Miles Kirby: New Zealand’s best brunches

Back in the day, when the invasion of Antipodean chefs was upending our traditional notions of what was acceptable to each for breakfast, Kiwi Miles Kirby was right in the thick of it – smashing avocados and flipping corn fritters – first as a chef at Providores and then later at his own restaurant Caravan on Exmouth Market, the starting point for the Caravan estate: seven restaurants, a bakery and a coffee roaster. He picks his five favourite brunch spots back in New Zealand

Homeland, Auckland

Peter Gordon was the last head chef I worked under, back when he was in London with Providores and truly he is the king of brunch. Since then, he’s gone home and set up Homeland, a lovely cookery school and restaurant right on the water’s edge in Auckland harbour. He puts huge amounts of care into what he does, particularly the provenance of the food: his brilliantly subtle kedgeree is made with smoked kahawai, a local, sustainably managed fish. Don’t miss the lime coconut sago with rhubarb compote – it’s the best you’ll ever eat. 

Homeland, 11 Westhaven Drive, Auckland; homelandnz.com

Little Bird, Auckland  I find myself eating at this place every day when I’m in Auckland for its raw and healthy goodness. Everything is plant-based and everything is delicious, from the smoothies and vegan shakes through to their signature sprouted bread. Don’t miss their insane kimchi and chickpea pancakes, which come with sweet chilli cashew aioli. 

Little Bird, 1 Summer St, Auckland; littlebirdorganics.co.nz

Prefab, Wellington

There’s quite a Caravan-like vibe to this locals’ favourite not far from the Courtney Place nightlife spots, at the base of Mount Victoria. They’ve got a roastery and a bakery, where they make their famous naturally fermented bread. Brunch highlights include steel-cut porridge with stewed apple and an Italian focaccia toastie. 

Prefab, 14 Jessie Street, Wellington; pre-fab.co.nz

Nikau, Wellington 

This is the first place I ever worked in Wellington. It was called City Bistro back then and with chef Al Brown at the helm, it was groundbreaking for Wellington and an incredible place to cut my teeth in a kitchen. Now under new ownership, but consistently rolling out quality food and service. Located in the civic centre down town, right next to the city art gallery, there is plenty to do before and after a great brunch.

Nikau, Te Ngakau Civic Square, 101 Wakefield Street, Wellington; nikaucatering.co.nz

Rex Tremendous, Wellington

My old sous chef Tom Hutchison and his wife Kate recently opened this place in the Wellington Zoo. It’s all about reverence for planet, people, animals and diversity, which means a lot of serious options for vegans and veggies, (as well as a bit of bacon and maple syrup). Expect nerdy coffee and the best cheese scone, and whatever you do don’t leave without trying their Hokey Pokey buttermilk pancakes, which come heaped with berries and crème fraiche. 

200 Daniell Street, Wellington; rextremendous.co.nz

Miles Kirby is the chef/patron of the Caravan group; caravanrestaurants.co.uk and  caravancoffeeroasters.co.uk

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