Goldmine (171 Willis Street)
Prepare yourself for a somewhat mixed review. I think my high expectations are what let me down, because overall I suppose you could say the place was pretty good. Owned by the masters at Lamason, Goldmine is yet another CBD venture that has recently opened its doors. It has a very pleasing aesthetic, the food was well presented, and the staff were beyond friendly. My only concerns were the taste of the food itself… and the grammar on the menu (kind of kidding, but not really).
There was a large group of us that went for breakfast the other morning. Now, the brunch/lunch menu looked absolutely fantastic; it had everything on it you would expect to see on that of a hip Wellington cafe’s (think Buddha bowl, smashed avo on toast, Korean glazed chicken burger for example). But the breakfast menu was a little bit disappointing; beyond bacon and eggs, pancakes, and the classic granola and chia bowls, I thought it was a little un-imaginative (again, maybe it was just my high expectations). Fortunately, the staff were extremely accommodating and let a few of us order off the brunch menu (despite being 7.30am on a Tuesday), and even let two of the girls order chilli eggs (a dish that had previously been on the menu, but a revamp of the menu saw it removed), which is an outstanding dish. I had mushrooms on toast with hash – the hash was divine, but the mushrooms were under-sauteed and lacked creaminess. The pancakes were the low-light of the morning though – the maple syrup to pancake ratio was basically non-existent, which created for some serious stodge. The portion sizes were decent though!
The scones in the cabinet looked delicious, and given that the coffee was good I think there is a high chance that I will give it another go. Maybe I’ll go at lunch time and indulge in some smashed avo!
I absolutely ADORE the muesli my mum makes. I have tried so many times to replicate, because surely, how hard can muesli be! And although I have made loads of delicious muesli in my time, none of them ever seem to replicate what my mum makes. Finally, I managed to coax the recipe out of here, and part of the reason I actually wanted to post it up here is so that I can never lose it again. I made it yesterday, and after this weekend is over I’m going to have to start rationing it if I want it to last (because mind you, it’s pretty darn expensive to make!). Of course, if you use this recipe you can mix it up as you like – for example swapping out the apricots for other dried fruit, or including extra nuts and seeds.
- 5 c rolled oats (the whole-meal ones are great, slightly more chunky than just the plain ones I would normally use for porridge)
- 2 c bran
- 2 c long threaded coconut
- 1/4 c honey
- 1/2 c rice bran oil (or olive oil is fine)
- 1 c dried fruit (I use apricot)
- 1 c chopped nuts (I mainly use almonds and cashews, with a few hazelnuts/walnuts/macadamias thrown in for good measure)
- 1/4 c pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 c sunflower seeds
- 1/8 c sesame seeds
- Set oven to 150°C fan bake/grill.
- In a baking dish add the rolled outs, the bran and the coconut. Melt the honey, add the oil and pour the mixture over the baking dish. Toast until golden.
- Take out and add dried fruit, seeds and nuts. Add back to the oven but keep a very close eye on it so that it doesn’t burn!
Charley Farley’s Restaurant & Bar (Onetangi, Waiheke Island)
Waiheke Island is somewhere that I wanted to visit for a very long time before I actually got the opportunity to go there. Recently (August 2017) I went to visit my brother and mum up in Auckland and we made the journey across to Waiheke. The weather was pretty good; a relatively warm winter’s day with not much wind. We hopped aboard the hop-on hop-off bus (which I would entirely endorse if you are heading over for a day-trip) and made our way around the island. It was apparent that during the winter time lots of the wineries and cafes close their doors to do some maintenance & renovations etc which meant that when we got to Onetangi we were pretty stretched for choice. And by stretched, I mean we had no choice. However, our tour guide was strongly of the opinion that even if everything had been opened, Charley Farley’s is the place he would recommend anyway. We were happy to oblige.
Charley Farley’s had a very family friendly menu with quite a few options that suggested the menu was Asian influenced. There was also a large selection of standard beach bar food – burgers, fish and chips, salads and a bunch of slices and quiche in the cabinet. Even though the place was packed, it was big enough that turnover was sufficient to allow us the choice of sitting inside or outside. It was a nice enough day that we opted for outside.
Once making our choices we ordered at the bar and settled back to wait. We didn’t have to wait long for the food, considering how busy they were the food was surprisingly quick. We then had to eat our food quickly to ensure that the hovering seagulls didn’t nab it first. I had the fried chicken burger, and although I thought the chicken tasted like it had been cooked a bit earlier and just kept warm, the rest of the burger was tasty and there were plenty of chips. The fish and chips looked delicious, and the portions were massive.
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner I expect that this place is pretty popular by the locals.
Lazy Sunday mornings always call for pancakes, and what a better way to mix them up than by adding some good ol’ mashed banana and some delicious chocolate chips. Always a hit with the boyfriend, they are a pretty easy dish to whip up without much notice, so long as you have the classic baking ingredients on hand. Serve with some fresh banana and crispy bacon to make this into a hearty meal.
- 1.5 c flour
- 1 T sugar
- 2 t baking poweder
- 0.5 t cinnamon
- 1.25 c milk
- 3 small – medium bananas, mashed
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 t vanilla
- 1/2 c chocolate chips
- Combine flour, sugar, baking powder and cinnamon in a large bowl. Mix.
- Stir in milk, banana, egg and vanilla.
- Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Heat some oil in a pan. Pour spoonfuls into the pan once it’s hot.
- Cook for a few minutes (turning earlier if the pancakes start to bubble). Flip pancake and cook for another minute or two until golden.
- Repeat until all the batter is used.
- Serve with bacon, banana and maple syrup.
The Abory (Flinders Street Railway Station, 1 Flinders Walk)
With gorgeous views stretching across the river, The Arbory provides a great hang-out spot at all times of the day. It has a menu that boasts classic dishes with modern twists, and you can eat here for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Everything is reasonably priced and you can sit almost anyway along the riverside, the place stretches on for so long. It also seems to be a very common destination for after-work drinks; probably partially due to its proximity to the train station! I like it in the mornings for its more peaceful vibe, but I wouldn’t hestitate meeting people here at any time of the day.
Bay Espresso (19 Middle Road)
Bay Espresso is basically an HB institution. With locations not just in Havelock, but also on Karamu Road and Omahu Road, you are never that far away from a cafe. With its very own roastery (I’ve seen various cafes nationwide stocking Bay Espresso coffee) the coffee is extremely delicious, and I always make sure to stop in at its coffee cart when I’m at the farmers’ market. The menus are the same across all three stores, with maybe slight variances daily. The food is pretty good; I personally find it a little expensive for what you get, but not enough to stop me going there. Corn fritters are my go-to, but my Dad rates the garlic mushrooms extremely high. The shop in Havelock is pretty small, so we usually sit on one of the outside tables. Definitely a reliable place food a good meal, and good coffee when you are in and around the Bay.
Manuka Café (49 Victoria Road)
This place has everything. Located on a corner in the middle the main street, it is pretty hard to miss. There is both outdoor and indoor seating, and because Auckland tends to be warm, the outdoor tables are often occupied. The menu is massive – it took us a long time just to work our way through. There is something for every occasion, for every price range, and for every craving you may have. The service was pretty good, although I thought the food was quite expensive for what it was – nice though. A place I would consider a solid option for any meal; but not a must-visit.
It’s so great having a go-to muesli recipe that you can play around with; changing the flavours slightly, and substituting fruit and nuts for others – whatever takes your fancy at the time. I prefer to keep my muesli relatively simple (but packed full of flavour) and then I can add fruit and yoghurt to it.
- 4 T coconut oil
- 3 T maple syrup / honey
- 2 t ginger
- 3 T cinnamon
- 1 t vanilla
- juice of 1 orange
- 2 c oats
- 1 c coconut
- 1/2 c almonds
- 1/2 c cashews
- 1/2 c sunflower seeds
- 1/2 c pumpkin seeds
- handful dried figs
- 180°C bake.
- Melt the oil (microwave is fine). Add the vanilla, spice, maple syrup and orange juice.
- Place the oats on a baking tray and cover with the wet mixture,
- Bake for 20 minnutes,
- Add coconut, nuts and seeds, and bake for another 10 to 15 minutes or until golden.
- Add figs last.
Cafe L’affare (27 College Street)
Essentially a Wellington institution, Cafe L’affare is always a reliable fall-back for good food, and will frequently be sought out when people are on the hunt for good coffee. The place is so much bigger than the store front would suggest, and kind of similarly to Prefab, depending on where you sit, you can almost feel like you’re at a new place each time! There is so much going on inside. It goes without saying that the coffee is some of the best you’ll find in the city, and although I didn’t think the food was particularly amazing (not that I had any complaints either) it’s the kind of place that when in the mood for it, the bustling crazy atmosphere will make it a place worth going to every time.
Husk (62 Ghuznee Street)
Combine coffee and beer, and what do you get? Husk. Tucked away in alley, it is somewhere you would never have noticed until now. But combining a cafe with a brewery is genius; and the fairy lights in the alleyway make it oh so easy to spot. The place is spacious; an ex-boxing gym means that it’s aesthetic is slightly grungy, but it only adds to the ambience. Husk opens daily at 7am, serving Karamu coffee since ages ago. The scones are massive and the breakfast menu is fresh and delicious; it also changes regularly. It is also open late, serving a massive selection of beers (obviously) also since ages ago. The fried chicken is to die for, and there is a large selection of small plates to share (I definitely recommend going tapa style). So far, Husk has had a strong social media presence, hosting different events and bringing different deals to its consumers regularly. Great for after-work drinks, and would be a cool place to host a work function.