The Birdwood is a beacon in the night while all around is sepia, sleepy and quiet. Enter this food nest through the double doors, however, and the surprise is the captivating buzz, warmth, and heady yeast aromas from the pizza oven.

The ‘fresh, seasonal and local’ promise is carried across both parts of this twin establishment, which is a cafe by day and a pizzeria at night.

During the day The Eatery has exquisite coffee, cabinet food, a small menu and impeccable service. Light, airy and a veritable time muncher, one minute it’s 12pm the next it’s closing time.

Then come four o’clock, with the oven stoked, The Pizzeria opens its doors to a cross-section of evening punters looking for a plate of beautifully presented Italian fare.

Where The Eatery is bright and modern, The Pizzeria has a dark magic. It’s a narrow restaurant with a mix of tables and leather booths and in the back (past the belly of the roaring oven), a gaggle of closely placed, high wooden tables, from which to view and salivate over the steady parade of freshly baked, thin-crust pizzas.

Once seated and watered it was straight down to business. A small but impressive drinks menu boasted local beers from Three Boys and Cassels, as well as wine from Central Otago and Hawke’s Bay. My choice, a glass of Veuve Du Vernay Brut Rose – because all girls like pink bubbles – and for him, a warmed stemless glass from which, with every swirl, a Peregrine Pinot Noir arrogantly teased with a hint of velvety dark cherry and almond nose – cheeky and seductive.

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