In real estate talk, there is "a peek of the sea" if you are outside Jam but like much of the coastal North Shore, retail Takapuna was built with its back to the sea, so even a peek is welcome. Jam also has the bonus of being beside the peaceful greenery of the small Hurstmere reserve. Unfortunately, it's undergoing some sort of redecoration on our visit and is cordoned off.
All tables outside are occupied when we arrive and there is a queue inside, mostly for takeaway coffee, so our names are taken – we'll be called when an individual table is free – and we are directed to a large communal table where others are eating, drinking, reading and waiting.
Then the police turn up. And queue for coffee alongside Lycra-clad walkers and others bearing bags from the nearby Sunday market.
There are about half a dozen tables outside, not many more inside, plus the communal one in a room that is not vast, with an open, well-ventilated kitchen, so there is plenty of coming and going, not least from the busy staff (I counted eight).
Our own table – it was once half a door – is soon available and as we have already sussed out the menu we have ordered, water has been delivered and we settle down with good, early coffees (Atomic?) to check out some of the mags and papers.
Sir has the house version of eggs benny with a twist – Jam eggs, which are poached on handmade hash cakes with creamed spinach, smoked paprika hollandaise and crispy bacon. I had been tempted by the "old skool" mince on toast from the mammoth blackboard menu, ditto the corned beef fritters and the coconut tiger prawns, but the idea of my first field mushrooms of autumn won out. These are balsamic roasted with crispy bacon and parmesan. But what's this, unbuttered toast? I am ready to become waspish but the delicious veg are juicy enough to cope (almost) with the two slices of toast.
We both enjoy our choices – the eggs are excellent – and the coffee is so good that halfway through the meal we order two more (each comes with a Jaffa on the side). That the second coffee has no Jaffa brings a silent whimper but I tell myself to grow up.
Many getting takeaway coffees are also buying from the counter – there are many gluten-free options – and I follow suit as we leave, adding a lemon curd friand that is light, tangy and moreish.
Jam's popularity is well earned, the food is delicious, the staff are pleasant and helpful and the buzz makes for an enjoyable visit.
WHERE: 33 Hurstmere Rd, Takapuna, North Shore. Ph094861600.
WHEN: Monday to Friday, 7am-4pm; Saturday 7.30am-2.30pm; Sunday 8am-2.30pm.
WHAT'S TO EAT: Delicious breakfasts, brunches and counter food.
HOW MUCH: $55.50 for two brunches, four coffees and a takeaway cake.
WHAT DO WE THINK: Its popularity is well deserved.
- © Fairfax NZ News