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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Cafe K at the Kauri Foreshore Hotel

Not long after six in the a.m. I go down each day to get a macchiato from Cafe K. This morning I took a glass to transport it home. A better option than the usual paper cup or to wait and drink it when it reaches the right temperature.

The cafe is a venture that I hope succeeds. Many have tried at that spot and all have failed. When we moved to Glebe there was a very good restaurant at the Kauri. I don't think it had a name. It was run by Joe and the sandwich board on the corner said Joe of No Names. When Joe was asked about No Names he'd consistently say either "I don't have anything to do with those people anymore" or "I don't talk about those people anymore". Joe worked for No Names and then he didn't. Our gain.

We'd take people used to fine dining all over the world to Joe's and they always enjoyed the food. It was Oztalian in style, well cooked and generously proportioned - much like Joe. Our Catalunyan nephew once sat under the table drawing while we feasted on grilled seafood. I think he was wondering why we were eating before 10pm. His mother asked me whether because I was a New Zealander I was able to eat prawns easily with a knife and fork. When I left NZ prawns came in tins or frozen from supermarkets in Asian enclaves in the bigger cities. I hadn't seen a fresh one.

Joe's did so well that eventually even the asleep-at-the wheel landlord of the pub noticed and demanded a huge rent increase. Joe packed up and left. The aatw landlord converted half the dining room into a pokie den and there's never been a successful restaurant at the Kauri since. They come, they fail, they go. The pub changed hands a few years ago and is still finding its feet.

Under the last management the upstairs accomodation area was little better than a doss house. I unwisely booked friends into it for two nights without looking at the room. The cleaner advised Robyne not to use the upstairs bathroom because the "men" were none too finickety in their hygiene and little concerned how their actions affected others. The pub was like a Fawlty Towers themed venue with a lazier and less interested host. I don't know how or why he ended up with the job but he stayed too long. When my friends asked about the possibility of a fan to disturb the cloud of mosquitos they attempted to sleep in the barman said he couldn't help, didn't know the manager and didn't know how to contact him. Turned out he was the aatw landlord's son. You can't buy publicity like that - word of mouth can lead to return business - or not. Suffice to say artists and designers from Christchurch didn't start booking the place out.

The coffee is now good, opening at six is good and the bloke running the cafe isn't expecting to make a fortune in three months, retire and move to the Gold Coast. Good luck.


merc said...

Love this.

Fresh Local said...

Thank you - I'm a writing fool at the moment.