Where to go: Cafe, bar and florist The Botanist

Cafe, bar and florist The Botanist, in the City Works Depot. Picture / Babiche Martens.

Food and flowers. It's a winning combination - everyone needs food, everyone loves flowers, and the two are combined to brilliant effect in The Botanist, a new cafe, bar and, yes, florist from Brothers Beer co-owner Anthony Browne.

The City Works Depot hot-spot has just launched Evenings at The Botanist, offering small plates alongside champagne, wine and craft beer (including Brothers on tap, of course) on Wednesday, Thursday and Fridays evenings.

It's a slight change from their day menu, which is designed for city convenience, with deliciously rotating breakfast and lunch offerings from head chef Sara Simpson (ex Tasting Shed, Tribeca, Terroir at Craggy Range and Clooney). The focus is on fresh, seasonal, locally sourced, and less expectedly, lavish ingredients combined in innovative ways, according to Browne, who recommends their roasted beetroot and chargrilled brussels sprout salad with miso yoghurt dressing.

The ex-carpark site proved a design challenge that he couldn't help tackle, he says. "From working at the City Works Depot we came to really like the Shed 13 site - the low ceilings, northwest outlook (with beautiful sunsets over Freemans Bay) and industrial feel.

"Although the space is amazing, it was also challenging. To avoid creating a cave we made bespoke furniture that was low, used light wood (American oak), kept the colours light and bright, and of course brought in these beautiful flowers and plants to create a feeling of space and light."

Which brings us to flowers - the on-site florist is inspired by the urban florists and plant shops of New York City and Chicago, with a sprinkling of The Secret Garden (which formerly occupied the Food Truck Garage site). The Botanist's full-time florist, Eden Hessel of Sugar Snap, is on-site to prepare bouquets Monday to Friday, with ready-made bouquets and potted plants available outside business hours.

• Open Mon-Tues 7am-4pm, Wed-Fri 7am-late, Sat 8am-3pm. Closed Sundays. Shed 13, City Works Depot, 90 Wellesley St West, Auckland City.

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New Zealand Herald

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