Address: 336 Hibiscus Coast Hwy, Orewa
Open: Weekdays from 10am; weekends 9am-10:30am
Phone: (09) 426 6818
Cost: $50.50 for two people.


Eggs benedict is eggs benedict pretty much wherever you go. But we had a hankering for something else, something a bit different, something with a touch of spice. Casablanca offered that spice on a cold, wet and windy Sunday morning. Hibiscus Coast Highway is lined with places you can eat and few places you can leave your car. But we found one just round the corner and after a short stroll we were ordering our apple tea. The walls are cosily lined with mosaic mirrors, pictures of exotic mosques, sunsets and, of course, that movie poster. Some of the silverware could have done with a bit of a polish but otherwise Casablanca was an inviting, welcoming space. We weren't alone: a large table that included one of those men who seem to delight in including the entire room in his side of a conversation dominated one wall.


Eggs benedict ($15.50) was on the menu but I was more interested in the lavash wraps ($13.50-$15.50) or the fasulya baked beans ($17.50), eventually opting for the Moorish eggs with meatballs ($18.50). Perhaps it was too much to expect the teenager to try anything as exotic as halloumi on bruschetta ($15.50) but as bene was banned she went out on a limb for french toast ($18.50), adding bacon ($21 total). She washed hers down with a iced chocolate ($6.50) and I supped on my apple tea in its delicate glass vessel ($4.50 for a generous pot). She proclaimed her french toast, which came with berry compote and half a stewed apple, as "fairly standard". To which I replied: You should've listened to Mum and tried something new. To which she responded by helping herself to a meatball and declaring it was quite possibly the best thing she'd ever eaten and complained when I polished off my plate. The tomato-based sauce had enough spice for an exotic flavour but not enough to blow up the taste buds. I really had to agree with her.

Moorish eggs baked with meatballs, onion and tomato, served with pide bread. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Moorish eggs baked with meatballs, onion and tomato, served with pide bread. Photo / Jason Oxenham


Our food took a little bit too long to arrive, but we forgave them because of the big table and Mr Look-At-Me. I loved the silver accoutrements, such as a lovely little tea set. After the slow arrival of our food, the staff were keen to ensure we enjoyed it, repeatedly checking on proceedings. We had arrived towards the end of what looked like a busy morning, and we lingered over apple tea as the staff relaxed together. Casablanca looked like a fun place to work as well as being a great place for breakfast.