Address: 20 Greenhithe Rd, Greenhithe
Phone: (09) 413 9322
Open: Monday to Sunday, 7am-3pm
Cost: $47.50 for two

Set up & site

Greenhithe is one of those New Zealand-as-it-once-was kind of places: a few character homes with gravel driveways still exist among the architecturally designed McMansions. It's an oasis of calm mixed with class since the motorway linking north and west took the traffic off Greenhithe Rd. Only a few roundabouts into the village is a small commercial area that includes The Collins cafe. It's in an old villa and has retained a lovely brick fireplace, an old ceiling blocked into textured squares by varnished wooden beams and the kinds of features that you look at with your dining companions and say, "that must have been the original hallway … " But ... On a hot and humid summer Saturday morning, a fan may have eased the temperature inside from a migraine-inducing sauna. Yes, Collins offers outdoor seating (full) but inside nothing cooled our sweaty brows.

Sustenance & swill

My eye was instantly drawn to the "original Huevos Benidictos" ($19.50), which promised "poached eggs, potato hash, chorizo, chipotle cream, salsa and hollandaise". And delivered all of the above. My complaint is that the "hash" was a mound of finely grated potato. It dominated the meal and was too dense to finish.

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My companion opted for the Southern-style french toast ($18.50), and when I commented on the doorstep nature of the toast, she said, "it's a brioche!", and promptly cleaned her plate.

Service & other stuff

The Collins has parking plentiful parking on what must have been the original villa's front lawn. The dominating feature inside is a tiled bar.

Left to our own devices, we explored to find a table for two plus hangers-on. We found a cool corner but the table seated eight and one doesn't want to be that person who hogs seats in a busy restaurant, so we opted to sit inside.

At no point did a server offer assistance. Ordering a cappuccino ($4.50) and an orange juice ($5) while waiting for others to join us, I was surprised to be asked to put a credit card on the bar, indeed; we had to order at the bar too — but maybe Greenhithe isn't as genteel as it looks and dine-and-dashers are a problem here.