This is a newly opened cafe. It is in the style of the urban trendy corrugated-iron, hard-edged, black-decor type, but softened and made very inviting with chunky wooden tables and lots of windows. But with a difference: this one sits in an area of new lifestyle blocks of land, right in the middle of a strawberry farm. A delightful country setting and, on the day we visited, a good number of people were also enjoying the brilliant and warm August sunshine slanting in through the windows.
My daughter had eggs benedict which she assured me was very nice indeed and not too tangy as they can be. There were two softly poached eggs on a bed of spinach with salmon, bacon and the addition of New Zealand watercress green garnish added a pleasant peppery bite.
I had a salmon egg scramble. A generous serving of smoked salmon with scrambled egg, capers and feta and some herbs, and again some small delicate watercress leaves. Very tasty and a nice balance of flavours, although perhaps I would have enjoyed a little more of the herbal tones coming through.
The décor was inviting and themed around the strawberry red / black and green. I noticed attention had been paid to a common problem with high ceilings - echo and noisiness of chairs on floors. Black baffles had been discretely added to some parts of the ceiling between the rafters. There was certainly no excess noise and combining the space and airiness, the cafe has a warm and cosy atmosphere.
An outside courtyard will be a great place to eat once the seasons turn and the temperatures rise. It will be good to see the large wooden herb planters full and overflowing with culinary herbs for use in the kitchen. A pleasing, unpretentious touch.
The prices reflected the boutique nature of this cafe. (Eggs benedict $17, salmon scramble $16).
The wait staff were approachable and obliging without being over-familiar. All in all, a fine lunch in most agreeable surroundings.
Punnet Cafe comes with a story. It has arisen from the 'ashes' of a disaster, but is worth regular visits in its own right and should prove to be just the right thing for owner Gary McMahon to have done, despite the initial urgent incentive.
Tamahere Forum article