Lovers of food, wine and yoga will applaud Nic and Kelly Watt’s recently opened wellness centre, TRUE Food and Yoga in Auckland’s Orakei. Located on waterfront Tamaki Drive, the couple has transformed the former Hammerheads Restaurant into a light-filled seaside retreat, making the most of this unique building’s high stud and giant arch windows.
Nic, a renowned chef best-known for his Japanese restaurant Masu (Federal St, Auckland), is known for his attention to detail – from the fit-out to what’s on the plate – and has left nothing to chance.
Inside, the original copper bar has been refurbished and tables set with gorgeous copper cutlery, while balcony diners are guaranteed to be toasty with heaters and blankets on hand, even though it’s mostly sun-soaked. And the menu is a treat for anyone, including those on vegetarian, vegan, paleo, nut-free, gluten-free and dairy-free diets.
When Good visited for brunch we couldn’t go past the Trustie (poached free-range eggs, crushed avocado, feta, mint, wood sorrel and lemon on weekend rye). Other tempting options include Fruity (warm poached tamarillos, spiced Greek yoghurt and saffron honey); and the Stacks (matcha buckwheat pancakes, maple, fresh blueberries and passionfruit).
The lunch menu is just as nutritious and tasty, and includes nourishing bone broth and minced beef on toast with oyster mushrooms and parsley, or a smoked kahawai niçoise salad. Sides of fermented kraut and kimchi will keep your gut happy, while raw mango and turmeric cheesecake gives a sweet superfood boost.
And if you’re a fan of kombucha, craft beer or organic and biodynamic wine then you are in luck. The entire wine menu (bar the champagne), is certified organic/biodynamic and available by the glass.
TRUE Food and Yoga is the realisation of a long-held dream for Nic and Kelly and is based on “their true story” by combining what they do at home – their love of good, natural and nutrition-dense food – with yoga and healthy practices. At home, the couple keeps bees and chickens, grow their own vegetables and make their own kombucha tea and kvass beverages.
Kelly, also a trained chef and yoga devotee, has assembled some of Auckland’s best yoga teachers to run classes from the stunning studios overlooking the Waitemata Harbour. There are also barre classes (a form of ballet exercise using a wall bar) as well as chiropractic services, acupuncture, massage and beauty treatments.
If that wasn’t enough, the Watts have installed bees on the property so that they will be able to serve honey made from local nectar. And, keeping the locals in mind, they’ve installed a filter-water fountain outside the restaurant that’s free for thirsty passers-by.
TRUE Food and Yoga, 19 Tamaki Drive, Okahu Bay, Orakei, Auckland (09) 528 8781. TRUE Bistro open seven days for lunch and dinner. Brunch Saturday and Sunday. TRUE Studio open seven days.