Hospitality Business Magazine

New wellness centre for former Hammerheads building

rsz_kelly_&_nic_watt_bistro_true_food_and_yoga_credit_babiche_martensOne of Auckland’s most iconic eastern suburbs waterfront properties has become a wellness centre.

Months of planning and building, years of dreaming and a lifetime of healthy practice come together with the opening on 16 July of hospitality couple Nic and Kelly Watt’s TRUE food and yoga wellness centre.

The Okahu Bay property in Orakei combines two studios, a bistro, beauty room, chiropractic services and a shop in the restored heritage pumping station that most recently housed the legendary Hammerheads restaurant.

The couple seeks to bring together communities they love in Auckland – from the walkers and cyclists of Tamaki Drive, to yoga, pilates and barre practitioners and lovers of good nutritious food. And they are especially keen to involve their immediate neighbours, the people of Ngāti Whātua Ōrākei.
“TRUE is based on our true story,” says Nic. “It combines what we do at home – our love of good, natural and nutrition-dense food, our own yoga and healthy practices. These studios overlooking the Waitemata and city through the curved windows can’t be matched, anywhere.”

The building has undergone an extensive makeover inside and out, now housing a bistro restaurant and grab-and-go café and studios for yoga and barre, a form of ballet exercise using a wall bar and set to music.

There’s also a studio store selling yoga accessories and exclusive clothing and a beauty salon offering bespoke facials, spa and beauty treatments.

Kelly Watt, a yoga devotee in her teens and qualified chef, trained as a reflexology practitioner in 1999 and also studied power living – power vinyasa yoga.  She runs the business and has assembled a school of some of Auckland’s best loved teachers in yoga, mat pilates and barre.

Nic Watt is the driving force behind SKYCITY’s highly successful MASU by Nic Watt. He is overseeing the kitchen operations, managed by well-loved hospo veteran Brett Grey with chef Trevor Hubbard in the kitchen.

The couple, who keep bees and chickens and make their own kombucha tea and kvass beverages at home, are bringing the same real food philosophy to the TRUE bistro and the grab-and-go shop. “We eat this way at home; we grow our own vegetables,” says Nic. “We are pouring our own life into this concept. It is what we love to do.”

Bistro lunches and dinners include Nic’s signature fresh vibrant and seasonal foods and his clever takes on comfort foods. Kelly contributes with her green omelette, wild mushroom salad and her favourite dish ever, kokoda. Vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options are stylish, the desserts indulgent as well as healthful.

As part of the wellness community, chiropractor Iain Wood is operating clinics from within the space offering chiropractic services, acupuncture and massage.

TRUE is welcoming to the energetic community of casual passers-by too. Nic and Kelly have landscaped the entrance plaza with a tropical coastal theme to turn it in to a local gathering spot. With hooks for bikes, seating and water-fountains, dog-walkers, runners and cyclists are invited to pause and enjoy – the coffee machine is handily stationed at the entrance stairs for a quick fix.

“This has been a dream of ours for quite some time,” says Kelly. “We know this building, we know the positive vibes; it has an energy and goodness that has stood here for a long, long time. TRUE is designed to have the warmth as if we were welcoming people to our own home. I’d like to see people from all walks of life trying yoga.”