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16 Nov 2015
Each morning in the park by my house, a little old man does Tai Chi. He parks himself in the middle of the grass, presses play on his Walkman and performs a series of slow and mindful movements in the light of the morning sunshine. It is an enchanting sight and I feel a sense of peaceful serenity just watching him. This is a similar feeling to the calm ambience you’ll experience at Orient.
Orient, a newly-opened Asian homewares store on Kent Terrace, is a shrine to all things, well, oriental. Think of an oriental ‘thingamajig’ and you’d be hard pressed not to find it here. From kimonos, candles and cushions to bamboo mats, rice hats and beckoning cats. Despite the store containing such a vast range of things, and being cosy and compact, it feels surprisingly spacious and is a pleasure to wander around. The items are high quality, tasteful and the prices are eyebrow-raisingly reasonable.
Tania and her brother Brent are the co-owners of Orient and have made quite the contribution to the culture of our capital city, bringing many exotically Eastern experiences to Wellington over the years. They are the owners of the vastly popular Dragonfly restaurant and are also the clever cats behind the yummy Asian Food Republic range of food, some of which is sold in the store. (White chocolate and kaffir lime fortune cookie, anyone?) Orient was born when they shrewdly noticed a gap in the market whilst trying to source high-quality, authentic Asian items for use in their restaurants. The fact that the tableware is tried and tested in such a reputable restaurant should fill anyone with confidence that they are buying quality items that will last the test of time.
Orient stocks a beautiful range of Japanese-made tableware and these bring the imperfectly perfect side of nature into dining. Some of the bowls look like they’ve been fire blasted by a volcano, some appear to have been randomly imprinted with the fallen tuft of a dandelion. The bowls aren’t all perfect in symmetry or proportions, but they are perfect nonetheless. The plates deserve nothing less than colourful, fresh and flavoursome food and not an Edamame bean less, and the platters will spur you on to book yourself on the next and nearest Asian cooking class that you can locate. Inspiring stuff.
My trip to Orient made miso happy….. but all puns aside, let the beckoning cats fulfil their purpose and draw you in for a thoroughly inspiring shopping experience. The fortune cookies alone are worth the trip. Trust me.