Cafe Melba (Ellerslie)

Cafe Melba in Ellersie is one of those “Entertainment Book” places to go. Without the book, I wouldn’t even know if the place existed. It also helps that I get some form of discount. Samples below:

Salmon Benedict – $18.70.

Steak Sandwich – $19.00.

First impression, place is good. Parking is easy to find as Ellerslie is not so busy, food taste great, staff friendly and toilet is clean. Personally, I can’t complain about this place, and worth a try if you have the Entertainment book voucher since price-wise, it is kinda on the high side 🙂

Rating = 8.5/10.

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Circus Circus

I guess I was bound to put this one up. Who wouldn’t. I’ve seen blogs outside of NZ talking about this place! It’s Circus Circus, located in the  heart of Mt Eden Village. It’s easily noticeable and parking is not hard to find. I’ve been here a few times already and tried many things – particularly breakfast-related food. Here are some of the samples:

Baked Beans with Poached Eggs ($14.90).

Panfried Field Mushrooms ($16.90).

Gourmet Beef Burger ($17.90).

Mixed Grill ($17.90).

As you can see, presentation-wise, it’s top notch. Taste-wise, I can’t complain. It’s the usual cafe-style food. I think the the price is very reasonable. The atmosphere is great with unique decor. It can be quite deceiving seeing the place from outside and think it’s small, when in fact, it’s very deep. So, don’t worry if you see lots of people, there’s plenty of space inside. I’m a big fan of baked beans, so always like to have them for breakfast. Mixed grill is always going to be my favourite because it has everything. Otherwise, you can go for smaller options.The beef burger is not too bad. Coffee is 4.90 (a bit of the high side, but good coffee).

If you have the Entertainment book – use it! You get one free meal.

Overall, great place and worth a try. Rating = 8.5/10.

Elliot Stables

There is a nice little place in town called Elliott Stables, evidently on Elliott Street in the Auckland CBD. I’ve always noticed it, but never dared to go in. Then somehow, I went out with a few work colleagues and noticed it’s not that scary after all. It’s just like a food court but very unique. It’s as if you’re not in New Zealand at all.

Elliott Stables is right opposite Smith & Caughey. If you know where the Kapiti ice cream shop is, it’s in there. There’s many restaurants / cafes in Eliott Stables and I have only eaten at two places (Torchon French Creperie and Frankies Wurstbude). Have a look.

Torchon French Creperie

Torchon French Creperie - Sweet Crepe

Banana, Honey and Almonds Crepe.

Torchon French Creperie - Mushroom n Chicken

Mushroom in a cream and white wine sauce  (with chicken) galette.

Torchon French Creperie - Breakfast

Breakfast galette.

Frankies Wurstbude

Frankies Wurstbude

Sausage in fresh bread roll.

I have to admit, I like the French place. You have two choices, you can either have a meal that’s like a real meal (galette) or a dessert (crepe). The choices are very good and mouth-watering. The above is one of a few I’ve tried. There are others, the salmon, ratatouille and many more. The prices for the galettes can range quite a bit, the mushroom was $14.50. The crepes can range in price as well, in this case, the above was $8.50. I think pricing wise it’s very reasonable and taste is great.

I’ve also tried the sausage place, the sausage in a roll was  $10.50 (which is a lunch special). I’ve also tried the Chilli Dog, which was ($12.50. They also have a website.

Personally, I like the environment in Elliott Stables. If you ask for my opinion, you must try Torchon French Creperie. The options are really good and hasn’t disappointed me yet. Frankies Wurstbude is also not too bad if you’re craving protein and carbohydrate (like all men!).

For Elliott Stables, overall, 9.5/10. Highly recommended for these two places. I haven’t tried the others yet!

Citron Vert

Citron Vert is a cafe that I’ve always wanted to go. During the rainy or lazy days, I use the Link bus to work and I’ve always noticed it because it is just next to to one of the bus stops in Parnell. I can always smell the fresh (good?) coffee and people just reading / relaxing in there.

So, one Sunday morning I decided to go there and experience it. The menu appears to have a good selection and the coffee smells great. We decided to sample the burger and sandwich, pictures below:

Jamaican Chicken Burger.

Steak Sandwich.

The burger is $16 and sandwich $19.50. The coffee was around the usual prices ($3-4). I quite like the environment in there, very nice and cosy especially during a sunny day. Coffee is good. The food is also great and reasonably priced. The sandwich / burger dish had to be “separated” to properly eat it if you know what I mean. 🙂 Funny thing is that the food was made / prepared by Asians.

Anyway, I quite like the place. It’s not overpriced, decent service and good coffee 8.5/10.

Vivace Espresso (Christchurch CBD)

This is quite a random one. So here goes.

I was at Christchurch about a month ago and wanted to find good breakfast in the CBD on a Sunday morning. It was extremely difficult and the only place that looked damn good was  Drexel’s Breakfast Restaurant, and they were overcrowded and only took bookings!! Anyway, suprisingly, 2nd choice wasn’t too bad. Vivace is located on the same street as Drexel’s, Hereford St. The meals ordered were:

Vivace Espresso - Big Breakfast

Big Breakfast.

Vivace Espresso - Pancake

Pancakes with blueberry and banana.

Vivace Espresso - Latte Bowl

Latte Bowl.

The Big Breakfast costs $17.50, and pancakes costs $15. Both meals were fantastic but took a while for them to prepare.  The latte was good too.

Highly recommended but needs work on the timing for serving their meals. My rating 8/10.

Muse Cafe

It’s the start of August so I better post a review. Then I’ll probably procrastinate till end of the month and post another one so that I could convince myself I post “regularly”. Anyway, Muse Cafe is what I’ll talk about today. It’s located near the Newmarket Plaza, just around the corner. If you know where the Tofu shop is, I believe it’s right next to it. That’ll give you some idea. Parking is easy for this place, just go to the Rialto car park and make sure you validate your ticket!

Muse Cafe is unique – but not quite so if you compare it to a typical “Honky” restaurant/cafe. Their dishes has a strange mixture of European and Asian influences, primarily because you get words like “Portuguese” and “Spaghetti” in the menu. I’ve tried a few dishes here and I’d have to say the lunch menu is one of my favourite. I’ve also tried the breakfast menu.

They have a variety of breakfast menu but I really hesitated except one time. I tried one of the breakfast specials during brunch, which includes a good package having toast, ham, sausages, eggs and coffee (espresso-ish). It’s not bad as a whole and very good value for money. It’s under $10. However, the breakfast special is a tad too oily for me, the meat isn’t what you call high-grade (a bit chewy) and the bread is average. I guess the good part was the coffee and it didn’t hurt my pocket.

Breakfast Special.

However, I do recommend the lunch menu. A lot of variety from the rice dishes to the spaghetti dishes. I’ve tried the rice dishes as you can see below, the lemon grass pork and portuguese chicken. Both very delicious and at the right price. You’d expect to pay around $10. With the spaghetti dishes, you’d pay a bit more. Recently, they’ve illustrated their menu, posting high resolution pictures outside their cafe for undecided customers. Personally, just go in and order these two below, or be a bit adventurous and try one of the spaghetti dishes.

Lemon Grass Pork on Rice.

Portuguese Chicken on Rice.

Overall I think Muse Cafe is very good. I feel that the dishes are quite “homey” and unique. It’s cool to see spaghetti used in an Asian manner. Plus, they have a huge range for their breakfast and lunch menus. A must try is the Yuan Yang (coffee-tea drink). Price-wise it’s good, less than $15 generally if you eat there. Additionally, they have lots of literature (comics/magazines) but you’d probably need to know how to read Chinese. Haha.

I’ll give Muse Cafe 8/10, a generic score as it’s good as a lunch destination, but not something I’d recommend for their breakfast dishes – a tad too oily.