New cafe invites you to leave your comfort zone for brunch choices
SET UP & SITE
In the space vacated by Little & Friday, in the building mostly occupied by Martha’s Fabrics, in one of Newmarket’s not-so-thriving back streets, Sip Kitchen have set up their second Auckland cafe. Honestly, I didn’t know much about it before we went and was a bit stunned by the extent to which it holds true to some kind of raw food/whole food/super food ethos — by which I mean I scanned the menu four times before I realised it wasn’t missing the page with breakfast options. We went on a Sunday morning when the cafe had only been open a few weeks. It was pretty quiet. It was very quiet.
SUSTENANCE & SWILL
There were a few simple menu items on offer — toast, cereals, avocado on toast, banana bread — but I found myself staring at the description for the Omega Plate ($19.50) of a choice of two salads, half-avocado, salmon, seeds, sauerkraut, micro greens, maca granola for a long time before I was able to make sense of it as a viable brunch option. What I felt most like eating was a great heap of bacon and a couple of hash browns — but, of course, you have to approach a place on the terms it offers. Anyway, can there be any profit margin left in Auckland’s cafe scene for an ordinary sort-of-fancy cafe serving brunch standards in an inner city suburb? I didn’t really want to order the baked oats ($12) but I thought it sounded like a not-too-distant cousin of porridge, which is something I sometimes order somewhere I feel comfortable. I was wrong though — it was way better. It was like a cake, warm and sweet, seedy and nutty. It came with some mint matcha cream, and a tiny flask of almond milk for moisture control. I felt the smug joy of someone with low expectations, wildly exceeded. Zanna had avocado on toast ($16.50) and Jeremy had avocado hash ($16.50). Despite their names, those dishes appeared to be more or less the same thing. They were in desperate need of salt and pepper, but otherwise fine.
SERVICE & OTHER STUFF
They do counter-service only, which seemed to upset Jeremy — possibly because we were the only ones there and waited quite a while for someone to take our order before realising no one would — but Little & Friday also did counter-service when they were in the same space, and they seemed to do all right.