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19° & CLEAR SKY ON MONDAY 21 JANUARY IN AUCKLAND
By Concrete Playground
December 13, 2018
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Auckland's Best New Cafes of 2018

These six cafes serve up more than just top-notch coffee.
By Concrete Playground
December 13, 2018
  shares

AUCKLAND'S BEST NEW CAFES OF 2018

These six cafes serve up more than just top-notch coffee.

Cafes are no longer just serving great coffee. They're serving great locally roasted coffee in many forms (from cold drip to batch and single origin espresso), great fare that caters to all dietaries. They also boast interesting decors and are passionate about sustainability and the ethical sourcing of ingredients.

And our favourite cafes of the year do an impressive job at covering it all. From bolognese pies and sourdough made from a 600-year-old starter to a European-influenced café and bistro and an all-day spot serving Sri Lankan egg hoppers, these six cafes are doing it all.

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    Daily Bread arrived at the start of this year from the owners of Orphans Kitchen and a 22nd generation German baker. The bakery and deli inside the old Point Chevalier bank is a destination for German-style rye bread, pies, pretzels, made-to-order sandwiches with house-made condiments and sourdough made from a 600-year-old starter — something that earned Patrick Welzenbach the title of New Zealand’s best bread baker. Coffee Supreme serves its first organic roast, milk is available on tap and there are beehives on the roof — initiatives to make the bakery as sustainable as possible. Step into the bakehouse and surrender yourself to the experience. Watch while pastry chefs pinch fine sections of dough, witness wait staff duck and weave with fresh doughnuts in hand, and take a minute to lustfully stare at the wide array of treats in the cabinet from chocolate chips buns to bolognese pies. The menu serves as a delectable equal to the comprehensive cabinet. It even offers a DIY sandwich option.

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    As part of Hobsonville becoming a civilian neighbourhood, café-bistro Fabric joins the lineup on the former RNZAF base. Housed in the old air force repair shop right on the river’s edge and with a stunning Walker Mitchell-designed interior, the place has a huge aesthetic wow factor. Fabric’s menu echoes owners Melissa and Luke Shore’s philosophy of accessible dining, but with a touch of something special. New Zealand menu regulars are given tiny twists and polishes which keep things interesting but without bewildering your regular cafe visitor who just wants something familiar — think truffle oil on your omelette and almond burnt butter with your gnocchi. All in all, it’s a nice little riverside spot with an absolutely stunning aesthetic and French toast you’ll definitely want to come back for. Definitely one to try if you live in or near Hobsonville.

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    New to the leafy suburb of Point Chevalier is a contemporary all-day eatery sure to be a neighbourhood crowd pleaser.  Adhering to the notion that all good things take time, European-influenced café and bistro Ambler has been in the makings for sometime. Fortunately for us, 181 Point Chevalier Road is now home to a brand new establishment that is proving itself well worth the wait. Playing host to two areas, the main space boasts a minimalist bar that almost runs the length of the entire bistro. Occupying the second is a large communal table which encourages patrons to embrace the idea of community togetherness. Noteworthy is Ambler’s croque monsieur. Served loaded with melted cheese and rosemary-salted fries, it’s a dish sure to cure the biggest of hunger pangs. 

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    After being part of Mount Eden’s Olly, Nick Fury, Bryan Anderson and Sean Bone wanted to expand on their experience while capturing a similar vibe to the cafe and gallery. Their new opening Mutual Friends is a grown-up version. Found at the front of Qb Studios’ new shared office space in Newmarket, the cafe offers a contemporary, industrial-style fit-out which accompanies Allpress coffee and an ever-changing cabinet stocked with plenty of vegan/vegetarian options and their signature savoury waffles. The peri peri chicken has already proved a popular option. The trio also plan to curate art through the shared office space with a focus on local up and coming artists. “Working with other independent and local Auckland businesses has always been important to us, we hope to create a community vibe and bring something fresh and exciting to Newmarket.”

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    Lacking on the streets of Auckland were the authentic dishes and bold flavours of Sri Lanka. Setting itself the challenge to fill such a culinary void is St Kevins Arcade’s newcomer, Revolver. The man behind the polished tiling, wooden accents and stained glass windows is Oli Bradford. Drawing from his experience in Bestie, situated almost adjacent, Oli has an in-depth understanding of the arcade’s workings. He recognises the faces of its regular occupants and knows team members that make up its establishments. Revolver takes the place of sandwich shop Fort Greene which has moved to a larger location along Karangahape Road. Offering city-goers specialties common on the streets of Sri Lanka, yet novel here, Oli recommends all his guests to try one of his hoppers. Inspired by his mother’s teachings, these fermented pancake-like delicacies are unparalleled to almost all the usual suspects that currently occupy Auckland’s brunch scene.

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    Francesca Mazza and Aaron Carson had a big 2018. This year the hospitality couple added to their already impressive roster with openings in Freemans Bay, Parnell and at the Chelsea Sugar Factory. The idea behind Rude Boy — a reference to dedicated followers of ska culture — was to create a New Zealand-style deli influenced by home cooking. As well as acknowledging local cuisine, the menu is dotted with influences from Francesca’s Italian heritage — one particular dish is the chicken schnitzel sandwich with puttanesca sauce. Francesca’s training as a patisserie chef is also evident with a giant glass cabinet running the length of the 100-seat space. It is brimming with a huge range of sweet and savoury treats for those on the run, including cream lamingtons, chocolate cake and sandwiches. On the all-day “deli style” menu there’s banana doughnuts with Mexican chocolate ice cream, Rude Boy fried chicken with mash and slaw and Persian pork meatballs in a pretzel baguette with provolone and pesto.

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