In the North

Taste & Travel - - Destinations -

Ger­man-born chef and baker Olaf Blanke has Auck­land's ar­ti­san bread mar­ket cor­nered, sup­ply­ing rock star Kiwi chefs (Peter Gor­don, Al Brown, Josh Emett et al) in ad­di­tion to his own café in sub­ur­ban Mount Eden. Hand­crafted sour­doughs and wild yeast fer­ments are the stars of a menu that tran­si­tions from break­fast and brunch to lunch. Pulled lamb shoul­der slathered with tzatziki filled a sand­wich made from chewy, cumin seed- and turmericin­flected cia­batta. With a three-salad side (quinoa/roasted veg/fresh sum­mer peas) and a hoppy brew called Semi Con­duc­tor, lunch at Olaf's was a de­li­cious in­tro­duc­tion to the cur­rent café scene in New Zealand.

In the sub­urb of Par­nell, hang­ing plants, mu­rals, fish­bowl lights and candy-coloured chairs set the scene at Wi­nona For­ever, a bustling café named (re­port­edly) for Johnny Depp's tat­too. The vibe may be off­beat but the food is spot on. An ac­claimed pas­try chef is co-owner and the dis­play of baked goods — tow­er­ing layer cakes and gooey slices — is eye-pop­ping. A short, in­ter­est­ing menu cov­ers break­fast/brunch/lunch. I chose an over­sized salmon hash cake topped with a lu­mi­nously orange poached egg, with a chunky tomato chut­ney and a side of lightly spicy Asian slaw. A glass of Marl­bor­ough sauvi­gnon blanc eased the im­pact of the noise level — deaf­en­ing when this hugely pop­u­lar place is full.

taste& travel in­ter­na­tional

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