Leigh Sawmill Cafe

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2 reviews
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142 Pakiri Road,


(09)422 6019

The ViewAuckland Review

Review byBrett Atkinson18/12/2006

5 out of 5

It's probably a good thing that the Leigh Sawmill Café is an hour's drive from Auckland. Any closer and I'd find it damn hard not to become a dangerously regular visitor.

Some people get all teary-eyed when they hear a Bic Runga song in a crowded London bar, but places like the Leigh Sawmill Cafe sum up why I'm proud to call Enzed home.

You'd struggle to get a more 'Kiwi-as' location as an abandoned sawmill, but with quirky and laconic wait staff and a sophisticated array of drinks, there's no whiff of musty heritage here—just a groovy spot that deserves to be an essential destination for discerning Aucklanders.

Saturday morning is Farmers' Market day at nearby Matakana, so we take Leigh Sawmill's advice and arrive early to secure a good possie before the hordes descend clutching jars of organic chutney.

It's just after noon, but any minor qualms of it being too early for a drink melt away with a pint of the excellent Pilsner from the attached micro-brewery.

The wine list is proudly local as well and includes vintages from nearby vineyards including Hyperion, Ti Point and Heron's Flight. Even the cocktail list has a jokey, local overlay with Goat Island Iced Tea and a Leigh Breeze providing subtle spins on classic concoctions.

An 'Ella Hart' pizza (chorizo, roast potato and caramelised onions) provides the ideal backdrop to another pint of Pilsner, and the crazy retail rush of the week before Christmas back in Auckland fades smoothly away. A few slightly harassed shoppers arrive from Matakana, but a glass of local wine or beer works wonders with even the most furrowed of brows.

Music is another essential reason to make the journey north to Leigh. Either on a makeshift stage in the shady and spacious gardens, or on the stage in the rustic main building, there's beats most weekends, either from DJs or from live bands.

Top Kiwi bands usually include the Leigh Sawmill Café on their itineraries and posters announce upcoming gigs from Goldenhorse, The Veils and Sola Rosa.

Occasionally international acts also tread the venue's heritage kauri boards amidst a grab bag of quirky memorabilia.

If you're coming here for a gig, consider staying the night at the attached accommodation. Before the drive back to Auckland, you can recharge over brunch as you plan a prompt return to your new favourite bar.

Leigh Sawmill Cafe has been reviewed by 2 users

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