Address: 62 Michaels Ave, Ellerslie
Herald Rating:

The menu

is probably the most adventurous I've seen in Auckland. Free-range eggs, toast and tomato sauce made to a family recipe is the only standard option. Less traditional fare includes Japanese salmon with pickled vegetables, seasonal breakfast crumble with orange-blossom yoghurt and spiced fish cakes with tomato sauce, sauteed silverbeet and fried potato.

The look is like someone's shifted a piece of Ponsonby Rd to the 'burbs. Chic, minimalist design in cool tones, exposed walls, concrete floors and wooden tables for a sense of natural warmth. The street-front outdoor area is a suntrap, the inside airy. Happily, they left the hipsters behind.

The presentation is fantastic - bright, clean and contemporary, right down to the micro-herbs dusting savoury dishes. My wife rightly raved about her apple latkes with apple salted caramel, roasted tamarillo and greek yoghurt ($17.90) - soft, sweet and soothing for a Saturday morning. My beans with fennel and egg and sausage on the side ($21.50) were okay but, I felt, a little under-seasoned. The small person's boiled egg ($5) was hard-boiled, making the soldiers somewhat redundant. They use organic and free-range products and local and boutique suppliers when possible.

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The coffee is Kokako Organic. Smooth and velvety. I would have preferred it a tad hotter though.

The service is outstanding. Apparently the owner came up with the idea as part of a business degree and spent ages getting it off the ground. If it's a labour of love, it shows in the way they treat their customers.

Overall, this visit was a tiny bit disappointing food-wise, and with relatively high prices and lofty aspirations it needs to be spot-on. But I'd been before and eaten well, so am confident it was a blip. Great service, easy parking and the laid-back vibe make it a delight.