Words Denise Irvine, Images Brydie Thompson
Hamilton hospitality couple Lisa and Brent Quarries’ latest culinary venture is a little off the beaten track, and that’s all part of its charm.
The Quarries—owners of Hayes Common Eatery— have opened a new cafe, Weave, on Waikato Innovation Park’s 17ha site at Ruakura. They started the project at the end of last year, and Weave has been months in the making. It is aimed at those who work at Innovation Park and it’s open to the wider public as well.
Says Lisa: “Weave is Hayes Common’s corporate little sister, with a sharp new fit-out. We want to offer a great service to the staff on site and introduce new people to the park. It’s also a chance to change things up for ourselves and our staff who want new challenges. It keeps people fresh, and I love a good project.”
Both trained chefs, the Quarries came to Hamilton from Auckland in 2007 and opened River Kitchen Cafe in Victoria Street. In 2016 they set up Hayes Common, in Hamilton East’s Hayes Paddock neighbourhood, and later sold River Kitchen.
Lisa says she and Brent were immediately drawn to the Innovation Park location: they saw another opportunity to have an eatery that had its own identity yet was part of a wider community. Just like Hayes Common. Weave takes its name from Lisa and Brent’s strong sense of providing a meeting place, bringing people together. It also honours the fertile food-producing land at Ruakura and the notion of a bountiful kete.
Weave occupies the western end of the lovely light-filled Park Central building, designed by city architects Edwards White. The cafe’s contemporary-cool interior was a design collaboration between the Quarries and Hamilton firm Designwell. It includes cedar panelling, polished concrete floor, pendant lighting, banquette seating, high-backed stools, standalone tables, and two outdoor dining areas. A beautiful textural artwork by New Zealand artist Jade Townsend adds softness to the fit-out.
The cafe is subtly screened from the adjacent Park Central events space, a generous area that is available for event hire Monday–Friday, 3pm–11pm, and Saturdays (day and night) on request. Weave has the function rights to the space and is also the preferred caterer for a conference centre and two smaller rooms in the adjoining SkyPoint building.
Lisa envisages Park Central’s events space being popular for corporate gatherings, weddings, family celebrations, and more. “It is a really exciting part of the business that we want to grow.”
The Quarries have brought Sam Immers, recently at The Verandah, on board as their functions and events manager. Sam has developed bespoke Weave function and catering packages, offering fresh, vibrant food, professional service and plenty of flexibility for either seated dining or stand-up occasions with canapés.
Weave’s kitchen is at the heart of the new business, catering for the cafe and for events. It’s led by award-winning city chef Ashleigh Brodie, former owner of Gather Foodhouse, and more recently at Grey Street Kitchen. Like Sam Immers, Ashleigh is a key appointment at Weave.
Lisa says they are delighted to be working with Ashleigh. “She has a similar style to us, loving vibrant, punchy flavours.”
Ashleigh has put together an all-day Weave menu, a line-up of dishes she says that work at 8am or 2pm; they’re her spin on various classics favoured by her, and by Lisa and Brent. Ashleigh’s excellent Chilli Scram egg dish is reinvented for Weave, using chorizo and manchego cheese and, of course, her much-admired homemade chilli jam on the side. “It goes with everything.”
She’s also doing braised ham hock with chipotle baked beans; pan-fried mushrooms with onion and miso puree, mushroom cream, and crispy onion garnish; and a sticky black rice pudding. “I’m excited,” she says. “I think it’s going to be massive.”
You may find some Hayes Common customer favourites—such as miso potatoes—at Weave as well. And if you’re ordering from the menu, there’ll be table service in the signature style of Hayes Common.
There will also be a fresh cabinet selection and ‘grab and go’ corporate-style packaged food, aimed at park staff, including salads, sandwiches, rolls and baking.
Lisa says Weave is a collaborative effort, and Ashleigh and Sam will be pivotal to its success. “Brent and I are really hands-on. We’re adaptable, we jump in wherever we need to, but we can’t do this without a supportive team.
“I’m proud of what we’ve achieved, and the team we’ve put together. We didn’t know anyone when we first came to Hamilton. We’ve made some great connections.”
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