It was formerly one of Auckland’s best-kept secrets – however like any surreptitious piece of information, the magic of Little Bird didn’t remain under wraps for long. Perhaps co-owners Megan and Jeremy had an inkling of how unique and popular their business venture would be when they were designing the brand; for indeed it was a little bird that told me of their revolutionary approach to organic and raw foods.
My Mum happens to be a passionate health food ambassador, and so naturally she introduced me to the pioneering world of raw dining. One weekend, she excitedly chirped away of how she had discovered the Little Bird Unbakery in Kingsland. You might be wondering, why the expression ‘Unbakery’? It’s a term of reversal! Specializing in uncooked product, nothing Little Bird creates is heated to above more than 46 degrees Celsius, obviously defying the common methods of most bakeries. Raw foods are said to retain all of their natural enzymes, nutrients and life force, making them undeniably good for you. I couldn’t possibly turn down the opportunity to make my insides glow.
The Original Unbakery - Photo Cred // Concrete Playground
The original Unbakery is tucked off the main road in a small, inconspicuous building; and is not particularly spacious. With minimal seating, you either luck in or miss out depending on how busy it is. One long wooden table fills the room surrounded by mismatched chairs, and a couple more, smaller tables sit against the back wall. It is perhaps this communal arrangement that aided the spread of the Little Bird reputation. In such a small space, you often strike up conversations with people next to you to discuss anything from your meal, to the benefits of hot yoga. Given its cuisine, you're more than guaranteed to strike up conversation with a Nike wearing trendsetter, and on that note, if you haven't seen it yet, you should probably watch this.
As shown in the video above, the success of the first Unbakery called for the incarnation of a second in Summer Street, Ponsonby. Because it’s on the side street it’s a little bit of a destination café that you wouldn’t necessarily chance upon if you were merely walking down the street. From the entrance, a tall black wooden slab of a door opens up to a lofty, well-designed space. The high ceilings really give you the impression of sitting in a modern kind of tree house, with natural light filtering down from the few skylights in the roof. Red brick interior walls give the place a very homely, rustic vibe. Elegant black painted chairs compliment bare wooden tabletops, and stools with ‘bird-cage’ wires line another communal long-table. Hanging lampshades crafted to look like cracked open eggshells reveal ‘yolk’ light bulbs. Upside down plants hang around the room to subtly imply – NATURE. ORGANIC. CLEAN. HEALTHY. To make you feel even more like a little bird waiting for your selection of dried fruits, nuts and seeds or vegetable, the wait staff will kindly ask for your name and assign you to a ‘Pecking Order’ when the place is full. With flourish, they scratch your details into a metal column with chalk.
The Ponsonby Unbakery - Photo Cred // Concrete Playground
Little Bird provides a broad range of teas, juices and smoothies that are all delicious, but nothing can go past a cold brew Kokako coffee. It’s almost as if the coffee retains more of its favour when it’s not heated, and is definitely best served with almond milk. When it comes time to order a meal, one could perhaps be a little wary about the menu because everything is just so different to what you would find anywhere else. However rest assured, the creative genius and culinary expertise in each dish is apparent upon the first bite.
That Cheesecake Though
However, the best part about what Little Bird has to offer would definitely have to be the range of sweet treats that smile at you from the counter. As you probably know, the hardest part about being healthy is having the discipline to stay away from sugary delights. Little Bird has solved the problem. Chocolate brownies, macaroons, biscuits, cakes, tarts and power bars line the shelves, all of them perfectly justifiable because they’re good for you. And my word, the cheesecake is to die for. Made in a range of flavours from chocolate to passionfruit, my personal favorite would have to be the mixed berry version. The viscous layer is smooth and creamy; each bite literally melts in your mouth. The balance of rich milky-ness with the tang of the berries is perfection. And the crumble at the bottom is exactly that – crumble. Nutty and wholesome, it holds everything together long enough to make it into your mouth. Trust me… it’s…. an experience.
Abbey post cheesecake
Little Bird truly is the quintessential leader in the current health food movement. They have achieved the unthinkable; opening peoples minds to the possibility of enjoyable, satisfying raw food dining. I imagine that it would be incredibly rewarding to operate a company that finds success in improving the well being of its customers, and I genuinely am grateful to Little Bird for helping me to be more conscious of what I consume. I encourage you to do the same; fly on over and give it all a go. It won’t ruffle your feathers too much.