I might be biased because I liked Major Sprout as soon as I heard its name. There’s something about the idea of military themed vegetables that had me itching to get down to the eatery's freshly opened doors on Graham Street stat. I really wanted the walls to be decorated with little pictures of sergeant sprouts in army uniforms saluting diners, so the expansive bright white interiors were only a slight let-down. It's a pretty beautiful, big, clean looking space with just enough of an industrial undertone for me to be able to talk about industrial undertones with a pretend British accent.
Seating is abundant but so is the hype around Major Sprout, so if you're thinking about popping in for a speed lunch during Auckland's unanimous lunch hour, be prepared to queue for a little while. Ditto if you're in for weekend brunch. How is this café more prenatally popular than both Princess Charlotte and Easton West (fingers crossed) combined, you might ask? It's from the same mastermind behind local lunching darlings Dear Jervois and Little King, David Lee, and with Phil Czerwonatis, former head chef of Rosie, manning the kitchen, it's little wonder Auckland's foodies are flocking.
If you weren't aware of the common denominator between Dear Jervois and Major Sprout before stepping foot in the new establishment, you could probably pick it after perusing the menu. (Side note: when you talk about the names Dear Jervois and Major Sprout together, don’t you just imagine army corporal Sprout writing mid-war letters to his beloved wife Jervois back home? No?) The menu covers all bases, while keeping things quirky enough for others to genuinely want to hear about your meal in the post-dining back-at-the-office bragging review. Think compressed watermelon and stone fruit with rhubarb, herbed broken eggs with asparagus, green eggs benedict and a delightful creation called The Crunchy Gentleman which is a ham and provolone toasted sammie featuring three cheese béchamel and date and chilli chutney.
If the interiors have an industrial undertone at Major Sprout, the food has an Asian one. There is a kind of hybrid Japanese/Korean sway to the menu and the counter food alike. Fresh sushi and Japanese inspired salads inhabit the counter alongside sweet treats from The Raw Kitchen as ready-made options, and the BiBimBap brings a Korean influence to the menu. Quinoa rice, tofu crumble, a hen egg, sautéed veggies and chilli jam, the BiBimBap is undeniably the star of the Major Sprout show, and what's more, you get to say the word "BiBimBap" when you order.
In all, Major Sprout lives up to all expectations and hype surrounding its arrival. There's Flight Coffee and Storm and India teas for those elusive who opt for tea. And despite the lack of appearance of any soldier-clad sprouts or any other war-vet vegetables whatsoever, I'm already dreaming of my next BiBamBap and strawberries and cream smoothie.