Good health

It may seem too good to be true — but it is ...

Weekend Herald - Canvas - - BRUNCH - Tess Nichol


Cali Press has just opened be­low the Her­ald’s of­fices, and ev­ery day it’s packed. A work­mate and I head down one lunchtime to find nearly all the sig­na­ture cold press juices gone and just a hand­ful of sal­ads left. Sadly there’s no In­done­sian gado gado (a cab­bage salad with boiled egg and peanut sauce $14) but we make do with a Baja Beets cold-pressed beet­root juice ($8 for 350ml) and two $5 “tonic shots” — the Beau­ti­fier which is sup­posed to help your skin and the Glow, which I think is sup­posed to do the same thing. The space it­self boasts the now ubiq­ui­tous ex­posed beams and in­dus­trial low-hang­ing light bulbs with which Auck­land cafes seem con­trac­tu­ally obliged to dec­o­rate, as well as sev­eral large and invit­in­glook­ing framed photos of the Cal­i­for­nian coast.


Cyn­i­cal jour­nal­ist that I am, I kind of wanted Cali Press to be bad. As the name sug­gests, the cafe’s con­cept was dreamed up by a group of Syd­neysiders af­ter a trip to LA, and the #clean #liv­ing aes­thetic is one that is easy to re­vile for be­ing too earnest, too as­pi­ra­tional. Un­for­tu­nately, the food is re­ally good. My work­mate and I shared three slices of toast from the “toast bar” (just a sec­tion of the menu): the beets toast with beet­root hum­mus, goat feta and pis­ta­chio dukkah ($6.50); the salmon smash with smoked salmon and an edamame and pea mash sprin­kled with chilli flakes and squeezed with le­mon ($7.50); and the avo toast with kale pesto, cherry toma­toes and sun­flower seeds — called pepi­tas on the menu ($6.50). All the toasts are served on de­li­ciously tangy sour­dough and can be or­dered in pairs, but I would rec­om­mend try­ing a range of sin­gle slices. All three flavours were fresh and the bases were whipped and airy. The dukkah had an aro­matic nut­ti­ness, the chilli on the salmon had a de­cent kick and the av­o­cado toast, avail­able ev­ery­where, stood out thanks to the kale pesto, which gave it a slightly earthy taste.


The staff are friendly and happy to tell you about the ben­e­fits of their ton­ics and juices in par­tic­u­lar. They all look very healthy. There’s no table ser­vice and ev­ery­thing is served to go even if you eat at one of the hand­ful of ta­bles, an as­sort­ment of dis­pos­able cut­lery sits on the counter above a shelf dis­play of re­us­able cof­fee cups and metal straws for sale. A wel­come ad­di­tion to what’s on of­fer down the Vic­to­ria Park end of the CBD.

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