SET UP & SITE
It's not quite 10am but it's too hot to move. We'd parked at MacKelvie St, guesstimating that number 282 would be about mid-point along Ponsonby Rd. So we meander along like tourists, past the empty tables outside SPQR, past the scaffolding-encased Dizengoff and Mekong Baby and on towards Three Lamps. The "Hyde" should be "Hide". Because you'll find it in a courtyard, flanked by radiology lab, a hair salon and an eyewateringly top-end Ponsonby fashion store. There's no traffic or tooting horns. It's quiet, just two other tables of two, while we're there. But what a find. It's a little garden paradise bathed in sunlight. Now they're fully licensed, they plan to extend their hours and their menu to include dinner. If you can't countenance an outside table, it's coolly elegant inside.
SUSTENANCE & SWILL
Being a lover of good eggs, I always find my eye frequently locks on that brunch option. There is one here that starts at a staggeringly affordable (by Ponsonby cafe standards) $11. You can build your classic brekkie from there, adding mushrooms, bacon or avocado. But game is at the forefront here, and their signature dish is a meaty treat — a reuben-style open sandwich ($18). Apparently they fly out the door and it's not surprising. Served on toasted rye, the corned beef is fall-apart tender, and topped with melted edam, pickles, coleslaw, mustard mayo and potato sticks. Chris has the game rillette ($18), which is wild rabbit that is confit in duck fat for two hours then added to slow-roasted wild boar and served with apple jelly, a mesclun salad and the most glorious sourdough toast. We share mouthfuls, compliment each other for our good calls. Considering the inventiveness of the menu and the exquisite rendering of their ideas, this is great bang for your brunch buck. There is also a vegetarian option and, on Ponsonby market day, they set up the barbie outside and grilled octopus, which they served with potatoes and chorizo salsa. Yum. It's actually too hot for coffee, so we go straight to the wine list. I choose the Millton chardonnay ($12) and Chris has a Palliser riesling ($10). Afterwards, in the interests of research, Chris finishes with a solid macchiato. Their coffee is sourced from the South Pacific, Central and South America.
SERVICE & OTHER STUFF
It's not pedestrian, in any sense of the word. The atmosphere and the service is fabulous. Once we're seated, they bring menus and water. Also, if you can't leave the fur baby home alone, they offer dog tucker and puppy parking. For those other babies you can't fit in your handbag, there's a kids menu, which includes a Little Hyde Sandwich, schnitzel and other goodies, from around $8. They also do takeaway, but you'd really want to stick around to enjoy that courtyard.