Rosie is lovely. I thought that from the moment I saw the friendly rainbow seats set out on the street for those waiting for a table. It used to be called Rosehip, but after an overdue refurbishment, Rosieemerged as a more elegant, contemporary place. Inside it’s all smooth wooden surfaces and chocolate brown leather. The chairs are made by local artisans Douglas + Bec, and all of the crockery, from plates right down to sugar bowls, are handmade in Auckland by Steiner Ceramics.
Considering this little beauty has the same owners as St Heliers Bay Bistro and Ortolana, I thought I knew what to expect when it came to the menu. It certainly looked familiar – spare in its descriptions, but somehow still managing to create visions of orchards and gardens and dew. Hip Group menus always use words I don’t understand, I like to visit them with a thesaurus. The benefit of that is I always leave feeling I’ve learned something over my meal.
The consistently great thing about Hip group establishments is their commitment to freshness and seasonality, which comes from the fact that most of the produce they use comes straight from the company’s own farm. You’ll see this freshness and colour dotted throughout the menu, the freshly squeezed juices are some of the best I’ve ever tasted, and the smoothies have ingredients like fig, raw honey and ricotta, and feijoa and coconut.
My favourite thing, by far, that I’ve eaten on the lunch menu was a brisket caillette with agria hash, poached eggs and chilli rajas. A caillette is a kind of pate, but maybe a little bit more like rillette. It was the most divine, comforting thing – golden hash with hearty shredded brisket and a sunshine yellow poached egg running through the lot. That’s a dream at any time of day. I’ve also sampled lamb with parsnip, organic lentils and quince, and fresh market fish. The food is exceptional. Bright, punchy flavours that taste wonderful because I felt as if they’d been grown and prepared just for me.
I think Rosie is a near-perfect neighbourhood restaurant – consistently beautiful food, friendly service and an eye for design that makes any visit feel like a special treat. I live around the corner, and I feel utterly spoiled at the thought that it’s my local. It’s casual perfection.