If you're in the seaside town of Whangamatā this summer, check out Port Road Project, writes Monique Barden.
It was a hot summer's day in January and Port Road Project was busy. Outside tables lined every possible available space and inside the interior fitout had a relaxed Scandi bach feel, with varnished plywood, wooden tables and concrete polished floors. At the back was a wee courtyard with pebbles, rustic wooden tables, umbrellas and a vintage wood-fired barbecue/smoker cranking away. We sat quite close to this outdoor heater, which appeared to be a magnet for barbecue enthusiasts. As fresh sweetcorn roasted and a tray of cool beers sailed past, it felt like a quintessential Kiwi summer at the bach.
The breakfast menu is quite simple, so my brunch companions went for the most exotic items. The Rarakor ($24), with house-cured salmon gravlax on a potato pancake topped with a poached egg, yogurt dressing, and pickled cucumbers, was excellent.
The Turkish poached eggs ($19), with a yogurt herb sauce, roast cherry tomatoes, chilli butter and toasted pide, was messy eating but earned a verdict of "absolutely beautiful" for its stunning presentation.
My house-made granola ($15) was loaded with fresh raspberries, blueberries, strawberries and pineapple, raspberry chia and Greek-style yoghurt, all-in-all quite delicious and picturesque.
The vintage Temuka serving ware, an iconic South Island ceramic from the 1960s, was delightful and added to the Kiwi bach vibe.
Coffee was Allpress and was served hot, a worthy mention because a lukewarm latte is a glass full of disappointment. The cabinet was stocked with delicious looking homemade baking and the fresh cinnamon doughnuts with mascarpone screamed: "Eat me."
A small but enticing selection of wines was available by the glass, along with craft beers and ciders on tap.
Despite every square inch of PRP being occupied with hungry holidaymakers, the staff were unflappable, taking it all in their stride with excellent service. Clearly, they are satisfying the appetites of city slickers and their loyal locals without losing their soul, after all, good food, good surf and good times is what we came for.
Port Road Project
719 Port Rd, Whangamatā
Ph: (07) 865 7288
We spent $75 for three