Han­dling the hype

Beach­front favourite proves it’s up to the chal­lenge

Weekend Herald - Canvas - - BRUNCH + WINE - Sarah Pol­lok


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.


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.


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.

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