Corelli's Cafe in Devonport, like Ponsonby's Cezanne's, is one of those hard to find jack-of-all-trades establishments open sixteen hours per day, serving breakfast, dessert and everything in between; and that's consistently good.
Located right next door to the lovely Victoria Theatre and Cinema along the suburb's main strip, Corelli's is always crammed with a chatty mix of locals and daytrippers from the mainland. It's simple, homely and a little rustic - wooden everything, French windows, fresh flowers on the tabletops, a sizeable courtyard out front and New Zealand artwork decorating the walls. As well as an extensive five page menu and daily specials, there's free, speedy wi-fi, live music nights and a wonderful initiative called Pottery Dinners - for just $45 you can smash a three-course meal and take the plate or bowl, handmade by a local artist, home.
Corelli's is renowned for its coffee, roasted on-site from a blend of five different beans and supplied to many other cafes in town. If your beans are anything less than perfect, the long black is the least forgiving drink - but ours were on point, strong and smooth with a unusually thick layer of creme.
My flatmate ordered the breakfast special, scrawled on the huge blackboard behind the counter: ham, sage and scrambled eggs on sour dough ($10). I went for the Byron breakfast (as it included my latest obsession wasabi mayo), with smoked salmon, avocado, spinach, roast tomato and poached eggs ($19.50).
The large square plates brought out in just over ten minutes were piled high and filled to the corners with food. My flatmate's meal was exactly as described, and "super tasty", and the Byron turned out to be a carefully assembled stack that fell apart the second my fork penetrated the egg yolk. Each layer was delicious, especially the spinach - instead of throwing a handful of leaves on top, they chopped and seasoned it like a boss. The ingredients must have been pretty healthy and top-shelf too, because it's rare to eat that much food and walk away sans stomach-ache. So instead we walked away with a white chocolate and macadamia brownie ($5) the size of my face.
The best time to pop by is in the evenings, when you can watch retired couples and tweens alike dance like no one's watching to the likes of The Porcelains and Sandpaper Tango.