“We tried our best to fit everything in,” Emma Zhao laughs.
Some 18 months have passed since she first opened Mibo in Mount Eden – and her bakers outgrew their kitchen within the first year. Zhao didn’t expect the bakery to be so popular, but today she’s opening the doors to her second Mibo site, located in Wynyard Quarter.
Since the beginning, her vision for Mibo involved melding her love for patisserie with the traditional Chinese flavours she grew up eating.
She secured the lease on the second site earlier this year and describes it as “Mibo 2.0.” It’s a larger, more grown-up iteration, which still pays homage to its Mount Eden roots while catering to even more customers.
Working alongside design studio Mille again, Zhao wanted the Wynyard Quarter spot to be a modern and elevated space, responding to its busy urban surroundings. It’s a little grander than its intimate sibling site but still reflects its warmth and friendly nature. Mibo 2.0 is lined with pale brickwork on the floor and counters, matching the light shade of the wood and walls.
You'll find more extensive seating at this new address – up to 40 customers can dine at a time – with rich, red cushion-covered booths and cosy nooks to sit and wait in as your Flight Coffee brews. This evolution will also see Wynyard Quarter become the principal kitchen for Mibo, facilitating fresh deliveries throughout the day to the Mount Eden flagship.
While continuing to serve the signature pastries Mibo has developed a reputation for – like the apple caramel naisu danish, sausage brioche and those famous almond croissants – the larger site means Zhao can expand Mibo's offering.
Using Mount Eden’s fresh focaccia sandwiches as a jumping-off point, the second bakery offers a full brunch menu, with many of the dishes heroing the bakery's own sourdough – a recipe Zhao’s head baker spent the last 12 months perfecting.
Twelve months may seem like a long time to finesse a recipe, but if you’ve tucked into a Mibo pastry before you wouldn’t be surprised by this dedication. We're told the secret is "to make sure every step is the most important step", an approach applied to every facet of the business.
Zhao tells Broadsheet that at Wynyard Quarter, she expects dishes like the ricotta, rhubarb and raspberry on sourdough to be popular – that one’s served with a healthy splash of olive oil.
Richer dishes, such as the slow-cooked beef cheek with confit agria potatoes, feel like the most definitive departures from the Mibo we know.
"At first, we just picked a tiny site," Zhao explains. "We just wanted to bake a lot, experiment and introduce new Asian flavours…" She reflects that whether they would be received well was a gamble in the early days. Introducing flavours like miso, matcha and roasted soybean custard added something unexpected to each pastry, with an element of umami disguised by sweetness in nearly every bite.
While Mibo was by no means the first Asian-inspired bakery in Auckland, since the flagship opened the city has seen a rise in bakeries that incorporate flavours from China, Malaysia, Japan, Korea, Indonesia and more. Zhao believes this should be celebrated. She doesn't want to exist as an island and believes there is no such thing as competition in this realm. "It doesn't really work if you're the only people making these kinds of croissants," she says. Instead, familiarity only makes the pastries more sought after.
Mibo Wynyard Quarter
155 Beaumont Street, Wynyard Quarter, Auckland CBD
Mon to Fri 7am–2.30pm
Sat & Sun 8am–2.30pm