When the big yellow graces us with his presence, Buoy will be one of the best places in the city to eat brunch.
Almost directly under the harbour bridge, looking out over bobbing yacht masts and the Auckland harbour, you'll find Buoy. In charmingly understated nautically themed surroundings, the team here serve rustic breakfast staples and classic lunch meals.
The decor is characterised by light varnished wood (like you'd find on the deck of a yacht), ferns hanging from a ceiling beam by buoy ropes, and a large outdoor deck littered with benches. When winter finally pisses off and big yellow graces us with his presence, the outdoor area will be a brilliant dining venue thanks to seating enough for 50 plus diners, and a 180 degree view of the harbour.
If you come while they're busy, be prepared to wait for a decent spell. When we visited we languished for between 45 minutes to an hour, hangovers worsening and bellys grumbling. Luckily the food was almost worth the wait.
The kitchen's not trying to produce anything uber-fancy, focusing instead on plating well executed basics. Mostly they succeed. Highlights at breakfast time include the potato rosti, house smoked salmon and fresh tomato salsa ($19) - a brunch staple that was perfectly cooked and absolutely delicious. The creamy balsamic mushrooms on wild rye toast ($17) is a generously apportioned and satisfying brunch meal that probably ranks as the second best mushy breakfast in Auckland (no one can dethrone Dizengoff's version from the top spot).
At lunch time the hot roll of beef cheek with cheese ($19) is classic comfort food reminiscent of delicious American diner fare. For something lighter give the fish salad with coconut cream and lemon a whirl. It's raw fish just like nana used to make, enlivened by flavours of chilli and coriander and served in an iceberg cup.
Considering the quality of the food, coffee and location, the wait can be forgiven and chalked up to teething problems in a brand new cafe. Come summer when the sun's shining on their expansive deck, Buoy will be one of the best places in the city to eat brunch, all the while looking out over the calm waters of Auckland's harbour.