First Look: Phil's Kitchen

by Catherine McGregor / 10 April, 2015
Photos by Ken Downie.

Newly opened in the Kingsland shops, Phil’s Kitchen is a small restaurant with a big personality at the helm. The Phil in Phil’s Kitchen is the ebullient Phil Clark, a Kiwi chef whose CV is studded with high profile names. He’s manned the stoves at Auckland's Sidart and Merediths, and at London's Tom Aikens, Arbutus and Wild Honey, all three Michelin-starred.

It was a heady rise for the young AUT graduate, but life in London’s pressure-cooker kitchens took its toll. The battle for Tom Aikens’ second Michelin star meant 120-hour work weeks, six months straight without a day off. He lost 20 kgs and was hospitalised twice.

But, he says, he doesn’t regret a moment of it. “Tom is one of the best chefs in the world and I was so fortunate to work alongside him. In a situation like that you have no choice but to learn fast.” Craving a change of pace, Clark came home in October and began planning his first restaurant as chef-proprietor.

He found the ideal location in the old Le Garde-Manger site, which had previously been the Kingsland fixture Bouchon. The French bones of the place seem to suit him. “I wanted to create something like the bistros I love in Paris, little hole in the wall places with ten tables and really good cooking.”

Ask him to describe his style of cooking and he’s quick to namecheck mentors Anthony Demetre (the chef behind Wild Honey and Arbutus) and Tom Aikens. “I’m going for something halfway between Anthony’s simple bistro-style cooking and Tom’s fine-dining finesse,” he says.

From their tiny kitchen, he and sous chef Tommy produce an ever-evolving dinner menu of four starters, four mains, three desserts, and a $35 3-course lunch on Fridays and Saturdays. Right now starters include a maple-cured kingfish ceviche with miso, sesame and radish and (pictured above) a crispy pork belly with carrot and hazelnut. Move fast and you can catch the smoked beef loin with piquillo pepper, beetroot and potato dauphinoise, also shown above.

Front of house is run by the charming Marine Peyregne. Peyregne grew up in the hospitality business – her parents own a restaurant in the south of France – and her background includes the legendary three-starred L'Arpège restaurant in Paris and Wild Honey in London, where she met Clark.

Kingsland Road is a long way from the bohemian thoroughfares of Soho and the Left Bank, but Clark and Peyregne are embracing the change. “This is exactly the sort of restaurant I wanted to create,” Phil says. “Honest bistro cooking, loud and proud.”

Phil's Kitchen
479 New North Road
(09) 845 1680

For more Auckland food news and reviews, see

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


Donald Dux: An extraordinary year of President Trump
84715 2017-12-15 00:00:00Z World

Donald Dux: An extraordinary year of President Tru…

by Paul Thomas

Paul Thomas has chronicled the Trump presidency since its beginning and reviews the extraordinary year since The Donald entered the White House.

Read more
Former punk Kody Nielson is heading in a new direction
84445 2017-12-15 00:00:00Z Music

Former punk Kody Nielson is heading in a new direc…

by James Belfield

But it’s no less entertaining.

Read more
The 10 Best Tech Gadgets of 2017
85128 2017-12-15 00:00:00Z Technology

The 10 Best Tech Gadgets of 2017

by Peter Griffin

A round-up of the best and grooviest gadgets from 2017 and previews of top tech tempters for the new year.

Read more
Cervical-cancer screening tests are about to change
84383 2017-12-15 00:00:00Z Health

Cervical-cancer screening tests are about to chang…

by Nicky Pellegrino

Cervical-cancer screening tests have been helping to save lives for more than 25 years. Now the focus of the tests is going to change.

Read more
The 50 Best Champagnes of 2017
85059 2017-12-15 00:00:00Z Wine

The 50 Best Champagnes of 2017

by Michael Cooper

Whatever you call it – fizz, champagne, bubbly, sparkling – wine with bubbles in it is widely adored, especially at this time of the year.

Read more
Star Wars: The Last Jedi – movie review
85062 2017-12-14 11:12:10Z Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi – movie review

by James Robins

Star Wars has been cannibalising itself, but The Last Jedi might just be the best one yet.

Read more
Gareth Morgan stands down as TOP leader
85045 2017-12-14 08:27:22Z Politics

Gareth Morgan stands down as TOP leader

by RNZ

The Opportunities Party founder Gareth Morgan says he will stand down as leader of the party.

Read more
Euthanasia bill passes first reading: How the MPs voted
85042 2017-12-14 08:07:28Z Politics

Euthanasia bill passes first reading: How the MPs …

by RNZ

Act leader David Seymour says he was surprised so many MPs supported his bill to legalise euthanasia. It'll now go to select committee.

Read more