L'Oeuf seems to maintain a magnetic pull on alternative youths and mums and dads alike creating a steady stream of visitors to the quiet Mount Albert location. Hot on the tail of a recent trend in cafés found around Paris’ uber-cool Saint Martin area and other hipster-fringed arrondissements, the cuisine is not particularly French with a diverse menu of plates featuring nationalities of their own. In being this way L’Oeuf (‘egg’ in French) somehow makes it acceptable to have for breakfast the kind of food normally reserved for dinner. Its bold moves have been heralded in reviews non-stop since its arrival.
The modern, woody interior framed by hanging plants radiates a warm mid-century-eque vibe. I like the pretty gateaux beneath cake globes on the baby blue-tiled counter, adding a sweet touch. It’s just a little place, but a little place with thoughtful design and big ambitions that have had sold the hearts of Auckland.
It really is the brunch/lunch menu though that deserves the most attention though. The Cambodian ($16.50) is a dreamy bowl of black banana rice and succulent lychees and kiwifruit with salted coconut cream. It’s a summery dish but served warm to soothe (the soul or hangover: your choice). The Geisha is another popular favourite. The soba noodles with red cabbage, daikon and bean sprouts with a zingy dressing is fresh but doesn’t go OTT on the Asian flavours making it palatable for a brunch time meal. Choose your protein to flesh it out (chicken for $18.90, or tofu for $17.90).
For people who like to eat their food groups in the correct order then L’Oeuf’s signature dish ‘The Nest” will surely satisfy, with two soft-boiled eggs crumbled up with sunflower seeds and lightly fried back together again (Yes, a very cool and delicious Humpty). The eggs are cradled in a cute crispy noodle basket in a sea of beetroot, feta and mesclun. ($17.50). A masterpiece almost too pretty to eat, but so delicious that you will be glad you did. Meat lovers can add black pudding or bacon. The ‘Hunter’ is another more traditional option, with creamy balsamic mushies with chorizo on sourdough ($19.50)
L’Oeuf’s coffee has a reputation for being good and strong, with one of the baristas recently carving up at the Atomic latté art comp. With L'Oeuf's French owners recently opening a new Taiwanese street-food project, Chinoiserie, next door, this Mount Albert block of shops is becoming cooler by the minute.