SET-UP & SITE
Geeks is an oasis of cool at the intersection where mall traffic collides with school traffic and SUVs rolling out of the Briscoes Outlet Store (is there any other kind?). There are spectacularly and defiantly mismatched houses — austere, mock palace, complete with turrets and clad in stone meets tidy bungalow, clad in Karen Walker Milk White. The corner of Sainsbury Rd and Morningside Dr is a weird junction, a gateway to the kind of chaos I deliberately try to avoid on my weekends. To my shame, I have been blind to the charms of Geeks. I might be late to this. But clearly everyone else is not.
SUSTENANCE & SWILL
It's mid-week, mid-morning and the outdoor tables are full of people sunning themselves and enjoying a brew. The coffee here is very good. It's Flight, from Wellington, and it's rich and strong. We order two soy piccolos ($4.50 each) because I've already had a caffeine hit and I don't want to spin off into orbit without trying that mince on toast. Actually, it's mince on toasted ciabatta. Except when I see the "sides", I ask if I can have my mince on "layered potato", which is basically potato gratin ($18 for the mince and $5 for the gratin). If it were my place, I'd say, look, have the gratin if it makes you happy, and we won't charge you more than the $18. It's not my place. But still, you could say $23 for mince and potato is pretty up there. It also comes with a perfectly poached egg and truffle oil and is garnished with shaved parmesan. Suzi has bagels (Best Ugly) with smoked salmon, avocado and she says it's a classic but beautifully balanced. Every flavour is perfectly proportioned. Suzi is discerning as hell, but not given to superlatives, and she can't fault her dish. The only thing we kind of wish we'd done is explore the menu and dive out of our comfort zone and into the soup — creamy potato and button mushroom, with crispy bacon. Or Bi-Bim-Bab: poached egg, beef mince, gochujang paste, seseame (sic, it's a typo, they spell it correctly elsewhere on the menu) oil, spinach, marinated seaweed, sliced carrot on quinoa rice with a side of ko-ve kimchi. I have no idea how those flavours would collide, but I really want to find out.
SERVICE & OTHER STUFF
Wake up and smell the fair trade beans. "Geek" hasn't been a pejorative term for a long time now. A geek is not a diehard hobbyist, or someone who likes to stay mostly indoors and play video games. The word geek is Germanic in origin, apparently, meaning "fool" and it's related to the Dutch "gek", which means mad or silly. Geek now is a byword for cool people. And these geeks totally are. It's busy inside — everywhere — but the service is calm, attentive. It shouldn't be noteworthy that they keep topping up our water and that the coffee and the kai comes swiftly, despite the crowds. So what? But that they do so with such grace and ease is really great and worth mentioning. Because service — the right balance of attentiveness and restraint — is important for any meal of the day. And they know this. Geek out soon.