Purveyors of delicious café fare have been conspicuously absent from Mt Wellington and Marua Road until now. Locals will be thanking the merciful mothers of caffeine and bacon that this new joint has popped up - looking brand new — roadside on Marua. The name's not too creative, but the service is nicer than your nana, the food is perfectly executed and the coffee may just be the best south of the CBD.
It's the brainchild of Chris Von Batenburg, a 28-year-old chap who gallantly quit his job in ad-land to give the hospitality game a punt in the name of doing something he really enjoyed. When asked about the inspiration behind Marua, Chris explains that he wanted to offer a Ponsonby-type experience to the locals, and that every neighbourhood deserves a good café.
After being open only a few weeks, some reprehensible scallywag broke in and robbed the place, leaving them short a few Ipads and their point of sale system. Chris and his outstanding staff didn't skip a beat when I visited the morning after, providing a brilliant hospitality experience despite the break in.
The menu is a succinct selection of café classics — not the most creative meals you'll find - but the execution is spot on. I went for the shakshuka: two free range eggs baked in a zesty roasted tomato and capsicum sauce, then doused in a rich yoghurt feta whip — one of their more unique offerings. The eggs benny is another standout, going for only $16 with bacon, and featuring an impeccable citrus hollandaise sauce. The lunch menu had me hungry straight after breakfast, featuring beauties such as the grilled salmon fillet with baby potato, field mushrooms sour cream and chive salad.
If you're not impressed after all that try the coffee, which would hold it's own with the best in Auckland. Chris tells me the beans they use are roasted three times a week by his mate John next door — a boutique coffee roaster who sources the best coffee from around the globe.
All in all, Marua Road is a solid café experience in a location that was sorely lacking one — it's Ponsonby quality with more parking and less wankers. The locals seem to appreciate the fact and have flocked to the place on weekends to experience the relaxed vibes, impeccable caffeinated beverages and dependable menu.