HOMESTEAD : : First Impressions

Ceremony popped up just over a year ago, with that, a new Grafton was born. You would never guess the same could be done to Hillsborough.


The boys behind Ceremony (shout outs Connor Nestor, Charles Williams, and fresh catch Sam Mannering) have gone full hog on this one, releasing the reigns of the menu to food writer and chef and great guy, Mannering, in what is quite possibly a number 1 café contender... Especially in a ‘burb with zilch else on offer.


Firstly, note the location, the Pah Homestead - originally a Gentleman’s house - is one of Auckland’s oldest heritage buildings. In modernity, it’s come to be owned by the James Wallace Trust, home to an intricate beauty of an art gallery, and now, Homestead.Company.



Soy Latte / All images by our very own Sarah Pollok


Don’t get confused by the name. The A-team take residence in a small cut-out room, to the left as you walk in the grand entrance to the Pah Homestead. You’re initially greeted with dark brown wood, juxtaposing the grand white exterior (which itself acts as a beacon over the expanse that is Monte Cecilia Park). Take a sharp left to the aroma of Flight Coffee, and you’re greeted with the same dark wood underfoot, white walls decorated with ever-changing artistic pieces, and two long communal brown benches. Red splashes of colour along the benches and walls, and stripes on the windows, let you know you’re in the right place.


With the same large coffee counter benchtop you find at Ceremony, sitting in front of the tall windows at the back of the room, you get the feeling that everything was intricately thought-out over months of simmering. And that is because it was. The gents sat on the lawn over many a beer trying to discover what it is they can do to bring the place to life.



All images by our very own Sarah Pollok


The floor is run by Ceremony’s old hand, Haydn Middleton. Friendly staff show you to your table (if you’re lucky not to wait), with water (and mint) in hand, ready to take your order.


Also, a quick shout-out to JD, the resident (Irish) coffee enthusiast working round the clock to deliver a great brew.


The menu delivers a simple message, a well planned, short and quirky version of a classic lunch menu, skipping the boring stuff. You’re not going to find an eggs benedict doused in hollandaise here. Crumpets are the main event, hand crafted, offered in vegetarian, sweet, or savoury. I highly recommend the smoked kahawai with a poached egg (savoury).



All images by our very own Sarah Pollok


Lunch is stacked with a few well-crafted options. The house made terrine is a must try if you’re out and about for something new. Mannering takes picks from his Grandmother’s recipes, and his own book, ‘Food Worth Making.’ Everything on the menu is wholesome, every inch locally produced and ethically sustainable, from catch or brew or farm, to your grinning mug. With a top notch (but small) drinks list, the boys pull the strings to get Parrot Dog on the list headlining an all-Kiwi beer and wine line-up (along with the usual suspects from All Good Organics to tide the little ones over).


We couldn’t speak more highly of this place, nor the team behind it, and Homestead’s got us gleefully speculating about what these hospo geniuses will pull off next.


So, get in your car and see what the hell Hillsborough’s all about.


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