picket fence and front garden boasting lemon trees, The Good Home really takes its country home style seriously; all the while inside is a different story. A bright pink staircase frames the bar which is decorated with bright bottles of liqueurs and piles of vintage books, for styling purposes of course. Greenery is pocketed into every nock and cranny, wall to ceiling. Wallpaper the colours of cranberry and jungle create a space which feels a lot like you are walking into a bookshop, an antique shop, a high end Briscoes and a Guthrie Bowron all at once. Although a little overwhelming at first, the atmosphere this creates is vibrant and fresh and even if this is a bit out of ones comfort zone, the food definitely brings peace of mind.
The Scottish born and Kiwi-made hosts plus their attentive checkered shirted staff humour my many a question and food requests, and after a fair amount of prodding, my date and I settle on a moderate three-course meal with a side or two of red wine. A chicken and creamy portobello mushroom pie was dabbled in. A few bites of the salt and peppered squid followed in which pieces of orange and mango made a delightful experience. More than a few bites of a classic chargrilled chicken burger were stolen and the temptation to order the Welsh rarebit - which is an intriguing sounding brunch or late lunch, consisting of mild cheddar combined with English mustard, Worchester sauce and eggs served with spiced chilli jam -w as seriously debated and sadly overcome. Although no starters appeared on the menu, the classic sides were made available. A relatively tame menu, but defiantly a step up from your generic bar small town restaurant nosh.
The overall feeling of this house made home was that it simply wasn't trying to be anything it was not. A genuine and humble establishment whose word of mouth marketing has already seen many a good guest through the doors.