We came here because we'd never been to Browns Bay - quelle horreur - but had heard it was the place to brunch beachside.
Parking was not easy but, hey, it was a beautiful Sunday morning.
Nothing was available on the narrow Beachfront Lane itself, where several cafes and pubs are located. We found one a short stroll away on Bay View Rd.
We walked in and felt like we were on holiday. The cafe is across the road from the beach, which is about as close as you can get in Auckland.
The most unusual thing on the menu is blue 'shrooms: a medley of mushshrooms with chardonnay, cream and buffalo blue ($15), or the coconut french toast with brioche, caramelised banana, bacon and Canadian maple syrup ($16).
We ordered the vegetarian breakfast with poached eggs, avocado, two varieties of mushroom, spinach, goat's cheese, roast tomato and multigrain toast ($17) and the eggs benedict with bacon ($17) and a side of hash browns ($5). The vege was the ideal portion size and, much to my relief, the only creamy thing on the plate was a smidgen of goat's cheese - a nice touch.
The bene was great too - two perfectly poached eggs and two generous hash browns with a hint of rosemary. If I was to nit-pick, my toast was undercooked.
The coffee wasn't cheap. A latte is $5 and a soy latte $5.50. Both were large and strong.
The service was excellent. We were warmly welcomed and checked on throughout the meal. The dog got a treat too.
We recommend if you come here avoid the brunch-time rush. We arrived at 11am and grabbed the last of the outdoor tables. It was still busy when we left.
Overall we thought Beach would be a great place to bring visitors to Auckland. It does a good, honest brunch and has one of the city's most appealing vantage points.By Rebecca Barry Hill