A mix of cuisines make for a pleasant and honest brunch experience
SET UP & SITE
In a mercilessly quiet, vaguely leafy, residential suburban street, this small, bare, Russian-influenced cafe sits unobtrusively in its small commercial block, just a couple of small tables outside indicating its standing as one of Meadowbank’s pre-eminent coffee and gathering places. Parking is abundant, as is the community feeling of the place. It feels like a private dining room for the pleasant homes of the surrounding streets. We arrived around 10am on Sunday, into a room that was less than half full. “Is there something wrong with this place?” we wondered. Within half an hour it was full and getting fuller, which it continued to do until when we left it overflowed with eastern suburbanites.
SUSTENANCE & SWILL
The food comes from a curious mash of cultures. Borsch, pelmeni, green shakshuka, smashed avocado, french toast and eggs bene. I ordered the bolshoy breakfast ($23.50), which was a standard sort of benchmark big breakfast — sausage, tomato, mushrooms, bacon — but with the unusual addition of sauerkraut and a single stick of beef shashlik. It was a pile of food in the best sense of the word, enticing and appetising and ultimately satisfying. My wife ordered the green shakshuka ($20), which comprised poached eggs on tomatillo and kale sauce with avocado, garlic yoghurt, feta and crispy polenta chips. It was creamy and nurturing and it would have been a fantastic on a cold morning on the steppes. In the deep green suburbs of central east Auckland on a warmish spring Sunday, it was not bad.
SERVICE & OTHER STUFF
Moloko as an operation is completely lacking in contrivance. In a brunch market where most places are striving for a unique value proposition, Moloko seemed to revel in not bothering with any of that nonsense. The experience is most like going to the house of a friend or neighbour you know too well for them to bother trying to impress you any longer. The food comes quickly and without fuss, allowing you to focus your attention on each other, which is typically what you want to do, isn’t it? It’s not a cheap morning out, but the people of Meadowbank probably aren’t overly fussed about that.