First Look: Honeybear

by Kate Richards / 21 June, 2017

Help us find and write the stories Kiwis need to read

Photography by Caitlin McKone
ArticleGalleryModule - Honeybear
Honeybear is now closed. 
The Mark Wallbank-Che Barrington restaurant empire continues to grow with the addition of new “South East Asian-influenced” eatery, Honeybear, to Ponsonby Central. This is the pair’s third business inside Ponsonby Road’s central hub and their fourth on the strip. 

It took only a month to turn what was Maldito Mendez Mexican restaurant, into a neon pink Wallbank-masterpiece. The room has gone from kitsch, to loud and just the right amount of tacky – you mightn’t be surprised if the table next door leaned in and asked you to put your keys in a jar with theirs. Covering the walls, floors and ceiling are “the kind of things you’d never put in your living room,” admits Wallbank; like wagon wheels for light fixtures.

The pair casually bills the concept as South East Asian, though more accurately, the menu snakes west from Myanmar to India before crossing the southern Indian border into Sri Lanka. Much like their offering at Woodpecker Hill in Parnell, or The Blue Breeze Inn a couple of hundred yards away, this is Asian-fusion. Just don’t say that to Wallbank, he hates the word ‘fusion’, preferring to explain his restaurant style this way: “We never try to cast ourselves into just one country. By doing this we can cherry-pick the things we love from each place.”

Unlike most of their other restaurants, however, Honeybear’s menu is short, with five large and six small plates alongside several carefully crafted, kombucha-based cocktails and a neat wine list. There is a specially brewed honey beer, by the Coromandel’s Blue Fridge Brewery. The star dish is a (huge) $7 dosa, served with ginger chutney and a coconut and chilli sambol – who said you couldn’t get a bargain in Ponsonby?

Chef Barrington says he’s worked tirelessly over the past month to perfect his dosa recipe telling me the secret is practice and a well-seasoned pan – much like the secret to a perfect cheese toasty is an old, well-loved cheese toasty maker.

Will this new opening impact their other Ponsonby Central restaurants? “The idea is no reservations, get in, get out, have a good time,” says Wallbank − a casual approach which makes perfect sense in a place like this. They say three’s a crowd. Perhaps not?

Honeybear
Ponsonby Central
4 Brown St
Ponsonby
honeybearponsonby.co.nz 

 

 

Latest

Lauren Southern, Israel Folau and the problem with criticising religion
93915 2018-07-23 07:12:26Z Social issues

Lauren Southern, Israel Folau and the problem with…

by Graham Adams

Is there one rule for criticising Christianity and another for Islam?

Read more
Where should we draw the line between free speech and hate speech?
93928 2018-07-23 00:00:00Z Social issues

Where should we draw the line between free speech …

by Karl du Fresne

A ban on two Canadian far-right activists speaking at Auckland Council venues has ignited the debate over hate speech and freedom of expression.

Read more
Is New Zealand a tolerant society?
93954 2018-07-23 00:00:00Z Social issues

Is New Zealand a tolerant society?

by Karl du Fresne

Offences against religious minorities suggest an undercurrent of prejudice exists in the country.

Read more
Theresa May gets Trumped in London
93853 2018-07-23 00:00:00Z World

Theresa May gets Trumped in London

by Andrew Anthony

Notwithstanding the blimp, the presidential visit proved a deflating experience in the home of football.

Read more
Win a copy of The House of Islam by Ed Husain
93910 2018-07-23 00:00:00Z Win

Win a copy of The House of Islam by Ed Husain

by The Listener

The House of Islam tells the story of the Prophet, the origins of the Quran, the Sunni-Shia schism and sharia.

Read more
A NZ director goes inside the mind of groundbreaking Chinese designer Guo Pei
93826 2018-07-22 00:00:00Z Movies

A NZ director goes inside the mind of groundbreaki…

by David Larsen

NZ director Pietra Brettkelly goes into the opulent world of Chinese designer Guo Pei in the beautifully shot documentary, Yellow is Forbidden.

Read more
Is fake meat really a threat to New Zealand's economy?
93623 2018-07-22 00:00:00Z Economy

Is fake meat really a threat to New Zealand's econ…

by Rosie Bosworth

Rosie Bosworth looks at the risk to New Zealand's economy in a post-animal world of plant-based meat and dairy products.

Read more
What is fake meat made out of?
93642 2018-07-22 00:00:00Z Nutrition

What is fake meat made out of?

by The Listener

Meatless meat is yet to get a clean bill of health. This is what Joanna Blythman found when she studied the ingredients of an Impossible Burger patty.

Read more