Place: There seems to be a welcome trend of pop-ups and food trucks livening up the city by moving into more permanent spaces – Fort Greene have just joined in, moving into the shop in St Kevin's Arcade where to Honeytrap used to be. While I won't be the only one to miss the previous tenant's glorious sandwiches, the new café is already proving they're more than capable of holding down their new four-walled fort. Tucked away down the K'Road arcade, it's bound to become a favourite lunchtime spot for those in the area.
People: Owners Andrea Mulhausen and Liam Fox have made their way around the city, creating a name for themselves through their dedication to using fresh, seasonal, wholesome ingredients and making all components of their sandwiches from scratch. This means their menu changes often, and even if you were to rack up clockwork lunchtime visits, picking up your daily bread still wouldn't feel like a tired routine.
On the menu: The mention of fried halloumi had two of us order The Vege One while our other friend couldn't go past the very first option on the menu – The Fish One. As the names suggest, things are kept simple at Fort Greene. We had a while to make our choice – on arrival we joined the back of a line that snaked out the door. By the time our sandwiches arrived the wait was deemed worth it. They were certainly filling, but without being so ridiculously jam-packed that they were intimidating to eat. The Fish One won points for being deliciously fresh while The Vege One was brimming with not only the aforementioned halloumi but mint, greens and hummus. Also impressive was their seamless delivery to our cosy spot up the top of the café's narrow staircase. There are also a series of rustic breakfasts on offer, as well as sweet treats in glass cases on the counter. When we visited we couldn't go past the russian fudge; their Facebook page also tells me doughnuts are a common sight too...
In the cup: Fort Greene serve People's Coffee in gorgeously-decorated takeaway cups. Not only was it a delicious pick-me-up – the company is dedicated to using coffee as a force for social change. People's Coffee are one of two New Zealand businesses to gain certification from the World Fair Trade Organisation and they source their coffee from co-operatives of small farms around the world.
Decor: If you were lucky enough to try Honeytrap, you'll be familiar with their brightly tiled counter and loft seating – in terms of the decor things have stayed much the same. It's a small space well-utilised; whether you're sitting upstairs gazing down or outside amongst the comings and goings of St Kevin's arcade, you'll think twice before abandoning your seat in the relaxing space. The menu is handwritten on a mounted roll of brown paper, suggesting flexibility, while ivy hangs from the walls and light creeps in from high windows.
Go tomorrow: For breakfast from 8am or a delicious lunchtime feast. It's bound to be busy so make sure you set aside enough time – alternatively, get your lunch endearingly wrapped in brown paper and string and take it back to the office for a jealousy-inducing desk lunch.
Shop 22, St Kevin's Arcade, Karangahape Road, Auckland
Monday to Friday: 8am – 5pm