Set up & site
Major Tom looks like it should be situated at the end of a lush green manicured lawn with a white-gloved butler pointing you to your table. Instead, you climb the wide, imposing steps from the corner of an industrial estate between Mairangi Bay and Albany. It is so new that a Google search of the property reveals only a blank section. Parking was plentiful when we went there but Apollo Drive is a busy, busy area and I can't promise you'll be lucky enough to also find a spot at the door But believe me, Major Tom is worth a walk. Inside, it's all polished concrete, old-fashioned primary school-style metal-and-wood chairs and there's an intriguing mural featuring a most unseaworthy-looking houseboat afloat on a sunflower that has attracted the attention of an astonished duck.
Sustenance & swill
One of life's guilty little pleasures is opening a menu and finding you're in a place that isn't afraid to be bold with its food and that lays down the challenge of squid ink. I didn't rise to the eggs benedict that came with soft-shell crab and squid ink toast (next time) but I did go for the turmeric coffee ($5.50), a newly discovered addiction. I would have liked to have savoured it for longer but it was cool enough to down in almost one gulp. To accompany that I ordered the lucha pork benedict with pickled beetroot, spinach brioche and candied pumpkin seeds (19.50). My companion chose the dulce de leche french toast (also $19.50), which came with a small but perfectly formed panna cotta. My benedict was a gloriously disordered mess of broccolini and seeds and the french toast was a colourful collection of berries and colour. Both of us regretted spoiling the visual artistry with our cutlery — but only until our taste buds got their turn. So moist, so sweet, so good.
Service & other stuff
I don't think it's a good idea to give an eatery a 100 per cent score. There is always something — for us the coffee could have been warmer — and besides, you don't want them to think they have nailed it and to stop trying. But then I also read that Major Tom is solar-powered. And that makes up for the tepid coffee.