It’s true, us Aucklanders didn’t need yet another reason to head to Ponsonby, but whether we like it or not, we’ve got one.
The awesome couple behind the successful BBQ restaurant Miss Moonshine’s, have opened a pop-up restaurant, Gypsy Caravan—something they say is a natural progression of their 15 years in the hospo industry. The Urban List team popped down to see the space and check out the food and drinks to bring you the low-down!
Not ones to rest on their laurels, Ryan and Annalise Clarke began to explore the idea of an eclectic, Gypsy venue some time ago and set up a Pinterest board to collect inspiration. They believe the Gypsy theme showcases their evolution from street food vendor to restaurant—as travellers.
The Street Food Collective, which recently closed to food trucks, has been transformed into an energetic, playful and social space. In the outside area, there is a massive horseshoe-shaped seat, which will have tables and chairs come Friday. The black is offset with colourful cushions and pink paper lanterns.
Having seen some 40 vendors come and go (some of whom have gone on to set up their own permanent residences), it makes sense that Gypsy Caravan will remain true to its roots. There’s a street food menu available that includes items such as soft shell crab gyro with black pepper sauce and cinnamon-pickled cucumber and thrice-cooked beef cheek balls and leek with akuca sauce—yum!
Herbie Bar (in a caravan) has been a popular draw-card for punters over the years. It has been given a colourful makeover and we love it! Herbie will be serving up the usual cocktails, beer and wine but there is also now a Gypsy cocktail menu. The Big Fat Gypsy Wedding is an extravagant mix of Saffron gin, mandarin napoleon, lime pomegranate and rosewater foam. Others include Jallab Julab, Gypsy Tears and Basundi Alexander.
Head Chef, Reginaldo Richard, who has come from Odette’s, is overlooking the busy kitchen. It's a considered menu—each weekend they have been hitting the markets and chatting with growers to source food directly, and they both have their own gardens at home. Reggie also forages in Woodhill Forrest for ingredients.
There are a few seats in the restaurant, which is all kinds of magical. Flowers hang in abundance from the ceiling against a backdrop of shimmering beaded curtains and floral rugs drape the floor.
The menu, filled with creativity, serves up dishes such as Moroccan-spiced lamb tagine, apricot, prune and rose couscous, or pork belly, carrot, pear and hazelnut with fenugreek.
There are also sides on offer, and you can satisfy your sweet-tooth cravings with the blood orange, tahini brulee or, stay true to the theme and order some Gypsy treats—chocolate coffee soil, Turkish delight, rose sorbet and cherries with rose-scented smoke.
And, folks, that’s not all! We can also reveal to you that there’s another space within this space called the Chrystal Room—and no, it’s nothing to do with our fave season one bachelorette. Up some stairs, this is a unique space that will open in a couple of weeks. A private bar and dining space, it will cater for up to 20 people who are keen just for a drink or up to 12 for dinner. You’ll be allocated your own private bartender, who will create, refine and serve cocktails and drinks that you know you’ll love.
‘It’s where our bartender can geek out,’ explains Ryan. Ok, we’re in.
Gypsy Caravan will be open until the the New Year (we can imagine long, summer hours spent here). And then? Well, that’s yet to be decided. Annalise and Ryan have a baby due to arrive in October and are keen to just see what happens.
All up, we’re sold. It’s a fun, funky space with a playful atmosphere, great food and great drinks. It officially opens this Friday, so head on down and check it out.
What: Gypsy Caravan
Where: 130 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby
When: 22nd July—the New Year
Image credit: Andrew Wilson