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

What to do with leftover food
78385 2017-08-21 11:26:01Z Food

What to do with leftover food

by Lauraine Jacobs

Instead of throwing out food that doesn’t get eaten, try some of the many ways of using it in another meal.

Read more
Podcast: Dead man walking - a conman's lie unravels
78369 2017-08-21 08:47:47Z Crime

Podcast: Dead man walking - a conman's lie unravel…

by Megan McChesney

Harry Gordon successfully faked his own death and had been living a brand new life for five years – until he bumped into his brother.

Read more
Should your social media account be mined by broadcasters?
78367 2017-08-21 07:32:43Z Technology

Should your social media account be mined by broad…

by Colin Peacock

The BSA suggests broadcasters should get permission to run items lifted from social media accounts - but is that realistic?

Read more
Kiwis pay tribute to Sir Colin 'Pinetree' Meads
78363 2017-08-21 07:01:47Z Sport

Kiwis pay tribute to Sir Colin 'Pinetree' Meads

by RNZ

Sir Colin Meads has been described as having "skills like a bat and the strength of a rhinoceros", as tributes pour in for the All Blacks rugby great.

Read more
Dental work for poor should focus on prevention - dentists
78359 2017-08-21 06:41:36Z Social issues

Dental work for poor should focus on prevention - …

by Sarah Robson

Winz spent $140m on emergency dental grants over the past six years, but dentists say cheaper checkups could help avoid more expensive work later on.

Read more
Leaky home victims file complaint against High Court judge
78290 2017-08-21 00:00:00Z Property

Leaky home victims file complaint against High Cou…

by Maria Slade

Robin and Patricia Kelly say Justice Mark Woolford’s connection with the founder of Signature Homes was a conflict of interest.

Read more
Northland youth get help designing their future with studio Akau
76389 2017-08-21 00:00:00Z Life in NZ

Northland youth get help designing their future wi…

by Kate Evans

Kaikohe collaborators Ruby Watson and Ana Heremaia are the “Twin Towers” giving youth in the Far North a vision and a voice.

Read more
Labour needs more than star power
78356 2017-08-20 19:20:03Z Politics

Labour needs more than star power

by Bevan Rapson

Labour does a solid line in celebrity endorsements, but the line up at the end of its campaign launch was a reminder of its recent lacklustre history.

Read more