SET UP & SITE
After having shown up for breakfast at more than one Auckland establishment only to find it was closed, the advertised hours were wrong or bookings were required, I thought I'd be smart and phone Beam ahead of time. But nowhere could I find a phone number. Nowhere could I find an email address. Beam has an Instagram account though and a Facebook account that typically answers "within a few hours" – but that is less than useful if one merely wants to avoid a Sunday morning drive that does not end in a flavourful breakfast. Oh well. Milford has some nice shops and the parking was easy across the road at the mall if we were turned away. But we weren't, despite the worrying knot of people at the door ahead of us. They disappeared and we were seated immediately. Beam is apparently named after the ceiling beams they found during renovation. And I guess the mural of a bulldog in an astronaut suit and standing on a planet is another "beam" reference.
SUSTENANCE & SWILL
Beam puts the carnival back into breakfast. My companion ordered the "coconut french toast forever" and what arrived can only be described as a festival on a plate: a swirl of berries, an upside-down icecream cone and, of course — no carnival is not complete without it — candy floss. It's called "Persian candy floss" on the menu, which makes it sounds ever so sophisticated as a breakfast ingredient. And given that it followed a decadent ice frappe piled high with cream and chocolate ($7), a post-prandial shop-wandering expedition was a must. Beam has given eggs benedict an Asian makeover, and shows what fusion looks like when it's done right. The breakfast staple came with Chinese crispy chicken and sriracha hollandaise on a spring onion pancake, combining spicy with rich creaminess to a deeply satisfying degree. I fear I may have tasted a hint of tarragon in the final, hollandaise sauce-soaked mouthful, and a flavour I associated more with bearnaise than hollandaise — and one that makes my taste buds cringe. But I may have been wrong.
SERVICE AND OTHER STUFF
Beam is one of the newest additions to Milford's busy town centre but I don't think novelty is all that accounts for its obvious popularity. It's fresh, it's flavours are interesting and service is fast and efficient enough that we could overlook the occasional stressy moment among the busy staff.