THE TEN BEST BRUNCH CAFES IN AUCKLAND
Brunches worth leaving the shelter your soft duvet abode for.
When Guy Beringer created the portmanteau 'brunch' by bringing together the words breakfast and lunch in 1895, he wasn't just bringing in a new word into the Oxford dictionary. The man invented an entire new and beautiful mindset about food. Inspired by a hangover, Beringer wrote a public plea for Sunday breakfasts to be served all the way through until lunchtime. Here's a bit of his original, kind of archaic-sounding plea, found in the New York Times:
"Instead of England's early Sunday dinner, a postchurch ordeal of heavy meats and savory pies, why not a new meal, served around noon, that starts with tea or coffee, marmalade and other breakfast fixtures before moving along to the heavier fare?
By eliminating the need to get up early on Sunday, brunch would make life brighter for Saturday-night carousers. It would promote human happiness in other ways as well.
Brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting... It is talk-compelling. It puts you in a good temper, it makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings, it sweeps away the worries and cobwebs of the week."
And the world listened. Well, not all of the world, but Auckland did. And that's what counts. Beringer's call for 'human happiness' has lead to Auckland's streets being stocked with great brunch-serving cafes; havens for those with heavy heads. Below are the ones that most embody that original brunch spirit. Enjoy.
Sometimes when you brunch you don’t just need to brunch, you need to escape your city-caused headaches and worries. Here Fernielea can help. The cafe provides a great backdrop for unwinding and rebooting while being served gorgeous plates of food. Its wee outdoor children’s play area is also a good spot for young parents to park their kids.
The Fridge is a great halfway house for those sorry sore-headed humans who frolicked a little too hard the night before. Because making the decision to get out of bed was hard enough, The Fridge has an almost all-encompassing food selection, stocking everything from pies to cabinet nibbles to full-on classic brunch options, which means that you don’t have to make any food commitments until you’re fully ready to. Its generous seating area makes it a good location for a larger gathering too.
Situated in Ponsonby Central, Toru’s a cafe that’s a little bit more high energy (sometimes not quite the required mood for a lazy, late breakfast), but Toru makes up for its electric atmosphere with its inner-city accessibility and food that straddles the difficult, almost polar objectives of comfort and intrigue. Exhibit A: Their french toast served with a blue cheese topping, bacon and maple syrup. Who does that? Toru, Toru does.
Home to the best French toast in town (and we don’t say that lightly), The Collins is a cafe oasis occupying the outskirts of the North Shore. Its outdoor seating is ideal terrain for having conversations over brunch which end up stretching across the day.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, Bungalo is the cafe king of the textbook Eggs Benedict. Competition, take note: this is how you poach an egg, this is how you make the hollandaise sauce, this is how you wilt the spinach; this is how one person’s hunger perfectly ends.
Mind the weekend crowds.
Although Rosie does have a upmarket vibe which your reviewer finds encroaches on one’s ability to comfortably tilt back at a 45 degree angle and while away the hours, her brunch menu is too good to overlook. Of special note are her chocolate and coconut smoothies. It’s good enough to be the imperative drink order any time you’re in or near Parnell and feeling thirsty.
Dear Jervois has become somewhat of an urban myth since swinging its doors open just over a year ago. Thirty-minute or more queues still form part of any visiting ritual, which leaves those sitting down fidgeting and struck with a slight pang of guilt for taking any more time than needed to scoff down their food (or maybe that was just me). Crowds aside, their puffy, gluten-free waffles are enough to leave disenchanted, hardened reviewers such as ourselves waxing lyrical about their waffles as if they were some glorious, brand new invention.
Serving their perky breakfasts with a side of a French accent, Le Petit Bocal have managed to navigate their way below the radar for quite some time providing an oasis of pared back freshness in terms of aesthetic and culinary offerings. Try their breakfast bruschetta with salmon gravlax – it’s what you need right now, trust me.
One way for a cafe to incur a bunch of hangers on is to have bottomless coffee, welcoming staff and comfy booths. Another is to serve near faultless meals. The Federal Delicatessen does both, which has made us part of their fan club since their opening night.
Predictably, Al Brown’s menu is heavy on the meat side, but there are some options for vegetarians too.
L’Oeuf’s brunch is the kind of perfection that none of us deserve on a Sunday morning. Yet they serve it to us unworthy lot anyway. Exceptional examples include their token dish The Nest (crumbled eggs perched in a little nest nestled into a salad) and their truffle oil mushrooms on toast. Choices are limited, but with everything on the menu absolutely hitting the mark you honestly don’t need that many options.