SET UP & SITE
Both my friend and I thought it was a trick when the parking warden assured us Takapuna's parking was free on a recent Saturday afternoon. So we kept half an eye on the car and half an eye on our plates as we sat in a little glass-covered alley next to Cafe Melba in Takapuna. Well-placed planters and carefully angled tables meant alley-diners could enjoy the cool breeze and the people-watching opportunities without being elbow-to-elbow with those revelling in the natural light flooding in through the ceiling-high windows to warm Melba's inside. You'd be lucky to find a seat - let alone a car park directly outside - in this compact little cafe in Takapuna's dining precinct on a weekend morning. But on this sunny autumn early afternoon the only people bothering us were the staff who asked us almost before we'd managed to sit down what we wanted to order.
SUSTENANCE & SWILL
Given the pressure, I quickly opted for eggs benedict ($18). My friend, who is a student, probably would not have ordered the smashed avocado ($16.50) - I pointed out she'd never be able to buy a house if she did - had the staff not come back again to ask if she was ready to order just she said the first thing she saw on the menu. She was pleased she did. The avocado was rich and creamy, nicely offset with a touch of tart lemon. My hollandaise was oddly sweet, with a from-a-packet-style aftertaste but our poached eggs were quite possibly the best I'd eaten. And it all arrived super quick, we'd barely licked the froth off our cappuccinos ($4.50) before the waitress was back.
SERVICE & OTHER STUFF
I thought the staff were too attentive but my friend told me to stop whingeing as it was better than having to wait for them to come back.