When James Bryant decided to open Knead on Benson in Remuera, New Zealand, it was a return to his origin.
“For me, what is special about this café is it’s the same block of shops I grew up in and is where I got my first job in hospitality and fell in love the industry,” says James. “I’ve spent my whole life in this neighbourhood and have such a strong connection with the local community.”
Knead and Benson is an artisanal bakery with a focus on French pastries, located in a heritage building. It is the counterpart to James’ seaside restaurant, Takapuna Beach Café.
“The team at Takapuna are amazing, and I wanted to make sure I could continue to provide them with opportunities so they could continue to develop and grow,” says James.
“There was a drive there to have a focus on bakery items, however, following our philosophy at Takapuna, we wanted to create everything in-house ourselves and needed the space to do so.”
When James heard the venue was becoming available — which had been a bakery since 1930 — he knew it was the perfect fit.
“It’s been a real passion project for me. For example, my mum and I designed the café together and I was sending off the order for the tiles on the day of my wedding,” he says.
James says the café’s design was inspired by places he has visited around the world, and a drive to create a space that was “out of the box”.
With its high ceilings, polished woods, white coloured palate and La Marzocco GB5x coffee machine centrepiece, it all ties together.
“This machine is important to me because none of my other venues have a feature piece like this. It’s all thanks to the New Zealand branch of La Marzocco and our coffee roaster Allpress Espresso,” says James.
He says Allpress has been his choice of roasters since his early hospitality days, with the café’s most popular blend being the Espresso, a combination of sweet, balanced, and complex flavours.
“Having just opened since the start of November, it’s been fantastic hearing our customer feedback and seeing our team grow and love the products their creating and putting out,” says James.
“Looking to 2022, we can’t wait to move out of COVID, enjoy summer, and see what opportunities are in store next.”
Knead on Benson
76 Benson Road, Remuera, Auckland, New Zealand 1050
Open every day 6:30am to 2pm
This article appears in the February 2022 edition of BeanScene. Subscribe HERE.