Dining cars first gained popularity in this world of ours back in the mid-1880s when dedicated dining cars on long distance trains from Chicago become a regular feature. Unfortunately, with the rise in private vehicles and commercial flights (and drop in prices), trains became a near-gone relic of the past, and with them the joy of dining inside a small rectangular space shaped like a train (because it is a train). Until now.
For those who like a cafe experience a little bit different than your usual four-wall dining experience, Carriages, the 1930s-style cafe and wine bar, might offer a pretty neat solution. The Kumeu-based cafe prides itself in having two ex-train carts on-site for you to dine or drink coffee in. And, for those who like bird life, a the cafe has a pretty cute duck pond too, overlooked by a really nice and breezy outdoor deck.
The food's pretty great too. Carriages Cafe offers a pretty mouth-watering selection of cakes (note: the carrot cake is a heavenly level of moist without being soggy), as well as other dishes. On this occasion I tried the mushrooms on toast ($15) which came with a creamy blue cheese sauce and was served on foccacia bread. Anyone who's a sucker for blue cheese would appreciate the cheese-mushroom combo, although the sauce had quite a thick texture - but nothing that couldn't be forgiven. I also tried the toffee nut iced coffee, which on a hot day out in Kumeu is a little bit of godsend. All in all a pretty satisfying lunch.
Carriages is definitely a cute country cafe worth trying out next time you're thinking about heading out to the country. Just be sure to bring a wee loaf of bread for the ducks.