Tess Nichol is an NZME. News Service reporter.

Brunch: Fort Greene, Auckland CBD

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Address: Shop 22, St Kevins Arcade, K Rd
Phone: 022 425 7791
Open: Mon-Fri, 8am-4pm; Sat, 9am-2pm
Online: fortgreene.co.nz
Cost: $53.50 for 3 people.

Fort Greene, St. Kevin's Arcade on Karangahape Road. Photo / Greg Bowker
Fort Greene, St. Kevin's Arcade on Karangahape Road. Photo / Greg Bowker

SET UP & SITE

Fort Greene owner Liam Fox was recently short-listed for the Lewisham Foundation's outstanding chef award, quite an achievement for someone who mainly trades in sandwiches from a tiny storefront in St Kevins Arcade. We traipsed up the steep wooden steps to the cafe's cosy little indoor balcony one rainy Saturday morning to find out what all the fuss was about.

SUSTENANCE & SWILL

Grilled cheese sandwich. Photo / Greg Bowker
Grilled cheese sandwich. Photo / Greg Bowker

Fort Greene's menu is small and more than half of the 10 items on it are sandwiches. Uninspiring? Not at all. Each sandwich is compiled of delicious, hearty ingredients, many of them made in-house. I had the grilled cheese ($12), featuring a tasty combination of cream cheese, Kikorangi blue, vintage cheddar and edam, toasted to greasy perfection between two slices of homemade bread. The sandwich was accompanied by a few sliced pickles, a nod to the New York neighbourhood of the cafe's name. My friend tried the home-cured bacon-and-egg sandwich with Moroccan ketchup ($14), quickly bagsing what had been my first choice.

Our third companion had the Vege One ($15), a great vegetarian option with homemade ricotta, confit leeks and roasted beetroot with orange, shaved fennel and rocket. The sandwiches are thickly cut and very filling; I don't think I've ever felt so satisfied so cheaply at brunch before. The coffee is from Wellington brand Peoples and our flat whites were creamy and hot.

SERVICE & OTHER STUFF

The cafe is a family affair, run by Liam and wife Andrea. When we got there it was just Liam holding the fort while she dropped their daughter off for babysitting. Despite being under the pump, causing a little bit of a wait, Liam was friendly and welcoming and the community vibe was evident. While we waited for coffee in our little upstairs perch, a small child came in on her mum's hip and they both sang out "Hi Liam" right away, and he chatted back while he steamed the milk. The steady chitchat makes for lovely background noise while you sitting and read the paper on a lazy morning.

- Canvas

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