They do good
Quietly, modestly, great food is served
SET UP & SITE
The room is notably bare. The only wall decoration is a neon sign near the entrance reading, “WHAT GOOD SHALL I DO THIS DAY?” which is a much better message than something chosen at random from www.thoughtful-witticisms-for-cafe-blackboards.com.
The room is narrow and the slightly arched entrance gives it a tunnel-like feel, further evoked by the glossy white tile walls behind the counter.
There’s a bus stop outside, which is good for access but can get a bit loud.
SUSTENANCE & SWILL
The collection of food that appeared on my wife’s plate was wildly undersold by the generic descriptor “Eggs on toast” ($17.50). In addition to its headline ingredients, it came with avocado, roasted baby carrots, tomatoes, herbs, coriander seeds and goats cheese. It came with Midnight Baker’s lauded glutenfree bread as standard. To the order, she added one of the cafe’s excellent hash browns, which fell apart into its constituent shreds when she punched through the crispy outer.
I was initially leaning toward the ham benedict ($19.50) because it featured an appealing lineup of honey glazed ham off the bone, cheese and a toasted croissant, but I was swayed at the last moment by the big breakfast ($22.50) primarily because it promised not just sausage but free-farmed “Toulouse sausage” and not just bacon but “Mahy Farm bacon”. A cafe that cares enough about provenance and animal welfare to put it on their menu is a cafe that’s clearly thought about what good it shall do this day.
The sausage was an eye-opening burst of herb, the bacon tasted of freedom and care, and the poached eggs were done perfectly — a twin strike that is strangely rare in Auckland brunchery.
SERVICE & OTHER STUFF
They ask if you would like your complimentary water sparkling or still and they serve it in classic bluerimmed enamel mugs. It’s behind the counter though, so you have to ask for it, and that sometimes means you have to wait, even when you’re very thirsty from eating a fair amount of bacon.
At mid-morning on a Sunday, the cafe was astonishingly quiet. Only one staff member worked front of house — taking orders, making coffee, the whole lot — and he was rarely stretched.
The coffee, from Hamilton’s Rocket, was notably excellent, a rich, ripe blend providing a gentle punch in the guts of the morning. Greg Bruce