Ponsonby has returned to its Polynesian roots with new eatery Lei. Brother-sister duo Saione Greer and Natasha Finau opened the café to bring the Pacific back to the inner-city suburb. Passionate about their Tongan heritage and great customer service, the pair's new opening is warm and welcoming and serves a Pacific twist on traditional café favourites.
Whether you're after a morning nibble, want to delve into a delicious lunch or simply just a tasty treat and a coffee to go, Lei has it all. The menu is simple but don't let that fool you, it's packed with rich homely meals and plenty of naughty treats. Fijian chicken curry is a lunch favourite, while the creamy coconut porridge is sure to satisfy your breakfast needs.
I opted for the nourishing avocado salad with poached egg, which is the perfect dish to kick-start your weekend. But if you're not feeling an egg then Mama J's muesli topped with berries, banana and yoghurt will hit the spot, or try the 'Poly Toast', a delicious island twist on the French version made with brioche, bacon, mascarpone, raspberry coulis and crushed walnuts — trust me, you won't be disappointed.
Be sure you grab one of the coconut rice pudding tarts to go from the cabinet of wonderful treats, but get in there quick as they're in popular demand. The pai siamu — a date scone baked with jam — is equally as delicious, while the succulent pani popo (coconut buns) takes the cake.
This hidden gem is not only good for your belly but also good on the eye. Family portraits hang proudly on the walls while local artist Flox makes the walls pop with a vibrant floral display. Pull up a pew at the new Ponsonby café; the food and the service will make you feel right at home.
Image: Lei Facebook