With solid foundations learnt while working in a leading Central Auckland hotel, and several high-quality cafes in Melbourne and Auckland, Chef Nicola Donald opened The Wardroom Coffee & Kitchen in 2016. It’s probably the best kept secret in the West: A little café pleasantly tucked away in a quiet corner of Totara Ave, right in the heart of New Lynn, its unassuming air barely hinting at the wonders within.
A family-run business with an all-girl crew (including her mum), Nicola makes everything from scratch, fresh on-site, using only the best quality ingredients available. Each day the huge cabinet is filled with fresh seasonal salads, savoury items and homemade pies, along with delectable old-school baking just like Nan used to make; home-made custard slice, Sally Lunn buns, chewy ginger kisses sandwiched with delicious buttercream… complemented by local coffee from Mt Atkinson Coffee Company and a Harney & Sons tea selection.
Too busy to cook?
Nicola also keeps a freezer stocked with ready-made meals which are perfect if you’re too busy to cook, or a great gift for a new mum or sick friend. Popular favourites are classic smoked fish pie, hearty lamb shanks with creamy mash and veges, and Mum’s macaroni cheese – and there’s so much more!
An extensive catering menu is available online, for every occasion imaginable, as well as ‘grazing tables’ which are the latest thing in casual catering.
Have a Gourmet Christmas – at home!
Christmas is all about spending time with loved ones, relaxing and enjoying delicious food – not stressing in the kitchen all day! Back by popular demand is Nicola’s mouth-watering Christmas menu. There’s something for everyone, and nearly all the work is done for you! All you need to do on Christmas day is cook the meat and assemble the sides – recipes and instructions included. Pick up on Christmas eve, or delivery can be arranged. See the menu selections to the right, and get in early to avoid disappointment.
“Blokes and their sheds”. It’s an iconic Kiwi vision. But in a few short generations we have gone from being famous for our number 8 wire, DIY attitude towards fixing and making stuff, to being largely unskilled. Instead of fixing or making things at home, we replace them or hire a professional.
As people retire there’s often downsizing involved, and the smaller, ‘maintenance free’ properties rarely have room for basic tools, let alone a workbench. It’s often underestimated how important pottering around in a shed with tools and having a project is for a person who’s been active in this way their whole life, and they suddenly find themselves with little to do.
Shed Matters is a group which aims to provide a space for those who have no access to tools to be able to use or hire them, and continue to be active. It also aims to be a place where creating, building and repairing skills are passed on ... come along if you have the skills or would like to learn the skills.
Wider engagement in the community is also part of the vision as groups from Shed Matters offer help for local projects, families and individuals.
In a nutshell, Shed Matters hopes to achieve:
• Continued participation in our community by older age group
• Transference of skills and knowledge
• Building of community through friendship
• Provide practical help to local community
Currently Shed Matters is a core group with a great idea. They are looking for people who want to be involved at any level, and are holding an initial public meeting to share the vision and gauge interest. If you would like to be part of this great initiative, please make sure to come along. If you can’t make it on the day, you can register your interest, contact details below.
Photos courtesy of Rob Bialostocki
New Lynn gained a new regular community event with the debut last month of the monthly Fresh Finds market.
The market is a positive collaboration between Rampant Coffee partners Gina Thomas and Shane Radcliffe, and the New Lynn Community Centre. Their dream is to create a community-focused market to invigorate a very under-activated part of New Lynn - showcasing fresh produce, food stalls, crafts, entertainment, kids’ activities, homemade, handmade, organic and natural products, whilst connecting extended communities within the Whau.
Gina says, ““We want to bring back the essence of the marketplace; the people, the connections; amalgamate ideas. Sure, we all want to be successful and be profitable, but the real satisfaction for us is the power in connecting with others”.
With over forty unique vendors at the first Fresh Finds market in New Lynn, the event had a wonderful feel-good atmosphere, with delicious food, fabulous crafts and other items for sale, and great entertainment for kids and adults alike. The market is on the second Saturday of each month, so put a ring around these dates: 12th October, 9th November and 14th December.
So let’s meet, eat, and repeat, community!