Saturday, March 3, 2012

The Luscious Foodstore--Te Atatu Peninsula

The Luscious Food Store is can be found about 15 minutes from the Auckland CBD or in my case about 20 minutes from Hillsborough. On a beautiful Autumnal day like today the journey is always somewhat magic if you take the North-western Motorway. I love the way the sae reflects the sunlight; the view across the expansive northern reaches of the Waitemata harbour, only briefly interrupted by the high fences screening the work being undertaken on the Eastern lanes. Apparently there is a dire need to reconstruct parts of the motorway as it is sometimes invaded by the slowly rising water at King-tides. (Another example of Global warming?)
Once you turnoff at the Te Atatu turn-off, it is only about a kilometre on your right, before pulling into the car park, offset from the road.

The entrance isn’t fancy; in fact I would place the whole appearance of the café as on the slightly rustic side. Perhaps that is a little surprising, given the solidly middle-class housing just down the road. There is an advantage however: I was told that the business used to be a garden centre, so it is lucky to have something that many cafes’ lack---space. There is a large garden area, where miscreant kids can be sent to play with the toys and for those who take their dogs (yes Perdy came—but she was more interested in barking at the birds than chewing on toys) the welcome mat is out.
We met my cousin and his lovely wife at the café. The first thing we wanted to know from the friendly, efficient waiting staff, was ----is this café anything to do with the café using the same name in Onehunga?  Short answer---No.
We were left to ponder the menu. It included a section for gluten free, always a plus for my group. I was pleasantly surprised to see some additions that I had enjoyed at other cafes I had visited---more than just the usual bacon and egg+ selection. Don’t get me wrong--- I love my variations on the afore mentioned option, but to be able to choose from what I would describe as slightly ‘Latin/ Mexican’ was quite refreshing. The garden-like outdoor area added to the charm.
The waiter was attentive and gave us plenty of time to choose, bringing water and taking our coffee orders while we perused the menu. I chose chilli-black beans accompanied by sour bread, and eggs poached/stewed in a ceramic dish with tomatoes and more mild chilli. No doubt if I had wanted it to be on the spicier side, the cook would have obliged. The others ordered dishes ranging from bacon and eggs with various options on the side. Two of the party had requests to suit their particular health issues and there was no problem choosing from the menu. The waters were knowledgeable, so we were well satisfied with our orders.
More diners arrived and there was plenty of room to accommodate them all, without infringing on our ‘space.’ One of the waters appeared several timers to replenish our water and to check that everything was in order. We were able to inform him that we were all enjoying our meal.
The café has the right balance: no prolonged waiting for coffee or meals and leaving us feeling satisfied with the entire experience.
Would we come again? --- Yes. We would like to try the lunch menu. I was also informed that the café can cater for special functions at night. It is certainly well suited to a range of possibilities.  I think it felt like a Greek Taverna--- even the sea isn’t that far away!
 Well done Luscious Food Store.

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