Sunday 26 February 2012

A week in para para paradise: The Piha Cafe, Piha

We'll get there fast and then we'll take it slow ~ The Beach Boys, Kokomo

Ahh Dunedin.  I've been back down south for a whole week now and already it feels like I'd never left.

Not without the initial adjustment pains mind you: adjusting to going to lectures, adjusting to the freezing cold, adjusting to doing the whole long distance relationship thing again.  It's been like getting back into a pair of jeans that have just gone through the dryer.  A bit tight and uncomfortable to start off with but comfy again with a bit of wearing.

It definitely helped that we hit the ground running.  Lectures, labs, and miserable weather galore.  In fact, it was just our second day back and we were already performing our first craniotomies.  I was literally holding someone's brain in my hands.  Once the centre of their personality, all their thoughts, hopes, and dreams.  Incredible, awe-inspiring, just wow.

Despite all that excitement, I couldn't help but long for the balmy summer days back in Auckland.

Just before I headed back south, C and I took a week vacation at his family bach in Piha.  It was the one week over the entire summer when Auckland had amazing weather.  Score.  A whole glorious week of lazy mornings, nana naps in the arvo, and strolls through the beautiful Waitakere Ranges.  It was our little place like Kokomo.

The boys came and stayed for a couple of the days and since some of them were heading back to the UK and Australia, for their last morning in Piha we treated ourselves to brunch at The Piha Cafe.

Originally, there was a bit of controversy over the opening of the cafe.   Local Piharians are staunchly protective about keeping their slice of paradise pristine and uncommercialized.  Awesome for us visitors wanting to admire the scenery, not so awesome for businesses wanting to get a foot in the door.  After years of wrangling with resource consent shenanigans, fast-forward to 2012 and The Piha Cafe is a firm fixture on the Piha scene, offering some of the best views a cafe can offer, along with great tucker at very reasonable prices.


We went on a week day so the cafe was pretty empty, just one or two tables outside with happy people enjoying their coffees in the sun.   This is by no means the norm, come here on a weekend and it's packed to the rafters, so if you ever get the opportunity, do come on a weekday if you can, to avoid the hordes of beachgoers looking for a latte.

After ordering at the counter, we picked the funky table-tennis-table-turned-cafe-table outside to soak in some rays and sip on water kindly provided for us.  Have to say though, the water was a wee bit funny tasting (all water in Piha can taste a bit funny coz it's all supplied by water tanks rather than mains) and I wasn't the biggest fan of the plastic glasses but who can complain when you get to sit in the sunshine and gaze at dazzling views of the Waitaks.

The boys ALL ordered eggs benedict.  Some even with extra bacon.  Boys will be boys.

They assured me that the eggs bene were "amazing".  Runny egg yolks, just the right amount of hollandaise, and heaps of good streaky bacon.  Nick even went so far as to proclaim them as "the best eggs bene ever".  So good that Jarrad, who hadn't had eggs bene in 3 years (on account of living in the UK), was completely speechless.

High praise indeed from eggs benedict connoisseurs.

C went with a good old kiwi steak and cheese pie.  Just what you feel like after one too many the night before. It came served with homemade tomato sauce which was chunky and tangy was a perfect accompliment to the exceptionally tasty pie.

{what better way to get your omega 3}

I picked the exotic sounding Lime/Lemon Cured Smoked Salmon with scrambled eggs and wilted spinach.  Can't say I'm usually a fan of smoked salmon but I really enjoyed this dish.  The salmon was smoked and then cured in lemon or lime juice to give it a tanginess that helped cut through the richness.  There was plenty of it and it was all served with a side of 5 grain toast, which I could've easily scoffed another piece of to go with the copious amounts of salmon but all in all, a delicious light brunch that tantalized the taste buds whilst stull feeling kinda healthy.

A tiny wee gripe, and this is really only minor, the soy chai was spot on but the flat whites were a tad burnt but other than that we all had a happy sunny morning with good friends and great food, chillaxing on the west coast.

Life is good.

Rating: 4/5

At a glance

The Piha Cafe
20 Seaview Road
Auckland 0772
(~40 minutes drive from Auckland CBD)

Open 7 days: Mon - Thurs until 4pm.  Fri, Sat, Sun until 7pm.

Service:  Friendly and chirpy, reasonably quick.

Food: Generous portions, deliciously executed.

Coffee: My flat white came out a bit burnt but C's soy chai latte was spot on.

Setting:  You can't help but relax at the Piha Cafe.  Gorgeous views, minutes from Piha beach. Can get quite really crowded in the weekend so come on a weekday if you can.

Price (NZD):
Lime/Lemon cured salmon with scrambled eggs and wilted spinach $16.50
Classic eggs benedict with bacon on toasted english muffins $16.50
Steak and Cheese Pie $6.00
Extra bacon $4.00
Flat White $4.50
Chai Latte $5.00 (Soy 50c extra)

Summary:  I heart the Piha Cafe.  Chilled out beachy atmosphere, massive portions for very very reasonable prices.  Can't think of a better place to start a day at the beach.


  1. I was at Piha this past weekend. No visit to the cafe this time, but a fab time was had nonetheless. Hope you got to see a few beautiful sunsets!

  2. Thanks for the visit guys. Lovely photos. Come back and visit us again when you're in Piha and have another Benny on us. Cheers!
    Pattie at the Piha Cafe.

  3. teresa: The sunsets out west are just out of this world right? Got so many pretty pics :)

    Pattie: Oh wow thanks so much for stopping by my blog, Pattie!! Was lovely to meet you the other weekend. Can't wait to come back xox



Copyright © 2010-2013 by Nessie Chan/Nessie Sharpe. All rights reserved.

Related Posts with Thumbnails