It's taken a few years, but it's finally there. After spending $140,000 on refurbishing the exterior of the caretaker's cottage in Victoria Park back in 2010, the Auckland City Council has found a tenant for the property, which was built in 1906. For months, I watched with interest, as bare-chested workers laboured under the heat of the summer sun, carting wheelbarrows and such like behind a fence marked "The
|The former caretaker's cottage is now a cafe.|
|Selection of salads.|
|Downstairs room overlooking the sports field.|
Given this cafe apparently opens as early as 6:30am on weekdays, I am sure the breakfast options are popular with those participating in the morning boot camps in Victoria Park. Mostly, they are egg-based dishes, such as eggs benny with hot smoked salmon and greens ($16), but you can also order muesli and yoghurt ($7.50). I was surprised by how pale the sauce on my eggs benny was, not the yellow I associate with hollandaise, but it was still very rich and creamy. I also liked the range of sides you could add, from beer battered fries to smoked pork sausages to bubble and squeak ($3 - $5).
|Eggs benny vege, with a very rich, if pale looking, sauce.|
|Parpadelle with beef and rosemary ragout.|
[Added 19 July 2013: Wow, this place is getting crowded! The space on top of the salads now holds a variety of wraps, and some new items have been added to the menu too: a soup of the day ($7), crockpot of the day ($10) and Fish 'n' Chips ($15).]
The old caretaker's cottage in Victoria Park is a great venue for a cafe, and it is nice to see that it has been done up inside and out, with some exciting food choices on offer. Whether you are here for a meal or just a drink and a nibble, this is a place where you can both grab-and-go, or just as happily relax and people-watch.
Wheelchair access is via a ramp at the "back" or northern side of the building.
We still have quite a few things to try, but right now...
Mains: Pastas, particularly the parpadelle with beef and rosemary ragout ($12.50)
Avoid the walnut bread french toast with apple jelly ($15). Ignoring a staff member's offer of sprinkling pepper over the top, I found the bread soggy, and what I had thought would be a delicate apple jelly turned out be bright red with some kind of chilli in it—more sweet chilli flavoured than fruity.
[Added 19 July 2013: The french toast now comes with banana and berry compote—perhaps the cafe owners have taken note of my complaints?]
The vegetarian hot sandwich may sound tempting, with the promise of goat's cheese and truffle oil, but while those ingredients are there, be aware that the grilled veges are mainly pumpkin. Go for one of a pastas instead. The eggs benny vege ($14.00) was not bad either. [Added 6 August 2013: they now offer a hoagie with mushroom instead of pumpkin. Good stuff!]
Victoria Park, corner Fanshawe and Halsey Streets, Auckland Central
(09) 302 0425
Mondays to Fridays 6:30am - 4pm (kitchen closes at 3pm)
Saturdays to Sundays 8am - 4pm (kitchen closes at 3pm)
|The old caretaker's cottage is a great location for a cafe in Victoria Park.|
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