Lucky move

Mediter­ranean-style eatery ticks the boxes

Weekend Herald - Canvas - - BRUNCH - Tess Ni­chol

SET UP & SITE

This fam­ily-owned cafe, which first opened its doors to­ward the end of last year, sets it­self apart from the rest of what’s on of­fer in my Grey Lynn neigh­bour­hood be­fore you even step foot through the door. A far cry from the sleek design of most of its hip lo­cal coun­ter­parts, the shop’s sign looks like it was cre­ated with clip art, which is both ugly and en­dear­ing. In­side, it’s lovely. Hang­ing on one grey con­crete wall is a wo­ven rug and stacked along the shelf be­low are in­tri­cately de­signed cups and metal tea pots, nods to Tur­key, from where the own­ers hail. The cafe’s shape is an odd sort of rec­tan­gle with just a long, nar­row bench to eat at, so in­stead I opt to sit out­side at a pic­nic ta­ble, hop­ing to catch a glimpse of sun on this over­cast au­tumn morn­ing.

SUS­TE­NANCE & SWILL

There’s noth­ing wrong with eggs bene, but it’s al­ways ex­cit­ing to read a break­fast menu com­prised of items which have no need for hol­landaise sauce. Cof­fee and Du­rum’s spe­cialty is house-made borek ($6.50 each), savoury pas­try scrolls stuffed with mince or moz­zarella and potato or var­i­ous com­bi­na­tions of leek, feta and sil­ver­beet. They’re per­fectly de­li­cious snacks on their own (es­pe­cially if you’re hun­gover), but I have mine as part of the Turk­ish break­fast plate ($17.50), which also in­cludes a sim­ple salad of greens, cu­cum­ber, olive, cran­ber­ries and (weirdly) pre-grated moz­zarella, ac­com­pa­nied by a baby­sized metal hot plate of Turk­ish salami swim­ming in oil. It’s not fancy, but the bal­ance be­tween the light salad and the oily meat is per­fect. I’ve al­ways cov­eted this Mediter­ranean style of eat­ing — no fuss, fresh, full of flavour.

SER­VICE & OTHER STUFF

Cof­fee and Du­rum re­ally is a fam­ily af­fair. The hus­band and wife who own it are usu­ally there in the morn­ing, and their teenage son helps out on week­ends. When I went dur­ing the school hol­i­days their young daugh­ter took my order. Her dad, a kind and gen­tle for­mer univer­sity pro­fes­sor whose name I never caught, brought me my food and flat white ($4.50) and we had a long chat about how he’d fi­nally moved to New Zealand to be with his wife and kids. They’d been been sep­a­rated for long stretches while he was teach­ing in Italy and were en­joy­ing be­ing back to­gether. He’s sup­posed to be re­tired now, but he en­joys run­ning the cafe — it’s like a hobby for him, he said. How lucky for the rest of us.

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