If you’re going to go for a daytime stroll around Auckland’s CBD, Kitchener Street is arguably one of its more picturesque stretches. Skirting down alongside Albert Park with pōhutukawa trees that tower over the road, it’s home to Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki – and also Swings, from couple Paul and Lisa Lee of popular Ponsonby Korean restaurant Ockhee.
Designed by Young Do of interior design studio We Are Young, the 30-seat Swings space is pared-back and peaceful, with exposed brick walls. Look out through arched windows onto the green, peek into the tiled kitchen to see everyone at work, or browse merch such as T-shirts, jackets, coffee cups and wine coolers on the metal retail shelf.
Swings serves in-house labelled single-origin filter coffee, plus both natural wine and beer on tap, and a menu that showcases a Korean street food staple: gilgeori toast, a type of toasted sandwich made with fluffy white bread that translates to “street toast” in Korean.
Choose from fillings such as the Rocker – egg and mozzarella with condensed milk and gochujang sauce – or the Bully, which has egg, lettuce and marinated beef with mayo and bulgogi sauce. The vegetarian Mush Mash is filled with enoki mushrooms, a house-made Swings potato hash, cabbage and sweet chilli sauce.
There’s also a small selection of sides, including fried chicken skewers (choose regular or spicy), sweet chilli rice cake skewers using the addictive Korean tteokbokki, and cheese-filled potato balls.
The sandwiches and sides are packaged to be easily be taken away – on a sunny day, you could head up to Albert Park and eat on the grass.