Home Penny blacks What is good Hamilton? A week of vegan delights

What is good Hamilton? A week of vegan delights



Gallery owner and foodie Laree Payne finds plenty of vegan delights in Hamilton.


I am in my gallery on Saturdays, with an intern on call, so I can pass for Cream Eatery (14 Jardin Pl) for the lunch. I always get the Turkish sandwich on the pide with vegan mayonnaise, bell pepper, cucumber and falafel, and a few coffees to go.

While I was at work, my partner Liam picked up my best friend Sam from the Hamilton airport. She had flown from Christchurch. When I got home we opened a nice red supermarket and then we walked over to Hayes Common (33 Jellicoe Drive, Hamilton East). We had bao tofu buns, baked kūmara focaccia, miso roasted eggplant, Szechuan broccolini and fries.

Gallery owner Laree Payne finds veganism not a barrier to eating well in Waikato.


Gallery owner Laree Payne finds veganism not a barrier to eating well in Waikato.


Sam, Liam and I climbed Mount Karioi, near Raglan. At the top we had bananas and Pico hazelnut milk chocolate from the organic whole food store Whole Heart, in Queenwood Village.

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We usually eat after at La Cabane (19 rue Bow), but it was just closing. Instead, we found out Artisanal raglan bread (3b Wainui Rd). We had toast fresh bread with Olivani herbs. Carbohydrates were exactly what we were looking for.

At home, we made burgers with vegan patties (we use a few brands, but it was Beyond Meat) and salad, and drank The Collective brand new plant-based chocolate milk. (available at the supermarket). Highly recommended.

Handmade Raglan Bread has everything you need for that carb solution.


Handmade Raglan Bread has everything you need for that carb solution.


Sam and I left early as I drove her on the Kaimai Channel to see her family. I’m from Tauranga so we had a few other places we wanted to visit.

At Mount Maunganui, we went to Gratitude Restaurant (7 Prince Ave). We had skipped breakfast so we were pretty hungry. I had a pickled carrot bagel, and Sam had a quesadilla followed by their sweet version of a Twix bar, and we each had a green smoothie.

Liam is primarily our house cook and we are vegans. For dinner, he made a very good tofu and spinach curry, with spinach from our vegetable garden.

A flaming mapo tofu was on the dinner menu.


A flaming mapo tofu was on the dinner menu.

He also makes a powerful spicy mapo tofu, a dish made with Szechuan peppers and fermented black beans. Liam put finely chopped portobello in ours, and we ate them with rice and roasted pumpkin. We buy a lot of ingredients for this from Green Patch at Claudelands (680 Gray St).


When we’re in work mode, Liam and I have a pretty tight routine. We start with a toast at home in Hamilton East, then head downtown to work.

We almost always head to Café Anne Fern (19 Knox St, corner of Anglesea St), for two long blacks. We meet there for lunch at 1 p.m., to share a sweet (vegan cream and jam) and salty (avocado, cucumber, tomato, pickle and lemon wedge) bagel. The best.

Every now and then I take a break from the bagels and walk over to Café Kopi (29, rue Victoria), a business next door to The Riverbank Lane. Manjula makes excellent dahl and toast which is the best thing in cold weather.


After work we went to check Last place (54, rue Collingwood), Hamilton’s new “dive bar”. We had some great vegan nachos with guacamole, beans, red onions, and cilantro. We will return.


Duck Island Ice Cream Shop Riverbank Lane is dangerously close to my gallery. I’m good enough not to go there every day, but there just came out a great scent that I had to try: Chocolate, Peppermint and Marshmallow, made with Boring Oat Milk.

At home we nibbled on some vegan cheese Savor the chipotle with pickles and crackers. I get Savor Cheese for my gallery openings, and people always comment on it. Many consumers of dairy products are convinced that it is dairy-based. It is available from Whole Heart, and Mostly vegan (447 Gray St), in Hamilton East.


A new exhibition has opened in my gallery. This is My Mother’s Hands, the magnificent work of Hamilton artist Rachel Hope Peary.

Normally, before Covid, I would have had food and wine at launch, but we kept it simple.

Rachel and I wore dresses by designer Penny Sage from the Riverbank Lane Found Store. The small alley businesses all love to support each other, and there is plenty to eat, drink and enjoy.