This community sanctuary is like a salad with just the right amount of walnuts.
October 19, 2016
The newly located Crave Café on the outskirts of Kingsland is like a salad with just the right amount of walnuts. In fact one could hardly label this fine new establishment with the ordinary title of café. It's more like a community sanctuary for the ordinary which just happens to make beautiful food. There is no shortage of cafés in Auckland and often the search for one can be like a Sunday with too many free hours— one stops appreciating the simple pleasures a solid café can provide. But when you stumble upon such a place it is certainly a thrill. The new warehouse-turned-community dwelling is this thrill.
Thanks to Auckland's quad-polar weather, I can say I have experienced the Crave Café in three of the four seasons. We arrived for a late brunch-turned-early lunch bathed in sunshine, ate and drank while a rain storm cantered down around us and left under cloudy tropics. So it is safe to say that in any season on any given day, Crave accommodates. The first thing noticed upon waving farewell to Crave's former and tiny premises just across the road, and moseying on into the new warehouse sized building is the incredible energy of community. All types of people were gathered in all corners of the café. Initially it's hard to get your head around the space which is divided into six different areas crafted out of the interior. The architecture is classic industrial, long tables, high shelves the size of scaffolding, whites, greys, blacks, matte black lamps with gold foil interiors, unique cube wood carvings and your almost classic hexagon white back wall tiles.
The menu is simple and not permanent. It consists of regular and specialty coffees, pot-o-leaf teas, smoothies, a protein shake, house mixed barrel sodas, fresh squeezed juices, home grown juices and a pretty tasty brunch menu. Supreme coffee stands loud and proud on top of the sunshine yellow machine with a number of good looking baristas having a swell ole time behind it. A short flat white and soy latte were ordered with the first being somewhat weak and the later being absolutely fine but not outstanding, however the obliging staff were incredibly happy to right the wrong with a second attempt.
Nonetheless, the quality of food was of good manner. I took a random stab at the menu and landed upon the heirloom tomatoes with avocado, garlic croutons, sumac onions, smoked aioli and twice boiled eggs. My partner choose a more calculated option going with The Benediction— manuka bacon, fresh spinach, crispy dauphinoise potato and hickory-smoked hollandaise. Both meals were delivered to us promptly and presented almost as beautifully as they tasted. Although the menu was short and sweet, the countertop cabinet boasted buns for days tucked next to many-a-brioche, muffin, ciabatta, focaccia and savory scone. The smoothies were quietly wishing to be tasted and I spent a good few minutes food stalking my fellow café goers in order to choose between the Monkey Business: cacao, banana and almond milk, or the Red Velvet: banana and berries.
The whole atmosphere of Crave is community and it is the philosophy behind the establishment. A collective group of 15 creative individuals who have managed to play on their strengths and visions have created this space with the sole intention of handing it over to the neighbors and home-goers of Morningside and beyond. The architecture is an exceptional use of space in all areas of the building. The food is as good as a bowl of cherries and the staff are genuine. Crave is worth your salt today and most definitely tomorrow. An epic new spot.