Address: 414 Sandringham Rd, Sandringham
Phone: (09) 8461579
Open: Mon-Fri 7am-3.30pm; weekends 8am-4pm
Cost: $56 for two (including take-home treats)


In a suburb so synonymous with spicy deliciousness you can book walking tours of its foodie delights, a good long black is hard to come by. Enter the Blue Rose, a unique Pasifika-meets-Palagi offering in a blink-and-you-might-miss-it block of shops towards the St Luke's end of Sandringham Rd.

The wallpaper is pure chintz, but the spotless white vinyl banquette seats and polished concrete floor scream modern. Colonial china plates sit alongside island fans; stainless steel lighting hangs over retro tins of baking powder. The aesthetic is eclectic, stylish and completely charming.

Don't go early if you want the fresh-baked coconut buns that require a minimum three-hours' rising time, but that Pacific feel is evident throughout the menu. You can get an eggs benedict for example, but the usual ham and salmon toppings are supplemented by a pork belly option ($17.50). We were tempted by the mussel fritters but, well, pork
belly. It was truck-stop-sized and came unadorned, barring a small dish of mango chutney. The eggs were advertised as free-range, and though they were bright of yolk, they were not runny. The hollandaise was, literally, a pale imitation of what it could have been, and tasted suspiciously store-bought.


A $17.50 serve of garlic mushrooms came with two tasty breakfast sausages and an enormous wedge of potato bake, but the bake had not been cooked long enough and the mushrooms had seen better days.

I wanted to enjoy this so much more than I did. Redemption then, in the form of the home baking at the counter. We took home a $6.50 "hangi pie" (pumpkin, kumara and more pork) for later, and - though the pink velvet cupcakes were technicolour-tempting - a $4.50 slice of Koko Samoa chocolate cake.

Both were really good. The coffee - hot, strong and Supreme blend - was excellent.

It's a small space, but it wasn't overly busy early on a Saturday morning, so a longish wait (enough for two of those excellent long blacks) was unexpected. Pluses? You won't go home hungry - the $19.50 sausage, bacon, eggs, mushrooms and toast or potato bake big breakfast is so big, we spotted one couple sharing a single order.