Set up & site: It's a straightforward Scandi rectangle of a room, cool, stony, monochromy. Perfectly matching pale wood tables line up precisely, the tabular uniformity interrupted only by a communal stone table at the end of the long space. It's on the ground floor of a lovely new timber-heavy complex called Wynyard Central. Running the show are brothers Charles and Patrick Williams, who formerly worked together at now-defunct Grafton joint Ceremony, which was a tiny, cool slice of genius in an area that craved it.
Sustenance & swill: The simplicity of the surroundings contrasts with the detailing of the food. We ordered a health bowl ($25) which was indicative. It included shredded courgette, avocado, honeycomb mushroom, poached egg, miso dressing, mirin-cured salmon and the plate's most striking feature: a pair of sweet-savoury house-made rice crisps presented like a couple of upright poppadoms, a deliciously crisp and vertical contrast to the healthy pile of horizontal moisture below. More traditionally, we also had poached eggs on kumara sourdough with bacon and avocado ($23) but even in this dish's simplicity there was obvious care and attention. Take the light, slightly sweet, pale butter, for instance: they make it by whipping the cream, leaving it overnight, whipping it again, then sprinkling it with rock salt, creating a small, soft, semi-caramelised wonder. The eggs were perfect, the sourdough a delight, the bacon — from hand-raised, freedom-farmed pigs at Wairarapa's Grassy Knolls Bacon — subtle, the presentation artful. We finished with a very good blueberry muffin, which was full of flavour, light and fluffed inside, with a presumably uneconomically vast quantity of blueberries. The coffee, from Flight, was a gutsy, aggressive roast with the merest whiff of darkest chocolate. It was a morning gut-punch of zest and flavour.
Service & other stuff: On the day we visited, a weekday morning, it was heavily staffed and not so heavily patronised — although there was a strong takeaway coffee trade — and service was prompt and comprehensive. Our food arrived so fast it was hard to believe they'd even had time to cook it.