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The Return of RAD

The Chuck Norris of the cafe scene.
By Stephen Heard
June 30, 2014
By Stephen Heard
June 30, 2014

The Return of RAD brings an air of freshness to the Mt Eden village. It could be anything from the staff adorned in denim dungaree aprons (it looks cooler than it sounds), the striking blue and green mosaic upon entry, the lego order numbers, the Motown classics on the sound system, or the understated inclusion of triangles running through the decor of exposed brick and wooden panels.

This well thought-out piece of modern art is the brainchild of Auckland barista Duke Tran and family. Duke himself holds down the caffeine machine, while his mum takes the reins of the kitchen, dad bakes bread and his brother works the floor.

The casually presented menu subtly ties in the family's Vietnamese heritage, all the way from the complimentary chilled green rose tea on arrival to Grandma's Pork Bánh mì ($12.5), beef lemongrass on vermicelli noodles ($18.5), and the peanut butter buttermilk pancakes ($15.5). It also features some standard options within the three tiers (Breakfast, Lunch and Freshly Rad Rolls) including mushrooms on toast - comprising every shroom "but the magical kind", eggs benny on potato cakes, baby back ribs with fries, chicken, quinoa and kale salad - as well as a host of other options.

Smoothies and freshly squeezed juices are $7 a pop, and you can't go past the aptly named 'This sh*t is bananas. Literally' - a blend of banana, peanut butter, almond milk and vanilla paste.

Those in need of a sugar hit should look no further than the cake cabinet which boasts an array of sweets from pecan to caramel crumble slice and banana and salted caramel cake. And with award-winning baristas at the wheel of the infamous Strada coffee machine named The Slayer, you can't walk out without having a brew. They do consider themselves the "Chuck Norris of making coffee" after all.

A spot at the breakfast bar will give you a good outlook on those heading to the daily grind and there are ample tables and booths on hand. Just be sure to time your visit to beat the rush.

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