Place: The original Little and Friday bakery (of two) and its modern-day roast shop sister, 'After Hours' are located on a quiet suburban street in Belmont on Auckland's North Shore. As of next week, they will be known collectively as 'Little and Friday Every Meal', and the bakery will launch a menu of seasonal breakfast and lunch dishes to compliment its cornucopia of exquisite cabinet cakes and pastries.
People: Baking extraordinaire and author of two cookbooks, Kim Evans and ex-River Cafe chef Sophie Beck. Together they have created a new breakfast and lunch menu that sings with the seasons.
On the menu: For a café associated with its deservedly famous giant, oozing doughnuts, Sophie's menu brings a totally new aesthetic to daytime proceedings with elegant and subtle River Cafe touches. I went back for multiple sittings in the name of research. For breakfast, a glossy mound of rich yet light panna cotta spread beautifully on coconut bread that looked crunchy but was pleasingly soft. Tart bursts of passionfruit and cool mint and mango completed perfect mouthfuls.
For lunch, a seasonal salad, which in February meant an ode to the tomato, courtesy of Curious Croppers' beautiful uglies in various shades of green, brown, yellow and red. Earthy roasted capsicum, tangy capers, anchovies and crispy basil provided balanced layers of texture and taste. The Tomato Tartine paid homage to the versatility of the fruit – this time it was rich and sticky - tasting like it had been slow-roasted for days.
More visits are in order. I want to try a Little and Friday homemade crumpet; they're sure to be the best I've had, likewise their homemade quark, Shakshuka and Avocado Stuffed with Free Range Bacon and Egg.
From 3 p.m you can head next door for Ottolenghi-esq salads, and from 5 p.m a selection of two different comforting 'home cooked' meals are available to take away. The menu changes weekly; on my visit there was Za'atar Spiced Free Range Chicken with Tahini Yoghurt, Red Onion and Rocket, served in Lebanese wraps or atop woodfired pizza bases, and of course a selection of generously topped sweet pies and tarts for pudding.
In the cabinet: I can't write a review of Little and Friday without waxing lyrical about their cabinet. It's the best I've ever seen, and creates an unavoidable sense of loss each time I visit as I grieve my inability to eat every item. Sweet and savoury pies, quiches, tarts, cakes, eclairs and doughnuts are supersized for eyes that are always hungrier than stomachs.
In the cup: Freshly squeezed juices in seasonal flavours, Coffee Supreme blends, delicate teas and water flavoured with cinnamon and mint.
Decor: A bright white building that looks as though it might have been a mechanics or a warehouse in a former life sits in a quiet suburban street. You can peer through large windows into the kitchens and spy on trolleys loaded with naked doughnuts.
Little and Friday were amongst the first in Auckland to adopt the now common industrial aesthetic for their interior, so there are shared wooden benches topped with jars of cutlery and mixture of metal stools and retro chairs to sit on. Painted toy animals serve as table numbers and cookie cutters weigh down piles of napkins. It feels like a garden tea party.
After Hours is more polished – a giant bookcase spanning the wall behind the counter is filled with jars of jams, preserved fruit, cookies and coffee all available to take away.
Go tomorrow: For beautiful cabinet food and After Hours home cooked dinners. Then from Monday, for every meal of the day, for at least a week. Perhaps by then you'll achieve my dream of trying every delicious morsel.
No. 43D & E
Open: Mon-Sun 8am-3.30pm. First batch of food - 8am. Pies out at 10.30am.