Brunch: Paper Moon, Albany

By Helen van Berkel

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Address: Westfield Albany, 219 Don McKinnon Dr
Open: Wed-Sat, 8.30am-9.30pm; Sun, 8.30am-5.30pm; Mon-Tues, 8.30am-6pm.
Online: papermooncafebar.com
Cost: $47.50 for two people.

The beans on bagels with bacon, chorizo and an egg at Paper Moon cafe. Photo / Nick Reed
The beans on bagels with bacon, chorizo and an egg at Paper Moon cafe. Photo / Nick Reed

SET UP & SITE

North Shore is blessed with two Paper Moons. We opted for Albany and sat on the edge of the roar of the nearby Westfield Mall food court, where an astonishing number of people were tucking into McDonald's, Subway, sushi, roast, Indian, Turkish. Some Paper Moon tables spill into the food court. We watched our wait staff walk vast distances on to the concourse to deliver coffees, so obviously no one worries about whose restaurants the tables belong to. It was a little noisy here but there are quieter options towards the back of the cafe and, of course, outside. But they were full - it's always busy here and obviously a favourite.

SUSTENANCE & SWILL

Paper Moon's breakfast beans and bacon stack used to be world famous on Auckland's North Shore. The recipe made it into the Food in a Minute recipe series and you used to be able to buy wood shavings to make the smoked relish that gave the dish its signature flavour. Even the relish recipe was available.

I have tried to make the dish at home in the past, but never succeeded in getting the rich, vaguely spicy flavour of Paper Moon's beans and bacon. So I was never going to order anything else. For $18.50, you get two bagels, a plate-load of baked beans stirred through with chorizo and pesto and relish, plus a poached egg with hollandaise sauce. But I was disappointed. It seemed to lack the zing I remembered. I'm not sure what was missing. Perhaps I'd built it up in my mind so much it simply didn't meet my expectations. My daughter, in a fit of pique at the lateness of breakfast, ordered the chicken burger ($19.50), which she spent much of the meal sawing into edible chunks, knocking chips off her plate as she did so, and complaining that the avocado was not ripe enough. But the bite of chicken burger she shared with me was fresh and tasty.

SERVICE & OTHER STUFF

Service was quick and efficient, but both of us were a little nervous when the waiter didn't write down our orders. Sure enough, he was back in a few minutes: what did we want to drink again? But he got it right in the end: an iced chocolate ($6) for her and an english breakfast tea ($3.50) for me. Everything else arrived in good, speedy order. We were left sitting a tad long waiting for the bill but when we went to the counter to pay it was settled without fuss or drama.

- Canvas

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