Ozone Coffee Roasters
Your next breakfast / brunch / lunch date must be had at Ozone Coffee Roasters. And that’s an order. New Plymouth-based coffee roasters Ozone have established a name for themselves at home and abroad when they opened a roastery and eatery in London, and now they’re back in Grey Lynn with one of the best all-day eateries to open in the last year.
This place is so chic, your jaw will drop slightly as you stand at the threshold and take it all in. Have I fallen into an interior design magazine?, you’ll ask yourself. As far as fit-outs go, Ozone’s leaves you feeling like your head is in the clouds. Soft-glowing orbs are dotted around the perimeter of the room which is lined by forrest-green leather banquettes. At the centre lies a large, open air kitchen where all the magic happens. Whilst a table might be nice, don’t discount sitting at the concrete bar encircling the kitchen for an interesting view of the kitchen, but also because on a busy weekend you might not have a choice. Towards the back of the room is the roastery of Ozone’s namesake which to me looks as much locomotive as coffee bean oven.
I’ve now managed to visit this place three times over the last month and a half (yeah, it’s that good), and I’ve never been disappointed on any of my visits. The first time was for the #NZBloggers #BRUNCHCLUB where I ordered the smoked fish kedgeree and got to meet other bloggers and Instagrammers and see them do their thang (by thang, I mean take pictures of food with very fancy cameras). I’ve always been partial to this Anglo-Indian dish that is often hard to find. Fragrantly spiced basmati rice is given the smoky treatment with the addition of smoked kahawai. Kedgeree is usually served with quartered hard-boiled egg however the novel inclusion of a runny-yolked poached egg added an extra luxurious element to the dish as the rich yolk muddled in with the spiced sauce. A tangy chimichurri acts as a refreshing foil to all this richness and crispy fried shallots and thick labneh both add nice textural notes to the dish.
By far and away the most popular dish ordered at #BRUNCHCLUB was Valda’s 3-cheese Italian pancake, which looked equal parts intriguing and delicious. So back I was a few weeks later with Elliott in tow. This time we were seated at the kitchen bar where I wondered what bargain with the devil the cook manning the egg station had made (custody of their first born child perhaps?) so that all their poached eggs came out of their simmering cauldron intact and perfect. Elliott ordered the smoked cheddar fry-bread with smashed avocado, poached egg, fermented chilli yoghurt and shoots. Despite being fried bread, the overall dish remained light, perhaps too light for this hungry man who wasn’t impressed with the volume of foliage on top of the bread (I'‘d be happy with that, for the record) and muttering about a McDonald’s drive-through afterwards. Valda’s pancake was a dense wedge of cheese bound with just a bit of flour, so that the middle was toothsome and a lovely crust formed on the outside. Fresh herbs is a big thing here, and you’ll find them on everything. The combination of fresh parsley, mint and dill atop my pancake provided some beautiful aromatic notes that rescues the dish from being too rich and stodgy. The seasonal house-made peach chutney added a nice bit of astringency that kept the 3-cheese pancake well-rounded.
My third visit was a mid-week day-time visit with two friends Steph and Sigourney when the pace is a bit slower but clearly a favoured location in which to conduct work meetings or for one to set-up a ‘coffice’. I’d spied my latest victim, the braised wagyu mince on toast, during my last visit. I can hand-on-heart say that this is the best mince on toast I’ve ever had. It lacked that fatty cloying mouth feel inferior iterations often have; the mince is deeply savoury with a hint of smokiness from the cheddar and each mouthful is velvety and pleasureable. Special mention is made to the house-made piccalilli, another underrated food whose reputation has been spoiled by the likes of mushy, sugar-laden versions from the supermarket but here is exquisitely tangy and crisp.
Whilst waiting in line for the till, one of the waitresses began enticing me with the evening menu, which promises a completely different menu with small plates, many a veggie dish, and some heftier dishes, and wood-fried pizzas. The hand-cut pappardelle with smoked oyster mushrooms, creme fraiche and cured yolk has caught my eye, as has the Coromandel mussels with anchovy mayo, burnt tomato powder, whey emulsion and sourdough.
Ozone is more than just a roastery. Their coffee is great (and that’s a given) but their food is unexpectedly excellent. If you’ve ever read Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat by Samin Nosrat, then you’ll know that good food is all about balance, and if you can get all those things right, then you’ll be eating plate after plate of wonderful food. And that’s just what you’ll get here.
18 Westmoreland Street West
Ph. (09) 360 8125