Sure to Rise

It’s unlikely you’d just stumble across this spot in Wellington – you’d have to be told by someone to go there. They’ll say: go right down Left Bank Lane (no, not far enough, keep going… right down to the somewhat derelict end of the arcade) and look for the big orange S.  You’ve just struck gold. This is Starta Bread Kitchen – a beautifully-designed space, serving truly world-class breads and pastries.

Starta is the fresh-out-the-oven (refusing to say kitchen, because #RKelly) business baby of Catherine Adams, a Wellington-trained pastry chef who perfected her art in Sydney’s best restaurants, before returning home a few short years ago to start Wellington Sourdough. She supplies her bread (including her classic sourdough which has just three ingredients – local Wellington flour, Marlborough rock salt, and water from an artisanal spring in Petone) to Welly city’s best cafes and eateries. This year, she opened the doors to Starta – out back, the premises of Wellington Sourdough’s commercial kitchen and, out front, the most stunning little bread shop and bakery.

The fit-out is courtesy of the young design team at Proffer. The star of the space is the hopper room, featuring 8 massive grain holders that were sourced from Turkey (see pics above). Polished concrete floors and rough, raw concrete walls celebrate the traditional and industrial, while walls clad in fine vertical panels of American Cedar bring warmth and texture. The dimly-lit space has a sophistication you would never guess from your walk down that laneway – Spanish floor tiles and a white marble counter are just a couple of the elegant accents. When you eat Wellington Sourdough, you’re enjoying something that’s completely traditional and also leading-edge, and I think this interior champions both concepts beautifully.

While most of us are still asleep, Catherine is putting out the daily bread (and pastries)

The grain hopper wall – the hero of this stunning interior fit-out 

Spanish floor tiles alongside original industrial flooring

 American Cedar details mirror the circles and half circles that are a hallmark
of Wellington Sourdough’s brand identity


Imagery by Wellington freelance photographer Meg Wyper,
who actually sent me some Wellington Sourdough on an overnight courier. True friend.




Photography with thanks to Swift & Click

From the young trio that brought – I have to say it – the first decent serve of coffee to Taupo (with Storehouse)… their sophomore eatery Palace, a casual burger and cocktails joint in my hometown of Mount Maunganui.

Owners Sam King, and Melissa and Brad Dellar worked together on the 80’s new wave aesthetic (Brad designed the tables and bench seats for example), pulling in the talents of Brad’s Architect dad (Rosetta Stone Architects), and Design Dairy on the brand and graphic tip.

Fave bit for me: the grid theme running throughout. You know me, love a grid – and they’ve done it down to the last detail with the grid greaseproof paper your burger sits on.

Eat with your eyes, then make sure to visit next time you’re at the beach.


Palace Burger website     /   Instagram






I’ve been wanting to show you around this spot since its opening. Of course, it was that ultramarine blue (Pantone 072, perhaps?) that first caught my eye. The name’s on point, too – perfect name for a place where the blue is royal and the food and design are both big wins.

Champ is run by the two brothers behind Mt Eden’s loved RAD cafe, with interior design by Material Creative.

The interior is clean and contemporary, but also serves you a little 80’s American diner vibe, with some nostalgic nods to my New Zealand childhood – especially the plastic food trays, and the special menu of Toasties cooked in the classic triangle toastie machine. These ain’t your mums toasties, though. ‘Spaghetti & Sausage’ is really Pokeno Toulouse pork sausage, with a housemade pasta swimming in rich tomato sauce spiked with loads of fresh herbs, and the humble cheese toastie is an oozy 15-month gruyere with truffled butter, mustard, onion and chives. Maybe chase with one of the vanilla bean donuts they bake fresh every morning. Uber Eats to Mount Maunganui pls?

Champ offers espresso blends from Rocket that are created especially for them, and they also serve their current favourite single-origin filter brew.

Things noticed and loved: mint green staff shirts (love the choice of a slightly clashing colour); pieces of flair (shout out to Office Space) including a Champ coffee pin; herringbone subway tiles; those nostalgic tea room plastic trays and Champ diner mugs; gorgeous black King Dome pendant lights by Dowel Jones; the epic blue Marzocco; Benjamin Franklin’s famous morning mantra as a neon sign; and the takeaway cups which say FANTASTIC on one side (we love little surprising touches like that).

Check Champ out on instagram for seasonal speshs (and more little design details not shown here).



Imagery by NZ freelance photographer Rachel Soh (follow her on insta, too)



Honey Bones

Love the perfectly imperfect ceramic water jugs and teeny milk jugs

Custom linen aprons

Takeaway coffee window – love this idea


Hugo Baird (we introduced you to Hugo and his first cafe here) has done it again with this sweet and sophisticated little eatery in Auckland’s Grey Lynn.

Honey Bones (best. name.) was designed by Hugo himself – he sourced every last thing, installed it all… even built the front counter one late Friday night.

Design elements noticed and loved:  dark oak alongside brass (a refreshing change from the blonde timber we see everywhere now), your table water coming in a handmade ceramic jug (by NZ maker Vicki Fanning) that epic wooden menu, the custom-made brass lighting, the very clean, simple graphic design by Lucy Jamieson Design, the takeaway coffee window.

You might also like to know that leading the Honey Bones kitchen team is Reginaldo Richard of Odettes Eatery fame. And if you’re a menu pre-planner like me (hey, it’s kinda like eating somewhere twice, doncha think?) you can see the current menu here.


Imagery by NZ freelance photographer Rachel Soh (follow her on insta, too)




© The New