Happily perched on the sunny side of Ponsonby Road, you’ll find MR TOMS—they’ve been keeping those with a thirst to quench happy for some time now. But, from today, they’ll be dividing their offerings to cater for those who also may want to sit down for something more food-orientated. But don’t fret, the MR TOMS you know and love will remain the same.
The Kitchen, which you’ve already gathered, is MR TOMS sibling eatery and joint-neighbour with its own entrance on the corner of Anglesea Street. Step inside and you’re greeted with the fast-paced kitchen working its magic. It’s so close you can almost feel the heat from the gas hobs. The interior itself is warm and inviting, with the intimate dining room only sitting a handful of guests at one time.
Upon first glance the menu is short but don’t let that worry you. It’s well-thought-out and caters to those even with finicky tastes and dietary requirements. Comprising of four of each entree, main and dessert options we’d happily say every dish is a standout, so despite limited options you’ll still have to ‘um’ and ‘ah’ to settle on a decision.
Cured kingfish is dressed in an earthy miso dressing and paired with sweet mandarin, creamy avocado, flecks of coconut and a good sprinkling of coriander—the perfect starter for the upcoming warmer months. While the tartare is my top pick for those with a penchant for all things meat—the paper-thin venison is simply dressed with pickled beets, mustard seeds and crispy parsnip, not only letting the star of the show shine, but adding a welcome sweetness and textural element.
The mains are contenders for some of the best bistro fare we’ve had in long time. The eye fillet is the ultimate meat and three veg dinner. Perfectly cooked alongside triple-cooked chips, roasted baby onions and broccolini. The bone marrow butter and accompanying jus take this otherwise simplistic dish up a notch.
There’s an Asian-inspired market fish, depth of flavour from smoked shiitake, soy and mirin. And for the vegos, shocking pink beetroot gnocchi with walnut pesto, cavolo nero, blue cheese and horseradish.
Our pick has to be the pork cheek. For those with a soft spot for the ol’ classic surf ‘n turf, get excited. This tender pork pulls so effortlessly, and sitting pretty on the edges is three succulent scallops, seared to perfection. Casava, purple and orange carrots alongside thinly julienned apple—a modern take on this classic that gives the old school steak and prawn duo a serious run for its money.
Desserts are playful but they don’t get too adventurous—and that’s not a bad thing. Sometimes we just want salted caramel mousse or a chocolate tart...especially when they’re executed well. And sometimes we just want an espresso martini to end our night. You’re be in luck—that’s the last item on their dessert menu. And if I’m not mistaken there’s not-so-subtle collusion with that addition. Finish your meal in liquid-form then sneak upstairs to finish your night...with more liquid. You don’t have to twist our arm too tightly—no doubt you’ll see us there.
Image credit: Lauren Matilda Matthews