Marua Road Cafe is housed in a block of shops so new that parking lines were still being painted as we arrived. It's a nice mixture of new planting outside and greenery inside, contrasted with plenty of concrete. Big windows give a light and airy atmosphere in a space that could otherwise feel a bit too stark. It's sure to become a brunch oasis for the light-industrial end of Marua Rd.
Sustenance & swill
The menu is a safe mix of higher-end cafe favourites, from house-toasted granola ($11) to shakshuka ($18). One of the few deviations from standard was the inclusion of southern fried chicken as an eggs benedict option (along with streaky bacon, house smoked salmon or portobello mushroom). We had the spanish omelette (chorizo, caramelised onion, potato hash and tomato kasundi, $17) and creamy mushrooms (with chorizo, parmesan and crispy shredded kumara, $18).
The spanish omelette was exactly as described, and although the mushrooms were delicious, they were somewhat let down by the slightly overdone kumara. There's nothing to startle the horses here but it's a nice menu, well-executed. The coffee, made from Jack's beans, was a bit on the weak side. There is a nice tea list, however, and house-mixed soda. Unusually, there's also a wider selection of kombucha than any other cold option, which is excellent if you're wanting to offset your bacon with something healthy.
The service could not be faulted. It was chatty but not overbearingly so and that's impressive, given it was busy, and as a brand new cafe the staff are no doubt still finding their feet. They took dietary requirements in their stride, which is a relief for those who are sick of their requests being met with an eye-roll. It's child-friendly too. The available highchairs were actually clean, without the usual crusting from myriad sticky fingers, and there were four options on the kids' menu.
Marua Road Cafe is a great example of a cafe not too cool to look after its youngest customers. Some of Auckland's best cafes (think Takapuna Beach Cafe, Cornwall Park Cafe, Cafe on Kohi) have a similar lack of imagination in naming, but make up for that by being excellent all-round performers. Marua Road Cafe is well on its way to earning its place among them.