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Goldmine

Goldmine

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!

Olaf’s Artisan Bakery

Olaf’s Artisan Bakery

Olaf’s (1 Stokes Road, Mt Eden)

Tucked off Mt Eden’s main street, Olaf’s is an artisan bakery serving a range of baked goods and coffee to eat in or take away. The cabinet has a range of fancy and not so fancy cakes, tarts and baguettes, and the shelving behind the till is stacked high with loaves of fresh bread. The atmosphere is unusually stiff, I find it a little (unintentionally) formal, but you don’t really notice it so much when the place is full. It serves wonderful coffee, so it’s great spot to go for coffee and cake, and it is certainly somewhere that I would often go to meet friends for a catch-up as it tends to be easy to get a table.

Pickle and Pie

Pickle and Pie

Pickle and Pie (2 Lombard Street)

Described by the place itself as a ‘take on a NYC delicatessen’, Pickle and Pie admittedly doesn’t fall too far from the tree. Located on Lombard Lane (oppose La Maison coffee), a small alley way whose development has been severely hindered by the continual scaffolding that seems to surround the street (but which has now finally gone), its interior is light, spacious and breezy.

It is open from 7am – 7pm, enabling itself to be an option for both breakfast and early dinner, as well as coffee, lunch and snacks throughout the day. The menu is small, but still rather accommodating, with a range of pies, salads, cakes and tarts, and sides such as pastrami fries. There is also a ‘dinner of the day’ which gets annoucned via Facebook each day at 3pm. If you really like the food, there is a shelving unit encasing a wide range of pickles, chutneys and condiments available for purchase; all of which sound equally as delicious as the last.

It was more expensive than I would have liked, for example a pie was $10, and to add mash it was a further $10. However, when my partner and I visited, we shared a pie (without mash, duh), the halloumi salad, the pastrami fries and a pecan pie for dessert and overall it came to under $20 each. All in all, a good spot, great for catching up with people and a welcome addition to the area.

Franks

Franks

Franks (116 The Terrace)

Oh how I do love Franks. It’s exactly the sort of place I picture when I want to go somewhere spacious, light and zen-feeling to blog. Unfortunately for me, it’s at the opposite end of town to where I work so I don’t often make it here (Lucky for me though, I have been on secondment ON The Terrace for the last few weeks, and because it’s so short term, I make every excuse to visit Franks!). It’s deceptively small downstairs; when you walk in, more often then not there is a queue of people lining up at the teeny weeny counter. That teeny weeny counter though is always covered in several delicious looking donuts, and other delectable treats (but the highlight is the donuts!). This is the extent of the menu, so get in quick. After making your order, head upstairs to where it is far more spacious (although still quite a small spot overall) and take a seat. There is one big shared table, and a number of smaller ones. Franks is funky, tasty and in my experience, the staff are always super friendly. Highly recommend!

Beach House and Kiosk

Beach House and Kiosk

The Beach House and Kiosk (410 The Esplanade, Island Bay)

Formerly known as The Bach, this sea-side spot has beautiful views of the South Coast, which even stretch as far as the South Island on a good day. A great stop off before or after visiting the Red Rocks, The Beach House and Kiosk has a very reasonably priced menu and a range of seating both indoors and out. Don’t fear the cold if you sit outside; there’s a cute little basket full of colourful picnic blankets that make the chill even more cozy. There is a delicious array of baked goods on the counter-top, which is easy to miss until you are paying. The service was pretty good, even though it was really busy they accommodated our time constraints and never let us feel as though we had been forgotten about, despite there being a bunch of other tables to be looked after also. Although it’s not one of the South Coast stops I would detour specifically for (being the massive fan of The Botanist and Maranui that I am), I wouldn’t hesitate to go here either side of Red Rocks.

Ekor Bookshop & Cafe

Ekor Bookshop & Cafe

Ekor Bookshop & Cafe (17b College Street)

What a discovery. Tucked away a few metres along from Cafe L’affare (on the same street as Moore Wilsons) the Ekor Bookshop & Cafe is an absolute gem, just waiting to be found. It caught our eye as we were walking out to Newtown recently, and at our first opportunity we found ourselves on its doorstep, keen for coffee and an explore.

The place is so cute. The menu is incredibly simple (bagels, scones and cakes essentially) but nothing is overpriced and everything is done perfectly. They don’t make their own food there, rather it is all supplied by local cafes and caterers (for example Leeds Street Bakery, French Cancan and of course, People’s Coffee). We sampled the French Cancan gluten-free chocolate cake, and it just set out day alight from 8am. The staff are super friendly and helpful, and I haven’t even started on the bookshop.

It is absolutely a bookshop where you could just browse the afternoon away; there are so many gifts and quirky books that there is certainly something for everyone. It’s a new found delight, and I can’t wait to go back!

Plum Cafe

Plum Cafe

Plum Cafe (103 Cuba Street)

One of the few cafes and restaurants on Cuba Street that doesn’t specialise in a particular cuisine, rather it has a focus on producing classic Western food with a side of class. It has a decadent cabinet, a yummy menu, and a kitchen that rivals the size of your broom closet (but that doesn’t matter, because you don’t go in there!).

There seems to be no shortage of foreign wait-staff, which always makes for a fun time. Our Canadian waitress was super lovely, and fussed over us as a mother duckling would with her chicks. There is something for everyone on the menu – there is a mixture of your stock-standard burgers, salads and typical brunch items as well as some more exciting items if you are feeling adventurous.

Always a safe option, but nothing super exciting about it. A solid 4 stars, I reckon.

The Riddiford Bar & Bistro

The Riddiford Bar & Bistro

The Riddiford Bar & Bistro (16 Riddiford Street, Newtown)

With a prime location of across the road from the hospital, business here should be booming. Unfortunately, I think The Riddiford probably needs a bit of a revamp before this happens. It took me a while to visit here because I’d heard extremely mixed things about it, but when I did I was pleasantly surprised.

We came here for lunch (so I still can’t really review the dinner options I’m afraid) and I was pleased to see that the place was relatively busy. It is essentially two rooms joined together to form the cafe, but with a big wide open door so that it basically feels like one. It’s quite cramped, but that works positively for the vibe.

The coffee beans are those of Mojo, so I was immediately looking forward to my coffee arriving. The menu itself was rather plain; I wasn’t sure whether to keep it simple or to mix it up. I opted nervously for a chicken quasedilla with fries, and I kid you not, it was absolutely delicious. I had such a good meal here that I wouldn’t hesitate in coming back to order the exact same thing again. I also tried the open chicken sandwich, which was also pretty nice, but not as delicious as mine.

Overall this place exceeded my rather low expectations, and while the overall experience was good, The Riddiford probably needs to up its game if it wants to stay in competition with the other fantastic options Newtown has to offer.

House Cafe

House Cafe

House Cafe (corner of Crosses Road and Napier Road)

Avoiding some of the more popular spots on a long weekend in the Bay, Dad suggested that we head along to House Cafe which is tucked away on the corner of Crosses Road and Napier Road. It’s not that obvious a spot; one of those places that would be entirely easy to miss. I was a teeny bit skeptical after I saw the prices of the menu – it was so ridiculously cheap; for example, $14.50 for a chicken burger and chips, and $9.50 for their world-famous slow-cooked mince on toast. There is seating both inside and outside, and they’re not afraid to pump the heater in these cold winter months. The food came out and everything was well above standard. The coffee was also good and the staff friendly. Solid effort.

Mince on toast, $9.50
Corn fritters with bacon and sweet chilli sauce

 

The Bach

The Bach

The Bach (108 Maunganui Road)

A super beachy looking place in the hub of the Mount township; I’ve always been attracted to it purely by its interior decor. It’s spacious, with large tables, menus on the wall and a cabinet + low counter across from which you order. The coffee is tasty, the brownie is divine and the french fries with aioli and ketchup are to die for. The brunch options all sound great; I have heard good things about the eggs. When we were there we logged into the wifi on my computer – it was a slightly annoying process whereby you needed an access code and were limited to a certain amount of data per voucher – but it ended up sounding more annoying that it actually was because it was all very easy. The staff are lovely; the cafe closed at three, but because we were doing admin with our laptops, they told us they were happy for us to keep working if we didn’t mind them cleaning up around us. Very accommodating, I will surely be back!