At Orphans Kitchen

Postcard: First Bluffies of the Season

April 23, 2015 Home : Eats By Photo by Jack Seemer

11:45 a.m. GMT+12 | Auckland, New Zealand — It’d been an early morning already, up at five-something to observe the Dutch-style auction of 20 tonnes of seafood at the Auckland Fish Market. As a parting gift we got a plastic container of pre-shucked Bluff oysters, a.k.a. Bluffies, prized bivalves, from the first shipment of the season. My heart sank a little: I love oysters, but they’re no longer a delicacy when they’ve been dead for a stretch. The next stop on our ambitious food tour of Auckland was Orphans Kitchen, one of the city’s buzziest restaurants, in the Ponsonby neighborhood. We sheepishly asked Josh and Tom, the owners, to refrigerate them. They agreed, but I sensed a little judgement; Tom has cooked in Michelin-starred restaurants. “I know better,” I wanted to tell him, but the moment had passed. After a tour and a cooking demo we packed our things, but Josh asked if we had a few minutes to spare. Still jet-lagged and bleary-eyed from the early morning, we agreed and took a seat at a picnic table out back, warmed by the late-summer sun. Tom emerged with two platters of plump Bluffies on the half shell with Champagne granita, wakame and pickled shallot. Out came house-baked ciabatta with flax seed and kawakawa, with burnt butter and charcoal salt. Josh popped a bottle of local sparkling wine. More oysters. More wine. What did you say is in this butter? It was one of those perfect eating experiences you get once or twice every few years, and a gentle reminder that when life hands you day-old oysters, hold out for the fresh ones waiting on the other side of town.

Photo Info: Canon 6D | f/1.8 | 1/1000 | ISO 100


A postcard is always a pleasant surprise, particularly in an era of Instagram and SMS pics. We don’t have enough postage for our entire readership, but our new bite-sized series, Postcards lightly details the who, what, when, where and why. It’s a simple, and effective, premise. Whether they’re based on a life-changing subject or just a strange one, shot with a Red Epic or an iPhone, we hope you find these little moments more genuine than the stock images you’re used to seeing opposite of the Xs and Os.