Rhianna McCormick-Burns caught up with Amy and Tom at Mount haunt Octopus's Garden

What inspired you to open the Octopus's Garden?

We needed a commercial kitchen for our catering and started looking at buying a café or renting a commercial space up in Auckland, but it was just so expensive! We came down to the Mount for a weekend visit, and had the realisation that living in Auckland didn't really suit our lifestyle. We saw that the space was up for sale and that inspired the thought to do something completely different!

We hadn't run a café before or had any hospo experience but then we thought, 'well, what are we wanting to provide here?' Simple, amazing food with the best ingredients and amazing service is essential, and good coffee. These are all things that we like and we thought if that's what is important to us, it will be important to other people too.


Where did you get the name?
Coming up with a name was hard! We couldn't agree on a name for ages! Amy would suggest names that she would be really excited about and they would just fall flat on me, and vice versa. In the end Amy came up with it, and it just felt right. It was nautical, it communicated the garden and it was unique and easy to remember. We love the throwback of Octopus's Garden being a Beatles song, and I love the Beatles so it worked out really cool.

Can you explain your menu to us?
The first couple of months coming up with the menu has been very organic, we use a lot of dishes that we have created before with catering, and Amy has an amazing repertoire of recipes (over 300 cookbooks worth), so over the last couple of months we have been trying out our favourite recipes, and now we are starting to rotate through some of the best and the public favourites. We want to keep progressing and experimenting with different things.

What's your favourite meal on the menu?
Pulled pork tacos, definitely, and the 'Tradie' is always pretty popular which is a brioche bun with free range eggs and dry cured bacon.

One of the deserts from Octopus's Garden. Photo/supplied
One of the deserts from Octopus's Garden. Photo/supplied

What is on your playlist at the moment?

That's a tough one! We've been playing quite a bit of Julia Stone at the moment. In the café we try to play great beats that everyone will appreciate. We love Flume and London Grammar, we also don't mind a bit of Neil Young and Fleetwood Mac. Rolling Stones are also quite often on rotation.

Best piece of health-related advice?
Amy - I've studied nutrition and done quite a look of work around nutrition, and the biggest thing for me is doing what is right for you rather than following a specific diet. If your body doesn't agree with gluten, just don't eat gluten, but try not to be too hung up on it so that it starts to affect your social life. Sometimes it's healthier to be unhealthy. It always comes back to balance, there's a reason people have been saying it for years and years.

Success is?
Tom - A balanced, happy lifestyle. For us to run a successful café, it would only be successful if our lives outside of work were as happy and balanced as they are inside the café. We could run the best café in town but if you have no life outside of work then I wouldn't call that a success.

Tom and Amy, owners of Octopus's Garden, Mt Maunganui. Photo/supplied
Tom and Amy, owners of Octopus's Garden, Mt Maunganui. Photo/supplied

the details


Octopus's Garden

373 Maunganui Road

Tauranga, New Zealand

Open 7am-2pm Monday to Friday and 8am-2pm Saturday
Call 021 501 648.