[gallery ids="4668,4670,4671,4672,4673,4674"] Words and photography by Lauren Matthews from The Kitchen Collective Orphans Kitchen. It's one of the few restaurants, I think, that pulls off sophisticated, culinary technique and showcases not-so-common ingredients, without intimidating the diner. Food that is simple in equal amounts as it is complex. Presentation effortless, taste explosive. A perfect harmony of visual feast and sense sensation without the pretentiousness that is so common elsewhere. So, you can imagine my excitement when I heard whispers, that this otherwise night owl eatery has now succumbed to raising at dawn, to feed Ponsonby's caffeine and brunch loving dwellers. Offerings are, as previously mentioned simple, but also complex in the sense that you and I would never even think, let alone have the know-how, to create them at home. Instead of store bought peanut butter and jam, toast is served with house made hazelnut butter and marmalade. Smashed avocado is paired with rich goat's chev, and lightened up with lashings of shredded mint. I almost had a slight conniption fit when I saw they share my sentiments with eating dessert in the wee hours of the morning. Buffalo milk panacotta is delicately placed atop puffed grains dotted with kiwifruit and berries - I'm almost tearing up with joy about this. Mushrooms and toast are all the same, but not here. Exotic species such as shitake and enoki are served in a light broth, dollops of smoked quark (a soft curd cheese) complete the dish along with sprinklings of chives and truffle and a pulled chunk of soft brioche to mop it all up. Summer's darling of vegetables, asparagus, takes centre stage of a breakfast appropriate dish, a fried duck egg, roe and sunflower seeds making up the perfect cast. To finish, I urge you try their homemade crumpets with burnt butter and honey comb. Owners Josh Helm and Tom Hishon have their very own rooftop beehive. The bustling colony pollenating their impressive garden of edible flowers and herbs and making said honey comb for said crumpets at a rapid rate - a labour of love that is fascinating as it is rewarding. If you're a little concerned that the ingredients listed above are out of your comfort zone, I'm happy to announce they also have bacon and poached eggs, if you must. But please, only if you must. Orphans Kitchen really excels at concocting the perfect meal to start the day; that along with a strong cup of supreme coffee, a cold press juice, and perhaps a sneaky glass of wine (if that's your preference), I couldn't think of a better place to gather my thoughts and nourish myself before a long day ahead. Visit Orphans Kitchen at 118 Ponsonby Road, Auckland, and visit them online here for opening hour details.
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