The lamb steaks sizzled on the barbecue. The New Zealand-brewed lager sat chilled in the fridge as the native trees swayed in the light summer breeze in the backyard.
Halfway around the world, this is the haven for Kiwi athletes' families and friends, or any New Zealander for that matter, during the Olympic fortnight in London.
Kiwi House, a creation of the New Zealand Olympic Committee, will officially open for the Games' opening ceremony on Saturday morning.
Located in the heart of King's Cross, a six-minute train ride from the thick of the action at the Olympic Stadium, this gives Kiwis in London a viable alternative.
As London basked in 30degC temperatures, the doors of Kiwi House were thrown open today for the formal blessing and a Ngati Rarana kapa haka performance, before guests watched the Football Ferns' 1-0 defeat to Great Britain on the big screen.
NZOC president Mike Stanley provided the formalities, saying: "This is for the Kiwis of London; for the friends, families and supporters of this Olympic team. This is going to be a feature of New Zealand food, beverage and culture during the course of the Games."
Internationally-renowned New Zealand chef Peter Gordon created the menu, while guests can sip on a Kiwi flat white if the lagers don't hit the spot.
Top singer/songwriter Hollie Smith is the headline act for the opening ceremony party, which sold out.
Punters can pay 5 pounds for entry to the 500-capacity room, or 50 pounds for a 'gold pass' for the fortnight, and watch the direct Sky TV feed from New Zealand to cheer on the 184-strong team in black.
Kiwi House event creator Melissa Gilmour said it was one year in the making and one of the most intense projects she'd been involved with.
"There was a lot of venue searching... once we got that three months ago, things just started to stick," she said.
"I know there's about 3000 people who've come over from New Zealand. We really hope they will come and use it as a base.
"It's first and foremost for the athletes, and for the supporters and families of the Olympic team. Over and above that it's a place to network as Kiwis and celebrate the medal wins and to watch the Sky feed live as you would in New Zealand."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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