Sunday, December 5, 2010

Richmond Road Cafe, Auckland (NZ) by Big Fil

Inner city Auckland has been or is going through the same gentrification as Australian cities. Lots of cafés, restaurants, fashion outlets at (by local standards) inflated prices. In this context our Lonely Planet named Richmond Road Café as Auckland's 'it' café, and with a recommendation like that how could we resist.

Stepping into the café was a bit of a deja vu moment. Except for the change in accents and complementary newspapers it's very reminiscent of a Melbourne upmarket inner city café. Brown and cream décor, mid-twenties staff, open kitchen area behind which you can watch meals being prepared. Maybe less diversity in the type of patrons than you'd expect in Melbourne, but nobody who would seem particularly out of place somewhere like Three Bags Full. It's all nice enough but felt a little familiar, and I'd been hoping it would have more of a distinctive Kiwi flavour (even if I wasn't quite sure what that might mean).

Hungry Pete went for the lemon scented pancakes with boysenberry compote, cinnamon syrup, mascarpone and bacon. He was a big fan of this but I didn't like it quite so much. I thought the compote was overly tart and not such a good match for the bacon (which Hungry Pete ordered and wouldn't have been my choice with this combination). I also thought the cinnamon overpowered any lemon scent from the pancakes.

On the other hand, big kudos for my Eggs Benedict. The eggs were nicely poached (the yolks almost exploded when I stuck my fork into them), the muffin properly toasted, the hollandaise sauce rich but not overpoweringly so. The bacon being beautifully crispy but just a little cold was the only letdown on one of the best Egg Benedicts I've had.

Richmond Road Café was a good solid start to our New Zealand culinary experience. Good food, pleasant setting, lots of friendly staff, similar prices to comparable places at home. But it didn't have quite what we were looking for, something to distinguish it from Australian city cafés.

318 Richmond Road
Grey Lynn Auckland
Tel: (09) 360 5559

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