As part of the new Orakei Bay Village shopping development, the iconic Kings Plant Barn café also got a makeover. Occupying an old grain mill, the space took six months to complete.

Owners Rick and Suzie Stancombe have been involved with Kings cafes for about ten years and have vast experience of building cafes up into successful businesses. Ben Branks went into partnership with the Stancombes four years ago, together creating the now very successful Kings Café Henderson. McKinnon comes into the business partnership with 15 years hospitality experience and will run the café. “With a passion for customer service I am creating a safe, fun, well-managed service that will see people returning because of the experience they had,” he explained. “The ambience is very important for me too, so the right music is always on!”

The fit out was inspired by trips taken by the Stancombes, Branks and McKinnon to California, Sydney and Melbourne. Prominent interior features include a 40ft high stud ceiling, and a 1960s Auckland-built caravan used as a feature in the kids area. The designers also used reclaimed vintage brick and macrocarpa throughout to identify with the old building that houses the café.

“We think it’s a visually unique and creative space,” said Branks. “We have different areas for a comfortable for a quiet catch up over coffee and a bear claw, a big family brunch, or taking the kids out for a play in the caravan.”

The head chef is Brian Hannah, originally of Beverley Hills but now of Orakei. Hannah’s most recent achievement was helping open the successful Charlie and George in Saint Johns. Hannah’s pastries are of particular note, with a large local following. The menu was a collaborative effort to provide a unique and comprehensive offering to tick all the boxes, displaying a commitment to all the current trends as well as catering to those on vegetarian, gluten-free and vegan diets.

“We have a few standouts,” Branks said of the menu. “On the patisserie front, there are freshly made old-fashioned doughnuts and bear claws – think sweet almond croissant that looks like bears paw. The Brunch Menu has everything from healthy smoothie bowls to a little item on called ‘Push The Boat Out’ which, as the name suggests has some choice items, including smoked pork belly.”

Such is Hannah’s commitment to good food that the pickles used in the brioche burger are imported from Detroit, Michigan. Other suppliers closer to home include Mojo Coffee, Wild Wheat, Whangaripo Valley Matakana Free range eggs and Homegrown Juices from Hawkes Bay.

Looking forward, the owners are looking at incorporating more plants into the design features, as well as serving alcohol. “We are in the process of getting licensed and fitting out our 20ft shipping container for our drinks servery located in our outdoor garden area,” said Branks.