Walking in Thorndon on a weekend morning, we fondly remembered our fab times we had at Charley Bill’s (R.I.P). About 3 months ago, this resurrected itself as Hillside Kitchen Cellar. What a little honey this turned out to be.
Hillside opens at 7am Monday to Saturday. The side dining room on the right as you enter, is the same but the front has been updated with a long wooden table, a cool blackboard menu and added cabinets housing Hillside’s cultured butter, deli meats and cold drinks e.g. Mela juices, sparkling juices and kombucha. Above these are shelves packed to the rafters with alcohol. On top of the cabinet sits a fabulous basket of homemade baking to eat in or takeaway e.g. afghans, cheese scones, and savoury pinwheels.
The concept is very European and they have a menu that changes weekly which focuses on fresh and innovating. I learned the hard way as I was all set to try the lamb brioche that I saw on the menu online but it was goneburgers. Darn it. What to have now?.
We were only faced with four breakfast options and even this proved a little challenging. Although the Paleo chia and quinoa porridge with macerated tamarillo sounded yummy, quinoa doesn’t seem to like me. We didn’t order muesli when out nor did we feel like wild pork with homemade baked beans. So we manage to settle on asking for a side of black pudding with a fried egg side on sourdough toast because unfortunately they couldn’t accommodate with any avocado or spinach as they had none. Slightly annoying, although our cute, friendly barista/waiter made up for it. He made us the most delicious People’s coffee lattes that arrived customised with different patterns (see photo) and this did finish off our breakfast nicely.
The lunch menu kicks in at 1130am and I will bring hubby back to try on a weekend and also for a dinner too which starts at 530pm. Lunch featured a vege and pork soup, smoked tuna tartare with tapenade and cress, mushroom with kibbled wheat and kale, duck confit (yum) with cabbage and quinoa, and blue hoki with white bean and chorizo. The menu is certainly out there and there has definitely been some considerable thought and planning that’s gone into this to produce unique combinations.
It’s very relaxed and intimate with a homely feel to this place. I believe being open for breakfast through lunch and then reopening for a more rustic casual dinner is really doing wonders;the locals and out of towners are surely singing from the hilltops. Here’s hoping it is a stayer.