Friday, April 21, 2017

Araroa Tearooms, Auckland (NZ) by Benny

Ever felt like taking a break from the responsibilities of adulthood to experience again the wonder and excitement of childhood? On a day when miserable weather made me abandon the Auckland Coast to Coast walk, I found myself in the rather grandly named Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT). This is the type of place you take your children when you have exhausted all your school holiday ideas before the holidays have ended. And when you get there, you realise that it should have been at the top of your list, not at the bottom. There are lots of interactive displays and rides that engage both the young and the young at heart; and it’s not all history: many exhibits focus on the future – one even gives you hands-on fun with one of those new-fangled 3D printers.

Araroa Tearooms, Auckland, burger
Beef burger and chips

And when eventually the kids’ attention turns to food, there is the MOTAT cafĂ©, also known as the Araroa Tearooms. Fortunately, it is open until 4pm, for those times when lunch is late because the kids won’t leave the exhibits.

Araroa Tearooms, Auckland
Occupying a few rooms on the ground floor of a rather grand but faded historic weatherboard building, the Araroa Tearooms is just like an old-fashioned milk bar (“dairy” in Kiwi-language) – the long counter rather crowded with all sorts of snacks and condiments; a couple of glass display cases: one for hot food (pies and sausage rolls); and one for cold (sandwiches, rolls and a few tired looking tarts – did I mention that I was having a late lunch?). The menu is hardly inspiring: two burgers (chicken and beef); two “dogs” (Hawt and Sheep); three wraps (Salmon, Chicken and Veg); three sides (fries, polenta chips, and salad). A kids’ menu lists chicken strips, a hot dog and a beef mini burger. That’s it, except for whatever is left on the counter.

Not expecting much, I ordered the beef burger and a side of chips (see first pic). At NZ$14 this was one of the best value burgers ever – the beef patty was perfectly cooked with great flavour and texture, nicely complemented by a slice of smoky cheddar, onion rings, onion jam and fresh lettuce. Even the bun was great – not too soft, not too chewy. Overall, a very good burger. The chips were fresh from the fryer – lovely and crisp on the outside, soft in the middle. You really can’t ask for anything more.

Araroa Tearooms, Auckland
Having tasted a lot of burgers over the last year (JD’s, Burger Block, Three One 2 One, Burger Project, Yo My Goodness), I’d have to say that this was one of the better ones, especially when you consider the price.


We really liked it
We really liked it.
Cheap eats
Cheap eats.


The Araroa Tearooms may look very quaint and have a limited menu, but it serves a killer beef burger.

Find it at

Araroa Tearooms
Museum of Transport and Technology
805 Great North Road
Western Springs, Auckland 1022
New Zealand
Phone +64 9 815 5800

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