Handling the hype
Beachfront favourite proves it’s up to the challenge
SET UP & SITE
As expected, we arrived at a packed Takapuna Beach Cafe, where we were given a plastic lobster that flashed when a table became available. Freed from the need for passive-aggressive hovering lest another couple cut in line, we took a seat in the sun and let the five minutes breeze by. With floor-to-ceiling glass doors, Takapuna Beach Cafe is all about showing off its location, despite there being a fair bit of carpark in between. Brimming with couples and groups, the space managed to maintain a comforting brunch buzz of espresso machines, clinking glassware and lively chatter without being so loud you had to lip read your partner. Extra points for the multiple newspapers, which saved you from bitterly staring down whoever had your favourite section tucked under their cappuccino.
SUSTENANCE AND SWILL
When the water is sparkling, the napkins are fabric and the ingredients are in a foreign language, you know it’s a classy joint, with a price tag to match. In an impressive balancing act, the menu manages to please simple folk and foodies alike, giving familiar items like granola, eggs bene and avocado toast exotic additions like honeycomb, anchovy mayonnaise and bisque. While $30 felt steep for an omelette, it was hearty in size and flavour, loaded with juicy prawns and a sweet but strong fennel salad. In 2018, a menu without vegan options is a risky move but one that didn’t
seem to bother the crowd of content brunchers. Possibly because the patient waitperson didn’t just allow me to order the smashed avocado without egg or feta but offered a substitute of roast tomato and mushroom ($24). Yes. Please. A long black was $4.
SERVICE AND STUFF
Looking up from our plates, we noticed the smooth, efficient service was probably due the five, wait … eight, oh no, 10 waiters circling the compact cafe. That’s before even counting those in the kitchen. It seems like overkill until you realise, despite it being 10am on a Saturday, they’re churning out hundreds of hot plates and countless espressos without breaking a sweat. Proving, when it comes to crunch time, this old dog knows how to handle the hype.