Reviewed by Karen and FiFi, March 2019
This cafe is named after the beautiful NZ Bellbird and is situated in the midst of the Dowse Museum and in the heart of the city. On the inside its open and modern and it offers lots of seating. There is also ample seating outside to soak in the surroundings. There is quite a selection of cabinet food to chose from, pizzas, salads, Vegetarian, Vegan, gluten-free and dairy-free, free-range chicken and eggs and a large array of other delectable options. There are three Bene options to chose from. The Benedict (with ham or you can substitute with bacon); the Florentine (with spinach) or the Montreal (with salmon). Sides range from $4 to $6.80. The atmosphere is very modern and relaxed.
Our experience here was delightful. The staff were warm and friendly and our coffees and food came out swiftly which was amazing considering the busy vibe of the place.
An attempt of layering the food was clearly had. The food was hot and tasty but the plating was just plain amateur. The wisp of rocket along with the spinach was a welcome injection of greenery and much needed garnish. Coupled with the positioning of the ingredients there was absolute thought into the assembly, it just missed the mark. Overall, it looked like one of the newbies was tasked with organising the benes.
- The Benedict and Montreal – the meals were just okay. It’s a shame as some of the other dishes that were being served around us looked world-class. Ours looked okay but okay just might not cut it when there are so many other close by cafes that are a cut above okay.
- The Eggs – the free-range eggs were slightly overdone and not the runny consistency that makes a bene a bene.
- The Bacon – the bacon was salty but slightly on the chewy factor. I think this was the cut of bacon though.
- The Salmon – was smoky and oily. It’s just a shame that there was a such a tiny serving on offer.
- The Potatoes – the crushed fried potatoes were a wee bit oily and a tad soggy. In saying that, they tasted really good.
- The Spinach – was way overcooked and was just. meh.
- The Hollandaise – the home-made sauce was rich in colour and flavour. Mmmmm.
- The bread – the toasted sourdough was crispy and toasted well.
Would We Go Again?
We would but we would probably go for coffee and a muffin rather than look at a Bene. This is a great spot and it has a wonderful outlook.
Style: 5/10 – Classic.
Taste: 5/10 – the meals tasted quite nice.
Originality: 5/10 – There was nothing original as an option here.
Value: 5/10 – the Benes were all priced at $19.50 which seems OTT for a Florentine (spinach) and quite pricy for the Benedict (ham or bacon) and more than the average for a Montreal (salmon). Sides range from $4 to $6.80.
Eggs: 5/10 – slightly overdone.
Overall score: 5/10