432 Richmond Road,
(09) 360 0488
The ViewAuckland Review
4 out of 5 stars
Sometimes simple is best. While newly opened cafes sometimes want to outdo each other with sleek glass and polished concrete, West Lynn’s Monterey Coffee Lounge keeps it authentic and unpretentious. Judging by the fan base of loyal locals it’s attracting just a couple of months after opening, it’s a winning tactic.
If the name sounds retro, and just a little bit 1960s, it’s no accident. A retro theme underpins the décor with Formica tables and chairs just like the ones at your Nana’s place. Large canvas prints taken from old photographs of iconic New Zealand landscapes like Milford Sound, Lake Tekapo and Muriwai Beach dot the walls, and there’s a compact deck that brings back memories of long, lazy summers.
The concise menu also tips a hat to the retro theme, but it’s still a thoroughly modern Auckland affair. Comfort food includes a Sausage Sandwich with Caramelised Onions and Brown Sauce ($9.50), and there are Melting Moments and Anzacs for a biscuity dessert. But free-range eggs and organic meat and poultry weren’t culinary catch phrases back in the era the Monterey Coffee Lounge is paying homage to.
Service with our Supreme coffees is smooth and prompt, and unlike some other Auckland cafes, a steady stream of customers is being handled with grace, patience and efficiency. A few punters are choosing sandwiches from the cabinet, but we order off the menu. Given the numbers on the deck, our food also arrives promptly.
Carol’s Salmon Cakes with Sesame and Wasabi Cream ($19.50) are a tasty and innovative spin on the usual salmon-based offerings of Eggs Benedict or bagels, and my Roasted Mushroom Medley on Sour Dough toast ($16.50) is just the vego ticket to kick start a New Year’s healthy eating regime. Side orders of black pudding and hash browns are also on offer, but I resist the temptation in favour of another coffee.
The Monterey Coffee Lounge is priced near the upper end of Auckland’s brunching options, but like the café it most resembles, Ponsonby Rd’s Season, you don’t mind paying a bit extra for the guarantee of organic, free range, and interesting food.
With Malt and the Gypsy Tea Room, West Lynn’s been growing as an evening destination for a few years now. The combination of the Monterey Coffee Lounge and the excellent Dear Reader bookshop next door means it’s an essential daytime destination as well.
Monterey Coffee Lounge has been reviewed by 3 users