Phone: (09) 845 4714
Open: Monday-Sunday: 7am-5pm
Cost: $63.50 for two adults
Set up & site
It was an unprepossessing building. You wouldn't even notice it unless you needed a new set of Pirellis for the Grey Lynn tractor. The Crave Collective has transformed the old Morningside tyre warehouse into an impressive building, inside and out. But the new incarnation is still perfect if you personally need a realignment and balance. To describe this as a cafe doesn't quite cut it. It's like a gallery but more tactile, with bold installations, sculptures, antique tin toys and art. It's not as chaotic as it sounds. Eccentric, but stylishly curated. Light and airy. There's a lounge area if you don't feel like sitting upright, with right-on retro 40s and 50s chairs and couch; communal tables with stools, intimate booths; and tables that spill out to the magnificent deck. There's every form of seating here except, possibly, day beds. I'm not sure how many you could pack in here, but it would be a party. It feels a bit like that even on an ordinary Friday morning. It's buzzing with businesspeople, parents and small kids, and an alarming number of people in activewear. After all, Crave sits on a corner between two gyms, perfectly placed for post-workout gratification. The collective has moved from just over the road, where they began seven years ago and opened for business in the new digs in September.
Sustenance & swill
Disclaimer: I have long been a convert to the Crave cheese scone. It's moist, filled generously with cheese and is very tasty toasted, with butter. Crave has a great variety of cabinet food plus a good brunch menu that offers a twist on the classics, but that won't frighten the herd. There's also a list of kids' options. First up, my companion and I order soy flat whites. The beans are Supreme and our coffee arrives at the table, strong, hot and creamy, which you'd expect for $5 each. I go for the avocado "Benediction" which comes with fresh spinach, a crispy potato dauphinoise, hickory-smoked hollandaise and balsamic glaze ($17.50). I've always been a sucker for the egg and potato combo. But this is a rehash on another level - perfectly executed and simply gorgeous. My friend orders the poached eggs served on ciabatta with red quinoa, tomato squash and truffle labneh ($11). All the eggs are free range. Because we have eyes bigger than our stomachs, we also order the Farro Salad - prosciutto, roast pumpkin puree, fennel, olives, orange hearts and dried figs ($17). It's zingy in both presentation and flavour. This is faultless, declares my friend. It is in fact, all done to perfection.
Service & other stuff
There's a commitment to detail, a kind of pastoral care, from the bespoke plates and cups, and the up-cycled vintage "destination" teaspoons to the crystal decanter that is our water jug. They do table service, unless you fancy one of those scones and a seat on a stool. The two young waiters are informative, engaging and relaxed. The place is going off. More power to them.