Mar­ket forces

Good cof­fee and food over­come first impressions

Weekend Herald - Canvas - - BRUNCH - Sue Bax­alle

SET UP & SITE: At last a Sun­day that lived up to its name, so a long-in­tended ex­pe­di­tion to Browns Bay and its sec­ond-hand mar­ket seemed per­fect. First, how­ever, brunch, to fuel us for the day ahead. I had heard of rel­a­tive new­comer Com­mon Ground Eatery (the word “Eatery” seems to be in­creas­ingly com­mon in cafe names) but find­ing it was un­com­monly tricky — we’d missed it on the first drive along Clyde Rd. On dis­cov­er­ing the rel­a­tively non­de­script cafe, we found the in­te­rior equally as un­pre­pos­sess­ing, a min­i­mal­ist in­dus­trial-style mix of con­crete, wood and tiles. The rear of the din­ing area has a mu­ral of fernery — an en­larged echo of the hang­ing planters adorn­ing the walls else­where in the room. Bench seat­ing lines the wall as you en­ter CGE, with small ta­bles and a chair for your com­pan­ion lined up very closely — fine if you want to get to know your neigh­bours, not so fine for a pri­vate con­ver­sa­tion. The mu­sic was also a tad loud for ease of con­ver­sa­tion. To the rear of the cafe are ta­bles for larger groups. We were but two, so were seated in the cheek-by-jowl sec­tion.

SUS­TE­NANCE & SWILL: The cab­i­net holds a fine-look­ing se­lec­tion of savoury and sweet treats, how­ever, we opted for the menu — a mix­ture of com­mon brunch fare (think eggs bene­dict) and the less­com­mon (think soft-shell crab as an ac­com­pa­ni­ment for the eggs bene). I opted for the shak­shuka ($16.50), which came served in a per­fectly sized ce­ramic ramekin and ac­com­pa­nied by two slices of sour­dough bread, and my com­pan­ion had eggs bene with South Is­land salmon ($19.50) — the eggs were per­fectly poached. CGE uses Cof­fee Supreme and Rocket Espresso, and which­ever of those our long blacks were made of, they were just right. In the “un­com­mon” cat­e­gory of the drinks menu are cof­fee al­ter­na­tives matcha and ac­ti­vated char­coal lat­tes.

SER­VICE & OTHER STUFF: The ser­vice was at­ten­tive and friendly. The venue is fine for a pre (or post) mar­ket re­fu­elling ses­sion, or in con­junc­tion with a trip to the beach.

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