20° & CLOUDY ON THURSDAY 30 MARCH IN AUCKLAND
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The brunch saviour of Great South Road.

Slightly dusty from the previous night and in serious need of syrupy, strong caffeine and a decent brekky, I had my doubts about this new cafe with the odd name and the quirky decor. It appears rather unassuming from the outside, however upon entry I can see they've fully committed to conveying that unique and quirky personality that the name suggests. They've filled the room with all sorts; a breakfast bar of solid white marble, a plethora of hanging shrubbery, retro green couch and a huge backlit sign declaring the name of the cafe. Despite this they still somehow pull it off, creating a unique and interesting space. 

I'm spotted looking rather unsavoury, sunglasses on, and a waitress (no doubt aware of my condition) rushes to my side and offers me coffee and water. She's bright and bubbly, and coaxes a few chuckles out of me and my companion as she explains the menu. Coffee comes out in a flash, to my delight it's the perfect temperature and strength, and is by all accounts a bloody good cuppa. Next is food and the indecision at my table is palpable. The menu isn't super long, but is packed with slightly unconventional meals such as chilli scrambled eggs, with sundried tomato hummus ($14.50) or a kumara hotcakes with medjool date paste and mascarpone ($17). My ladyfriend goes for the breakfast board ($21.50) and after the waitress berates me for attempting to order the same thing, I opt for the very ordinary eggs benny ($19.50).

Our meals arrive within 15 minutes, despite how ultra-busy it is and I instantly regret my decision. My meal is by all accounts attractive and appetising by eggs benny standards, but the breakfast board looks magnificent (a strong word for brunch, but you have to see this thing). A foot long wooden board is adorned with all manner of delights including; a wee cup of granola, boiled egg and rye bread soldiers, house smoked prosciutto and salmon, haloumi, chorizo, roquette pesto (yum green stuff) and vine ripened tomatoes. Not only does it look immaculate, it's delicious, with the house smoked prosciutto and chorizo standouts in a phenomenal breakfast experience. My eggs benny on the other hand was good without being extraordinary, a fact which haunted me during the entire breakfast as I was consumed by food envy.

Upon approaching the counter to pay, my jaw dropped and my eyes widened. The cabinet was stuffed to the brim with all manner of baked fare, from sugary donuts oozing cream, to carrot cakes slathered in thick icing. I thought it'd be rude not to dabble. After inhaling two glorious house baked donuts, paying a very reasonable $50 (for brunch coffee and dessert for two) and considering my overall experience; I've come to the sound conclusion that this cafe is pretty awesome. In an area which is oddly lacking in top notch breakfast spots Hello Friends is a very welcome addition; call it the brunch time saviour of Great South Road.

Published on March 17, 2016 by Ben Tutty

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