Phone: (09) 520 0748
Open: Seven days, 7am-10pm
Cost: $59 for two adults and one child
A bit of a Remuera institution, Benson Rd Deli has been operating for more than 40 years, 20 with its present owner, and has a prime position on the roundabout intersecting Upland and Benson Rds. On-street parking is easy and there's a bus stop across the road that comes and goes to the city, as buses do.
Perhaps surprisingly for gold-plated Remmers, there was nothing remotely flash about the Benson Rd Deli. We'll be kind and say the place looks well-loved, although we could have done without the flies that almost outnumbered the patrons.
SUSTENANCE & SWILL
Offered between 7am-4pm daily, the breakfast menu is compact (with just under a dozen items), well-priced and unlikely to need any interpretation: muesli ($16), french toast ($14), eggs and bacon ($15.50), mince ($19.50), etc. There is also a decent range of counter food, including lots of baked treats. Our daughter pounced on the banana bread ($4.50) and a strawberry smoothie with yoghurt, skim milk and maple syrup ($7.50). Both got the thumbs-up, and the banana bread tasted fresh out of oven. Flat whites ($4) arrived within five minutes of ordering and were excellent: creamy, strong and with no hint of bitterness.
It's not an exaggeration to say the vege brekky I ordered (free-range scrambled eggs, avocado, halloumi, mushrooms and fried potato, $21.50) was the second most adventurous choice on the menu, just edged out by the beans (chilli beans, chorizo and spinach with a poached egg, $18). The scrambled eggs were overcooked, with the consistency of a whitebait fritter, a scoop of avocado was just that and the mushrooms were watery with a metallic aftertaste. So far, so disappointing. Redemption came in the form of the halloumi and fried potatoes, providing a much-needed hit of salt; both perfectly cooked. My partner's field mushrooms (which came with a tiny drizzle of pesto and a sprinkling of feta, $16.50) were similarly watery, leaving the thick slice of bread they were served on soggy upon its arrival.
While there was no greeting when we walked in, counter service was friendly and speedy. We were in and out within 45 minutes. The place was comfortably packed. It had the feel of what it no doubt is: a local hangout that's become part of the furniture. Just one that could do with a bit of a spruce-up.