With a relaxed feel, the Larder at Teed Street in Newmarket has high ceilings and is not too difficult to find off a side street from the main thoroughfare. I had initial expectations that this may look like a joint in Surry Hills, Bondi or Manly - and I was not too far off the mark. The menu has a modern fusion and new age over lay and under thought. Guest tables are nicely placed away from each other with generous space, unlike in most of the inner city restaurants and cafes in inner Sydney, across the Tasman. There is a long and wide counter, behind which is a wall with an amazing maze and honeycomb of rectangular or square shaped shelving. Cooked food still comes out through a traditional window from a closed off kitchen space, different from the see through design of several places in Melbourne and Sydney.
There is a young and energetic staff greeting guests as quick as they can and settling them in. The crowd I had on a weekday arvo comprised of a mixture of students, school holiday families, twenty something friends and people who have been shopping. I was impressed with my wait staff who suggested an early order for coffee in view of the many customers that day. The barista was head shaven and only focused on getting the cuppas out and ready to be served. It was a sunny aspect outside but there were not table settings there, possibly a practical idea in the middle of the Auckland winter. The Larder is sited away from the more concentrated foodie hub of Nuffield Street, which is nearer the Newmarket Westfield. I do find the retail outlets at Teed Street more interesting than those along Nuffield but maybe this is a just a personal preference. The nearby shops of Wallace Cotton and Edit also caught my attention, having been there before lunchtime.
Being in New Zealand, I had to choose something with lamb - and instead of the chunky and meaty servings of traditional Kiwi dishes, I opted for a new world dish of thin cuts of roasted lamb belly, mixed with harissa, asparagus, dukkuh, coriander yogurt and wild rice. There are sandwiches and pies on offer as well, including one with rabbit, leek, thyme and white wine fillings for the latter. Seafood was also on the menu on the day visited, with crispy skin snapper, salmon rillettes and grilled squid to warm the palate. What jumps out of choices here is the pig cheek and eggs, served on a sourdough with pumpkin puree and heirloom tomato. I truly loved my smoothie of spirulina, feijoa fruit and apple.
As with Flanagan's Dining Room in Thirroul north of Wollongong CBD, black puddings also emphasised here. Local sourced produce is best reflected in the Waikanae crab omelette, accompanied by an Asian mix of sambal, sweet soy and green onions for measure. Oh yes, the Larder has its own style of Eggs Benedict for breakfast or brunch, but with a choice of the popular smoked salmon or black pudding slices. I could not help notice an order of the brioche eggy bread at a nearby table, wonderfully a twist on the French toast and imaginatively provided with peanut, popcorn and salted caramel - maybe one for the kids? The granola is composed with pumpkin seed, yogurt, freeze dried fruit and cashew. If you are having a quick snack, do consider the slow roasted pig cheek, or the Larder version of a warm chicken salad, garnished with pine nuts, beetroot, cous cous and sheep feta. By now I got the idea - carefully chosen ingredients are selected from around the world, but mainly from the South Pacific, the ethnic migrant demographics of a new Auckland and the best of what the Land of the Long White Cloud can offer.