I wished my kitchen looked like Ashkelon.
The thing that first draws your eye when you enter this single-room cafe/foodstore is the floor-to-ceiling plywood shelves. Each nook is laden with neatly lined and labelled jars of housemade condiments, crinkly packets of granola, pasta and grains and an overflowing hessian-lined basket of organic lemons. The wall of abundance is not just for decorative purposes either – everything can be purchased and cooked at home.
Then I cast my eye to the counter and spot the large ornate tiered setting filled with vanilla ice, Miss Louise cake (apparently a NZ favourite), freshly-made crusty-bread braised pork, apple and fennel slaw sandwiches. It’s time for lunch!
There are flip-top glass jars with different mueslis and even a cast iron vessel full of organic walnuts for sale.
All that food is just so damn photogenic! And it’s all prepared in house with local, fresh and seasonal ingredients.
I sit down and enjoy a mixed plate of salad ($12.90) with a combination of each of the three daily salads. There’s a light freekeh mix with roast sweet potato, another roast vegetable number with straggly little Dutch carrots that I love and my favourite, potatoes with white anchovies, artichokes and some herbaceous coriander pesto (which unfortunately is one of the few things that isn’t for separate sale at the moment). The lunch menu changes daily with a choice of ciabatta or sandwich, socca (a chickpea flour flatbread for those with gluten intolerances), salad, soup, savoury tart, pie and cake. Their coffee is a special blend made for them by Eureka.
For those on the run or with an empty pantry the fridge holds more wholesome takeaway meals. It is high end takeaway – a two person serving of say slow-cooked pork with beans will cost around $23, except for the surprisingly good value (and delicious) spring vegetable bake of zucchini, pumpkin, lentils and scarmoza which could easily feed 3 people for $13.80.
Ashkelon‘s online ordering system will be up and running soon and apparently in a few weeks they will be launching their delivery service so you can try their nutritious, slow-cooked food without leaving your home. Though that would almost be a shame, because a visit to Ashkelon is like a trip to your dream pantry – orderly, well-stocked, delicious, fresh, healthy and inspiring.
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