Brunch: The Piha Cafe, Piha

By Greg Bruce

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Address: 20 Seaview Road, Piha
Phone: 09 8128808
Open: Monday and Wednesday 8am-3pm Thursday-Saturday, Sunday, 8am-9.30pm
Cost: $52 for two adults.

The Piha Cafe. Photo / Michael Craig
The Piha Cafe. Photo / Michael Craig


It was a sunny Sunday morning in mid-August, not at all cold, ideal for a drive over the Waitakere Ranges, and I vaguely recalled that, despite his early involvement in the resource consent process, Marc Ellis had eventually not played any role in the set-up of this beautiful cafe with its incredible view.


The menu is simple and was even more simple on the day we visited because they had, basically, run out of food. I queued at the counter for a good couple of minutes and when it came time to order what the cafe referred to as the "Kiwi Fry Up" ($23), its version of a big breakfast, which is the standard, the mainstay of any serious cafe's brunch offering, the woman behind the counter said: "Sorry, no Fry Ups." She pointed to a spot just in front of her on the counter, where, written in red marker was the following list: No sausage; No tomatoes; No Fry Ups; No hash browns; No gluten-free bread. It was an astonishing collection, given it was just after 11am and the cafe, while busy, wasn't what you'd call jammed. Let's be nice and say it was an unseasonably warm winter's morning and they had underestimated the speed of global warming.

I ordered the eggs benny with bacon ($18.50) for my wife and the pancakes with maple syrup, berry compote and whipped cream ($16.50) for me. When I got back to the table, my wife had got us some water.

"It tastes funny," she warned me. "Soapy."

The food was slow in coming. The eggs benedict was fine. The "pancakes" turned out to be one pancake, quite thick, with a bit of a crunch to the outside; soaked in maple syrup, with an ungenerous dollop of cream on top of some jammy silliness. "I looked at yours," my wife said later, "and I had the opposite of food envy." The coffees ($5 latte, $4.50 flat white) were good and the brownie ($6.50), eaten mostly by our 3-year-old, wasn't bad either.

Eggs bene with bacon. Photo / Michael Craig
Eggs bene with bacon. Photo / Michael Craig


I had to tip the high chair upside down to rid the seat area of the large, multicoloured chunks of food, then wipe the tray down to prevent my extremely large baby snacking on the previous tenant's leftovers. The staff were friendly.

- Canvas

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