A new addition to Mount Manganui's cafe scene has raised the game.
Set up and site: Next to a main road, opposite a large construction site, Eddies & Elspeth is a short drive from the main stretch of Mt Maunganui shops. The bakery (the 'Elspeth' part of the name) recently expanded to include a full cafe service (Eddies), on a corner where parking is in hot demand. We secured one then dashed through the rain only to find the venue's cosy, heated indoor seats were taken. Then our luck changed: the sun came out, and our outdoor table under an awning with a fresh spring breeze became the perfect place to be. Many others thought so too, judging by the constantly revolving front door. Clearly, word has spread about what a good start Eddies & Elspeth has made.
Sustenance and swill: The menu is strong, so strong we spent a full 15 minutes choosing what to order. The kids settled on a mousetrap ($6), which came with gooey cheese and a salty spread of miso, a plate of beautiful waffles adorned with berries and cream ($8.50), a coconut milkshake ($7.50) and berry kombucha ($5). The adults over-ordered with bacon and egg and fried chicken baos ($14), the sweet potato pancakes ($17.50), and kimchi waffle fries ($12). Everything came with extras, from the crunchy granola on the pancakes, to the crispy radish and sprouts on the baos. The standout dish was the kimchi fries: freshly fried crinkle-cut purple kumara crisps with homemade kimchi, chillis, greens and a smear of aioli. It was good, so very, very good that a fight nearly broke out over the last few bites. The chai ($5) was decent and the coffee ($5) was strong, punchy and landed on our table before we'd finished ordering. You've gotta love that.
Service and other stuff: It's providing a near-perfect cafe experience, but Eddies & Elspeth loses half a star for the site's weird set-up. if you want to order cabinet food from Elspeth bakery side, you'll need to go to a separate counter from the Eddies cafe side, where you order off the menu. It's confusing and unnecessary. Surely these could be amalgamated? Thankfully, everything else is perfect. It was a busy lunchtime but every dish arrived Instagram-worthy. We couldn't help ourselves and grabbed a chocolate-covered granola bar for the trip back to Auckland. But we're already dreaming of our next trip back to try the squid ink crumpets, sticky rice porridge, baked eggs and shredded roast chicken sandwich with chimichurri sauce. Mmm. Can't wait.
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Eddies & Elspeth
2A Terrace Ave, Mount Maunganui, Tauranga
Open: Monday-Saturday, 7am-3pm; closed on Sunday.
We spent: $75.50 for four