Hamilton foodies and inner-city workers have an exciting new place to wine and dine with the relaunch of Prof’s on Alexandra this week.
The Alexandra St eatery, a short work from Garden Place, is owned and run by well-known Waikato foodies, Kate and Allan Wilson, who are also behind the successful café, Prof’s at Woodlands in Gordonton.
Prof’s on Alexandra has recently been awarded an on-license and is changing its focus to a café/restaurant serving tapas, fine wine and funky cocktails.
“It’s in the heart of the Hamilton’s central business district, and we want to be part of revitalising the CBD,” says Kate Wilson, co-owner of Prof’s on Alexandra. “We will be serving small plates of food, ideal for sharing, and have many unique and delicious items on both our food and drinks menus.”
Kate says she hopes “Alex will become a place that businesspeople will be proud to take clients for coffee or a light meal, for friends and co-workers to meet-up after-work or inner-city dwellers to grab a bite before the movies”.
Those on the run can still take away coffee, muffins, slices and salads.
The café/restaurant will initially be open weekdays, for daytime and early evening dining and drinks, from 10am until 7pm.
“We have something for everyone,” says Kate. “Allan and I have spent a lot of time creating a range of delicious taste sensations and flavours we hope people will enjoy.”
Crowd pleasers include chicken parmigiana nibbles with sriracha mayo and ciabatta bombs, which are particularly moreish, says Kate. “We’ve taste-tasted the lot, and can’t wait to share the menu with Hamilton foodies and business people.”
There are a number of gluten free and vegan dishes on the menu. “We understand that many people have dietary challenges, so almost every dish can be modified to suit diners. One of my favourite dishes is roasted portabello mushrooms with hint of creamy blue cheese and toasted walnut gremolata, which was created with our gluten free and vegetarian customers in mind,” says Kate.
Also on the menu is black pudding served on rye with red cabbage sauerkraut. “You have to try it, the colour and flavour combinations are fantastic,” says Kate.
The Wilsons have a love of food and a background in science. “We love experimenting with flavours and making our own ingredients from scratch,” says Kate, who has a Master of Science degree.
Alex’s speciality cocktails will include a range of infused spirits created by the Wilsons, including chilli vodka, kaffir lime gin and a spiced rum. They also have their own range of Prof’s branded products, including dukkah, chilli jam and preserved lemons, some of which will also appear on platters.
Kate’s food legacy goes back many years. In 2007 she wrote and published a book called Platter Chatter, on the art of creating the plates of food to share, and with a range of delicious recipes she and Allan developed in their home kitchen in Hamilton.
Kate has served as a board member of Waikato Food Inc., a non-profit group which works to develop and promote the Waikato food and beverage industry, and has appeared as a contestant on TVNZ’s MasterChef.
Some Waikato products will feature on the menu, including mini platters containing Bellefield cured butter from Cambridge, and chutney and condiments from Te Kauwhata producers Peplers and CuisineScene. “We also serve great coffee using Essenza coffee beans from Morrinsville,” says Kate.
An on-site deli will also sell some menu items, so people can take home quality cheeses (including vegan cheeses) and condiments to make platters at home.
The Wilsons hope that their location near Garden Place will appeal to tourists, inner-city residents and businesspeople, and bring another great eatery to Hamilton’s foodie scene.
A catering arm is part of the business growth plan, says Kate. “As the café takes off we plan to offer platters for meetings, functions and events in the CBD.”