First Look: Ampersand - Orakei's new bistro-chic restaurant

by Kate Richards / 10 April, 2017
ArticleGalleryModule - Ampersand - First Look photos
Designed by Ctrl Space, 120-seater restaurant Ampersand with its high stud ceiling, teal blue walls and raw wood is a collaboration between Mikey Newlands (ex-Bracu), his sommelier partner Amanda Rogers (ex-Sidart) and Espresso Workshop’s Andrew Smart. The interior is split by a tall, well-stocked bar to become half-dining room, half coffee roastery and features a show-stopping Probatone 25 – “that’s German for effing big coffee roaster” – that Smart’s team will roast from at least five days a week. Outside there is a 60 seat all-weather, heated deck.

Here, so that the two operations can function cohesively, a high-tech afterburner allows only pleasant roasting aromas into the room, meaning Newland’s delicious cooking smells won’t be quashed by the scent of burnt toast that roasters can often emit. All going well, Espresso Workshop will move their entire Parnell operation to Ōrakei later in the year.

But this wasn’t the original plan. Alongside his full-time role as executive chef at Bracu Restaurant, for the past three years Newlands ran fine dining pop-up Allechante with Rogers. It was a labour of love, or as Newlands describes it, “a vanity project” which the couple were looking to take the next level by opening a permanent premises for the sometimes-restaurant. Instead of taking the plunge into white table-clothed luxury, their long-time partners Melba Group pitched Ampersand – a casual all-day eatery on Ōrakei’s harbourside.

Ampersand sits somewhere between bistro-chic and gastro-pub with dishes like breakfast ramen in the morning and burnt honey, lamb feather blade with goat’s cheese at night. Recently having a baby boy has changed the young couple’s personal dining priorities, and the restaurant reflects that. It has been conceived as a broad church where “you won’t need a glossary of food terms or an understanding of Scandinavian chic to read the menu.” There are some chef-y tricks to keep things interesting and the obligatory orange wine but there is also mid-volume pop music and coming soon: colouring in exercises on the back of the menus to keep kids occupied.

The casual nature of Ampersand will provide Newlands with the work/life balance he and his family need. He doesn’t want to be working until 2am or milling his own grains to make flour. “A fucking flour mill” he laughs, obviously bemused by several high-tech kitchens that have popped up around the city in recent months. This is a far cry from Newland’s days at Bracu and Allechante.

A couple of years ago Newlands started following food and travel writer turned blogger Bonjwing Lee of the Ulterior Epicure, becoming fascinated by the seemingly infinite amount of money Lee had to spend on eating out (“way more than I’ll ever have”). In 2015 Lee tweeted about his boredom with the number of restaurants using the common conjunction “&” in their name. Slightly jealous of Lee’s lavish lifestyle and constantly on the look-out for new ways to wind people up, Newlands jumped at the chance to take a jab by calling his new restaurant Ampersand (after Googling the definition that is). It’s a name that’s as tongue and cheek as he is.

Ampersand
Orakei Bay Village
228 Orakei Rd

 


Get Metro delivered to your inbox

Subscribe now

 

/MetromagnzL @Metromagnz @Metromagnz

 

 

MostReadArticlesCollectionWidget - Most Read - Used in articles
AdvertModule - Advert - M-Rec / Halfpage

Latest

When Sir Bob Jones met Muhammad Ali
81845 2017-10-23 00:00:00Z Books

When Sir Bob Jones met Muhammad Ali

by Bob Jones

A new biography finds fault with the legendary fighter, but praise wins by a mile.

Read more
Announcing the finalists of the NZ Craft Awards 2017
81876 2017-10-23 00:00:00Z Culture

Announcing the finalists of the NZ Craft Awards 20…

by NZTV Craft Awards

The finalists of the New Zealand Craft Awards have been announced and here is the complete list.

Read more
Hand, foot and mouth disease is not nearly as scary it seems
81868 2017-10-23 00:00:00Z Health

Hand, foot and mouth disease is not nearly as scar…

by Ruth Nichol

It sounds alarmingly like foot and mouth disease, but all they have in common is they are viral.

Read more
What to do in Auckland if you're a local who wants the tourist experience
81902 2017-10-23 00:00:00Z Travel

What to do in Auckland if you're a local who wants…

by Pamela Wade

After living in Auckland for almost 25 years, Pamela Wade decides to reacquaint herself with the city where she still feels like a stranger.

Read more
The Lesley Calvert cold case: 40 years of torment
80160 2017-10-22 00:00:00Z Crime

The Lesley Calvert cold case: 40 years of torment

by Chris Birt

The mum-of-three was found on a hillside in sight of her farmhouse where she'd disappeared 7 months earlier. Suspicions swirled, but no answers found.

Read more
When I went to Rimutaka Prison for a three-course meal
81858 2017-10-22 00:00:00Z Food

When I went to Rimutaka Prison for a three-course …

by Lauraine Jacobs

A three-course meal inside prison walls proves a rewarding experience for food columnist Lauraine Jacobs.

Read more
The Lundy murders: Inside the case that gripped the nation for 17 years
81945 2017-10-21 07:23:00Z Crime

The Lundy murders: Inside the case that gripped th…

by Anne Marie May

A court reporter who's covered both of Mark Lundy's High Court trials looks at how the case has evolved, as the Court of Appeal deliberates his fate.

Read more
The Weinstein scandal is no surprise to this prominent NZ employment lawyer
81809 2017-10-21 00:00:00Z Social issues

The Weinstein scandal is no surprise to this promi…

by Mai Chen

In 25 years of law practice, Mai Chen has helped many women – very often senior employees – who have suffered from sexual harassment.

Read more