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.