There are a number of really cool precincts around Auckland these days. One of them is City Works Depot, home to an array of eateries, retail space and creative businesses. Many of these businesses have their workspaces overlapping and open to the eyes of the world. It’s a collective of space that I haven’t seen before and when you’re there, you can’t help but soak up the creative vibes and friendly folk.
Built around 1968 and originally known as the Auckland City Council Workshops, the purpose built space was designed by the city’s chief architect, Ewen Wainscott, a man who designed many iconic buildings in Auckland city. A number of developers planned for years to demolish the site. Thankfully after being purchased by Tournament Parking, they put the precinct into the hands of Cheshire Architects, who worked to preserve the depot’s industrial history.
Today it’s a vibrant community of creative businesses and a place for everyone else to soak up while they grab a bite to eat and enjoy the services on offer.
It was difficult to edit these photos because really, everywhere you turn in this place is pretty amazing. There’s the internal office space that I didn’t explore and so many businesses that I just didn’t have the time to take photos of, or weren’t open yet. I thought about doing a part 1, 2 and even 3 with the amount of images but thought, no, you need to go see it for yourself if you’re in the neighbourhood.
I was lucky enough to catch celebrated chef, Al Brown who has his (pretty awesome) workspace there, which is very much a reflection of him and his love of the Kiwi Bach. This guy is an absolute legend here in the food world with a string of eateries, TV shows, cookbooks, equipment and food product to his name. A must place to eat out when in Auckland is his Depot Eatery & Oyster Bar in the city, it’s certainly on the top of my most memorable dining experiences here. He also has Federal Delicatessen, an old-school NYC Jewish deli with a Kiwi twist, and Best Ugly Bagels, his Montreal-style bagel factories, with one of them on the premises of City Works Depot, which I’ll show further down.
A couple of doors up is the recently opened Weirdough & Tuck. I haven’t eaten there before but I’ve heard great things about the menu and I adore the sweet café fit-out. A morning coffee or lunch here is definitely on the list for my next visit.
You can even get a blow wave and your makeup done for a night out at Dry & Tea. Did you think I did my own hair and make up for my about me page? Nope, I’m terrible at both, this is where I went before the photo shoot.
Now for Zoe and Morgan. Where do I start? Firstly Zoe, who is one third of the brand is a dear friend of mine (the other two thirds is her brother, Morgan, based in Bali and sister Ruth, who is based in London). She is one of the most generous spirits and happens to be one seriously talented designer and business woman.
Their jewellery is coveted around the world and is the reason I wear jewellery again! The New Zealand studio has been in the precinct for a couple of years, however they just moved into a larger space that accommodates retail. They also have their engagement and wedding collection and bespoke orders. Guillaume and I commissioned Zoe last Christmas to make rings with our children’s names wrapped around the band and some pretty special 40th birthday earrings for me. Be warned, you’ll want everything there!
Around the corner and down some industrial spiral stairs you’ll find The Botanist, run by the lovely Eden. The space is shared with a café of the same name and has the most beautiful selection of blooms and plants. Look at that gorgeous wall of potted plants! I might have to pop in to stock up for my next Urban Jungle Bloggers edition.
Down another flight of stairs, you’ll see a row of new businesses. I’m happy to see that the interior store, The Weekend Trader has moved in. Perhaps this might pave the way for more.
Up two flights of stairs again and you’re at Odettes Eatery. I took my sister there when she visited last and we had such a great night. The food was fantastic and brilliant service, not to mention the stunning fit-out inside and out. Here’s a little look at the outdoor section to give you a taste.
Next door is Best Ugly Bagels, by Al Brown who spent two years living in Montreal where he discovered hand-made, wood-fired bagels. This inspired him to open Best Ugly and Al was so serious about getting them perfect, that he and his team were trained in Montreal by the masters of bagel making. New Zealand is gaga over these amazing bagels!
Food Truck Garage began with a television serious of Michael van de Elzen who was on a mission traveling around the countryside in his Food Truck to convince New Zealanders that fast food, that’s traditionally high in fat, salt and sugar can be made into healthier and delicious alternatives. It was a huge success and they created a permanent eatery at City Works Depot, and the mobile truck still going strong. I love the courtyard set up with the greens and overhead lights.
Do you need any more convincing?
Happy weekend everyone!
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