Presenting the six best brunch dishes in Auckland, as chosen by the Metro food judges.
Photos by Ken Downie.
Freekeh at Beirut
It’s harder than it should be to find a decent porridge in a cafe. I like it hot, mouthfilling and also full of flavoursome surprises. I’m also happy when it’s good to look at, but irritated when the appearance is achieved at the expense of the food itself (one cafe I know serves about 5mm of porridge in the bottom of a wide bowl covered in flowers — which tells me the chef looks at but does not eat his own food). At Beirut, they get it completely right. The freekeh (toasted wheat) is caramelised and lavender flavoured, with bits of plum and, the masterstroke, flakes of baklava on top. - Simon Wilson.
Broccoli, cumin feta and quinoa fritters at Kokako
As a youngster, I pigeonholed fritters as a bare-pantry dish; turned my nose up. Sorry, Mum, you were right, fritters are brilliant. I cook them often, with whatever produce is in season, which is the same approach the nice folk at Kokako take. They had lovely spiced squash fritters in winter and right now they’ve got these beauties. A good fritter is about texture, and here the broccoli and quinoa win at that game. The cumin-spiked feta adds richness, as does the cashew aioli. The crunchy salad refreshes the palate perfectly. - Anna King Shahab.
Avocado, pickled veges and sprouts on sprouted bread at Were Bros Ltd
Yeah, I know (cue “tip of the hipster spear” artisanal toast eye-roll). But hear me: house-made nutty, sprouted seed bread lightly toasted for a crunchy base and heaped with a doll’s pillow of avocado, drink-from-a-garden-hose sprouts and a lick of kick-arse intense pickled veg. Did I mention the egg? It’s optional. Seven dollars, bless them. - Susanna Andrew.
Slow-poached eggs, anchovy and lemon on spelt at Orphans Kitchen
Tom Hishon somehow redefined breakfast when Orphans Kitchen opened for breakfast: this is best seen with his dish of toast, Meyer lemon curd, a slow-poached egg, chilli and an anchovy. It is a dish of subtle layers and sweet-savoury-salty-spicy flavours that go on and on, and it’s as close as he gets to fucking eggs benedict… And yet, it is so wonderfully far away. - Simon Farrell-Green
Lamb Salad at Welcome Eatery
One of Welcome’s regulars told owner Johnny Hartnett this salad was the best he’d had in 64 years of life, and you can’t go past a recommendation like that. Tender slices of braised lamb shoulder with plump beluga lentils, cauliflower, a burst of sweetness from semi-dried sultanas, finished with the satisfying crunch of almond. This is a dish that takes you on a journey to a tastier, better place. - Courteney Peters.
The Cambodian at L'Oeuf
The subliminal effect of this cafe’s name means I always seem to crave eggs upon arrival, but all it takes is a waiter brushing past with this artful dish to change my mind. Purple-black rice is topped with edible flowers, lychee and golden kiwifruit and surrounded by a godly moat of salted coconut cream. Sweet, salty, chewy, fragrant: it’s everything you never realised you wanted for breakfast, and more. - Alice Harbourne
The Best Cafes in Auckland 2015