New Auckland deli Monstera is a breath of fresh air

First look: Monstera

At new Karangahape Road deli Monstera, an air of calm and tranquility hangs in the powder-pink room; Angus and Julia Stone plays in the background. Almost ethereal, co-owner Tama Moore floats around like the perfect-skinned, yoga-loving, green-smoothie-drinking, raw-foodist you wish you were.  It’s difficult not to be seduced by her laid-back cool, because despite the grand effort that’s gone into building Monstera, everything she says – “we’ll rotate the colour palette probably monthly… this timber had to be laser-cut to size… I hand-sanded every tile” – somehow sounds so effortless.

Moore is an interior designer by trade and it feels as though she’s worked her whole life for this moment: “It’s nice to be this close to a project again,” she says, having been behind a computer screen for a significant portion of her design career. Thankfully, Moore’s experience means she’s built strong relationships with many high-end New Zealand-based suppliers, and a girl can have expensive taste when she (presumably) gets a trade discount. She runs her hand over the Italian-stone bench tops, which line the custom-built servery and coffee station, a marbled mess of grey, pink and lilac, “can you believe this came out of the ground?” Each stone is painstakingly cut out of the earth, trimmed to size and polished.

Moore’s connections manifest throughout the space from a “beautifully ugly” dried sage tree suspended from the ceiling and bespoke plant installation from Here Among The Wild; Arthur Holmes glass bottles for her seasonal smoothies; and Holly Houston ceramics. A wooden-framed screen with hand-sanded terracotta tile inserts will absorb the morning sun and emit heat in the afternoon, keeping the cafe – and upstairs offices – warm.

Everything is takeaway – though naturally there is some boutique seating – and you will be able to order lunchtime salad deliveries via Uber Eats. There wasn’t going to be coffee but “this is Auckland” says Moore. Monstera will be the first cafe in town to use Eighthirty’s newly released organic roast alongside House of Matcha, matcha (imported from a friend, who just happens to be Kanye West’s fitness coach, in New York).

But this isn’t the only project Moore and her brother Kahu Harrison, who co-owns the deli with her, have on the go. At short notice, they also took the lease on a space inside Ponsonby Central, where the $5 deli used to be. It will open in about a month, offering a daily selection of salads and sandwiches shipped down from the K Road site.

Monstera
545 Karangahape Road
K’Rd Precinct