New Herne Bay cafe Zus & Zo is dragging in the locals, but we think the secret should be shared. Owner Joost van den Berg is Dutch and he wanted to recreate the kind of sandwich shop he loved from home. He sells a range of freshly made sandwiches priced from $7 on a choice of breads with yummy fillings including aged cheddar on truffle mayonnaise, prawns, and roast vegetables. Toasted sandwiches are also available and the coffee is good. There's a limited cooked breakfast menu or you can buy a bread basket and dip into the communal condiments. There's also cakes on the counter and Zus & Zo (which means This and That in Dutch) stays open late enough for afternoon tea, seven days a week. You'll find it at 228 Jervois Rd, a block down the improving coffee strip from French deli La Boulange in the old Bella Pacific shop next door to Anna Bibby Gallery.

Designer doughnuts

There are doughnuts and then there are designer doughnuts - like the ones created by leading chef Sean Armstrong which are available at Nosh Food Markets. Armstrong trained in New Zealand before moving to London where he worked for three years in Michelin Star restaurants. He has been head chef at O'Connell Street Bistro and is the former proprietor/chef of Prime Bistro.

Now he has Loaf - a company creating hand-crafted breads, slices and now doughnuts in berry, chocolate and apple varieties, coated with sugar and cinnamon. Decadent and delicious. $3.30 each from all Nosh Food Markets.

Spring flavours

If you're in the Herne Bay neighbourhood, you may like to check out SidArt which has three new menus in place - the nine-course tasting, four-course a la carte and the regular a la carte. Entree dishes include yellowfin tuna with seared scallops and smoked parsnip, ostrich, licorice, coffee and hazelnuts.The mains include caramelised duck and pork with chocolate and avocado, and for dessert try the passionfruit parfait with pineapple and lemongrass. Yes, please! SidArt Restaurant, Level 1, Three Lamps Plaza, 283 Ponsonby Rd, ph (09) 360 2122.

Bookie brunch

Good food and stimulating company, what more could one want? This weekend, as part of the Words on a Small Island Waiheke Book Festival, there will be a special spring brunch at the Mudbrick Vineyard on Sunday morning. Enjoy bubbly on arrival, some tempting classic novels in iconic orange covers plus a menu featuring dishes from Julie Le Clerc's new book Made by Hand. Le Clerc will be there to share a few cooking tips. $50 per person. Bookings essential, email or go to