the alfmeister

a figment of reality's imagination

Munch at Lunch…Beach Cafe


Great indoor and outdoor dining

Thank you, thank you! It’s not often I have nice things to say to the in-laws but taking the girls away for the day on a hot-rod run was meant to mean I could get out and spray the weeds on the 2-acre estate, mow the lawns, go to the dump, and assorted other odds and bods…well, at least to start with, that was the intent.

My dearest in chains scuppered all plans to carry out manly work in exchange for a lunch date…,Christ Almighty, my poor body…two days after chafing down two fast food burgers this was probably not a good thing so I carried out a tried and true Aussie method to decide what I should do; toss a brick in the air, if it lands back down on the ground, go out.

Her original plan was to go to our favourite eating place, Pukeko Junction in Leithfield but I convinced her that we should try out other places, especially around CHCH in support of local businesses. She suggested Beach Cafe that she had head about and half an hour later we sat down at a table there.

This is very close to the beach although you wouldn’t know as you cannot see it from the cafe, but then again there is no need for panoramic views when you have food like this.

In hindsight I wished I had ordered the Battered Blue Cod and Chips (my ‘fall back’ meal) as I watched large, large portions being delivered to others around me, but my Cuban Sandwich was more than OK, thanking you very much. This was a grilled sandwich with shoulder pork, copa ham, fontina cheese and gherkins served with a green salad and plantain chips. I didn’t know what these were and actually asked for fries but the lady who served me (who happened to be the owner) explained what plantain were – so get this; (green) bananas that are deep-fried. I was sceptical as I prefer more savoury than sweet but went along anyway after she explained that they taste like potatoes.

KFC, McD's, BK...take note, serve food that looks like what you advertise

Katie couldn’t quite choose, and I suggested the fish of the day which looked pretty good; Pan-fried Snapper on a potato & chorizo salad and some sort of lemon/lime sauce. There was some seasoning on the fish but it escapes me, sorry.

The food was great. Simple as that.

My pork was slightly dry and didn’t have the flavour that certain other cuts have but with the cheese, and topped by the gherkins this sandwich was a great little meal…I do emphasise small. The salad which was surprisingly simple tasted very good and was obviously made from fresher greens than I have had in other places. And those chips? My favourite part of the meal which doesn’t normally happen and does not take anything away from the sandwich, but with the aioli served these were just perfect. Washed down with a couple of Heinies (in the bottle) on a hot summer’s day, I was well sated.

But, and for those who have read my other reviews, Katie for once got the better meal. Normally she pines over my choices but on this occasion she hit the nail on the head. Her snapper was probably amongst the best fish I have ever tasted, although it did seem stronger tasting than I thought. When taken with the potato and chorizo the mix and contrasts set things off wonderfully.

All up the meal was $68 and for anyone who knows me you will know that immediately I think this is too high. For my sandwich (which was literally the size of a school lunch sammie) was $23…sorry people, while I happily pay good money for good food, anything over $15 was a rip off in my eyes. It’s not like it was a serving of pork or anything. Without knowing the fish cost, but guessing my beers were somewhere about $8 each makes her dish about $30; probably going rate for snapper, and quite fair considering its brilliance, but again that lifts it to the dizzy heights of Auckland’s Mission Bay or Ponsonby Road, and them they ain’t.

But for a day out in the sun I cannot think of a better place to go out, either with your loved one (yes Katie, that’s you), or as it turns out, with the kids and dogs in tow. Finally, I find a place I can take my dogs and they were left at home! Mind you, not sure Tash is the right dog to take into a place like this, and at least the kiddy playground has a fence around it so I can lock them both in there for some peace and quiet (just kidding girls!).

Setting: 4.5 out of 5

Staff: 5.0 out of 5

Food: 4.0 out of 5

Value: 3.0 out of 5

Overall Score: 4.1 out of 5

16 Beach Road, North New Brighton +64 3 382 8599

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