Sitting unassumingly on Grey Lynn's well-trodden Richmond Road, you'll discover something new.
What once stood as Jafa Café has recently received a deserving upgrade. And this newly minted establishment, fittingly named Richmond & Domain Kitchen, is ticking every box.
This now well-lit, multi-story space couldn't have arrived at a more opportune time. The cosy wooden floorboards encourage a homely look and feel, while the toasty fireplace envelopes the space like a warm, neighbourly hug. With autumn's cold snap well and truly here, the idea of rugging up and seeking salvation somewhere local, is precisely what we needed.
The menu reads like a hearty run-list of brunch-time classics, with a contemporary spin. The avocado hash with poached eggs and mixed grain toast immediately catches our eye, while the mixed mushrooms with basil pesto and an arty beetroot-pink schmear delights the senses. Chef Vitto Monasterio has made a conscious effort to steer clear of the tired, rehashed menu items, while remaining true to the crowd-pleasers that we just can't seem to get enough of.
"We're a suburban, we're not a flash in the pan," assures friendly front-of-house and familiar Domain Ayr face, Kamal Haggerty. "We've kept it pretty quiet (after opening less than a month ago), that's how it goes. And the feedback so far has been great."
A simple-yet-refined menu that caters for breakfast, lunch and a casual drink in between is hard to come by these days, yet Richmond & Domain (or R&D, if you're in the neighbourhood) are trying their hand at all three. For those seeking a relaxed Sunday arvo beer, you'll pleased to learn that Matakana's own Sawmill Brewery is served on tap, with the second-story bar a welcome respite.
The hard-to-miss Grey Lynn atmosphere ripples throughout the space, with wall-spanning murals by artist Han Nae Kim a beautiful reflection of this. It's pretty evident that this is a neighbourhood space for those who inhabit it. This concept is something owner Steven Wen is clearly good at. Ask anyone who lives in Parnell and chances are, they enjoy their morning brew at Domain Ayr.
If you find yourself passing through during the weekend, nursing a weary head from the night before, opt for one of their deliciously unique brunch cocktails. There's the 'Mexi Morning' for those who can handle a bit of heat with their hair of the dog, or the Mimosa, for a fruity twist on an old favourite.
The smoothie offerings are equally as creative, with R&D enlisting the help of local nutritionist Abbie O'Rourke from Feel Fresh Nutrition, to create pre and post-workout beverages, while Waiheke Island's favourite loose leaf tea by Timmy Smith is exclusively available on-site.
Richmond & Domain Kitchen are already well on their way to becoming a neighbourhood fixture, and rightfully so. They've breathed new life and brought new light – just take a look at the sunroof – to a city-fringe café that well and truly needed it.
Richmond & Domain Kitchen,
551 Richmond Road,
Monday – Friday: 7am – 4pm
Saturday: 8am – 5pm
Sunday: 8am – 4pm