"I don't cook." I didn't predict this response from the owner of Little and Friday, Kim Evans, when I asked her what the inspiration was behind After Hours, her newest outlet, just opened in Belmont.
After Hours is her first foray into the "meals market", offering hot meals to take away, alongside terrines, potato dishes, old-fashioned sticky puddings and a gorgeous selection of salads. Surely this woman, who in little more than six short years successfully created the bustling Little and Friday food stores in Belmont and Newmarket, as well as publishing two top-selling cookbooks, loves to cook.
"Yes, I love cooking but I work with food all day and then I just want to go home at the end of the day and not have to cook but not go to a restaurant either. I want to have a great meal, that I didn't have to cook, at home. So in some ways creating After Hours was just a solution to my own problem!"
Seems Kim wasn't the only one to have that problem either; "Already in our first week we have people coming from Greenlane to stock up on their week's meals."
It's a fabulous solution with Kim bringing on ex-River Cafe chef Sophie Beck, returned from London, to create the menu of Ottolenghi-style salads, gooey old-fashioned puddings and slow-cooked meat dishes. They're in the process of getting a wood-fired stone oven installed, inspired by Beck's previous employer.
"At River Cafe they use a big wood-fired stone oven for most of their cooking and we want to do the same here but it's taking time. While we wait to get it sorted we decided it was time to open the doors anyway." Good solution indeed.
• Desserts and salads available from 2pm, hot meals from 5pm, Wed-Sat. 43 Eversleigh Rd, Belmont, ph (09) 489 8527