In life there are fewer pleasures than that of partaking in brunch. I am known to wake up an extra twenty to thirty minutes early in the mornings just so I can cook myself eggs on toast (currently poached is my go-to) and read the newspaper in sour-dough crunching solitude. So when I’m indulged with a weekend off, one doesn’t feel complete until one has brunched. And I don’t care if I have to go by myself (because I’ve woken up at 7am and no one else I know is awake and I’m becoming too hungry to wait for another two hours). A trim flat white, a stack of magazines and the newspaper will do me just fine. This is how I whiled away a Friday morning at The Store in Britomart.
The Store started out exactly as its name would suggest, a purveyor of gourmet take-out food (not of the fry or burger variety) and coffee in the suburb of St Heliers. And when the Britomart area was re-developed into the hip and happening place it is today, The Store opened up its second branch. It still does high brow take outs and is a hit with office workers, but if you have time its sit-down menu is worth the wait. True to Hip Group form, The Store focuses on seasonality and local produce with the menu changing regularly to reflect this.
I’ve recently had an incredible lunch of line-caught snapper pan-fried to perfection with a salad of spiced roasted cauliflower, organic barley, labneh and a lemon vinaigrette. It was a lovely study of texture and balance. Then I’ve been back and had Agria gnocchi with tomato vinaigrette, lactic curd, hazelnuts and a poached egg for breakfast. The gnocchi had the comfort and texture of clouds.
The family of restaurants and cafes that formulate the Hip Group, although different, have a signature je ne sais quoi that one notices after visiting a few and it is this that keeps me coming back for more.