Saturday, November 17, 2012

Review: Mojo, Viaduct Harbour

The problem with working close to Victoria Park is that there is not all that much to eat, at least if you are looking for a lunch that is tasty and not too expensive.  There's a plethora of sandwich chains (think Subway, Pita Pit, Habitual Fix, Hollywood Bakery) and restaurants (for instance the North Wharf eateries and the places above Victoria Park Market... oh, and the Taste of Auckland festival this weekend), but for reliable cheap eats you would have to take a long break into the central city.

So I didn't get too excited when I saw that the Union Cafe in the Vodafone Building had turned into yet another branch of Mojo, a coffee franchise I associated with Wellington and thick hot chocolates served in a tiny glass from a machine with rotating paddles (this no longer seems to be available in any branch).  I didn't even realise that they served food, other than the odd muffin or something.

But tales emerged from workmates of "restaurant-quality food" for less than restaurant prices at Mojo Viaduct Harbour.  I had to check it out.  And I am glad that I did.

This long and narrow cafe is stylishly decorated (though I don't understand the chairs hanging on the walls), and as soon as you are seated, you are given a carafe of free sparkling water. How very European (well, the sparkling part anyway)! There is Sicilian sea salt on the table.  I am impressed before we have even ordered.

Mojo counter.
Although there is counter food and a variety of salads for those on the go, the menu items looked more interesting.  From a pulled pork burger, to pan-fried fish, to open sandwiches, there is something to suit every taste.

Cumberland sausage coil from Westmere Butchery on smashed baby spuds with caramelised onion, two mustards & jus.
Shakshuka eggs baked in Middle Eastern cumin & tomato braise with chili & feta.
Tartine with grilled asparagus, white bean puree, poached organic egg, parmesan shavings.
The verdict?  Delicious food, refreshing menu, and beautifully presented dishes.  The meals can be slow to arrive if you have a large group, but with that sparkling water to keep you going, who's complaining?  We only wish they would open outside normal office hours.

Panda Recommends

[Added 21 May 2015: Since around October last year, though it took some time for us to try it, the menu has been a new one designed by Martin Bosley.]

Mains: Depends on whether you feel like something heavy or light.  Everything we have had has been very good.  And the menu changes regularly anyway.

Vegie Pandas
The Shashuka ($16.50) and Grilled Asparagus Tartine ($10.50) were both delicious.  Yay for options without a single pumpkin, mushroom, or spinach and feta component in sight.  There are some cabinet items you could have too.
Mojo lunch menu

Mojo breakfast menu

Restaurant Details

Ground Floor, Vodafone Building, 20 Viaduct Harbour Avenue, Auckland
(021) 911 657

Opening hours:
Mondays to Fridays 7am - 5pm

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