Federal & Wolfe is so proud of its organic, free-range ingredients, it lists its local suppliers as part of the large menu on the outside wall. It's this that draws me in on a quiet Saturday morning. Things seem empty inside, but a graffitied sign by the door assures me it is open and entering through the heavy wooden door we're greeted with the soothing strains of Johnny Cash on the sound system.
The graffiti theme continues inside with bright spraypainted tagging on the walls. Old milk crates are stacked high and used as shelves, and from the ceiling hang wooden artist's models, brightly painted and suspended upside-down from chains. Combined with the bare concrete floor and the high ceilings, the cafe has a hipster warehouse feel which suits its inner-city location.
The menu, which we'd already studied outside, is full of brunch staples with interesting twists. Plum risotto cooked in coconut milk with toasted almonds; smoked fish kedgeree with basmati rice, boiled eggs and lemon; and Wolfe lentils, the dish which immediately catches my eye - tomato-braised green lentils, crisp potato hash, organic pork sausage, poached egg and hollandaise.
The lentils are tangy and satisfying, mixed with chopped tomato, onions and delicious sausage. The potato hash is crisp, light and clearly freshly made, the yolk of the poached egg oozes perfectly, and the hollandaise is light and foamy.
Boyfriend's mushroom and sausage omelette is on the well-done side, so those who like an open, runnier omelette should make sure they specify this when ordering. But there is an abundance of mushrooms and chopped sausage, the toast is grainy and fresh and his requested side of free-range bacon is generously proportioned. He "wolfes" down the lot.
His Booster juice arrives in an old jam jar; the frothy combination of beetroot, celery, carrot, apples and ginger proving to be a winner. Our coffees are made from Fairtrade and, yes, you've guessed it, the organic Kokako blend that is also available at Kokako cafe in Grey Lynn, Cosset in Mt Albert, Nadu in Newmarket, Domain & Ayr in Parnell and Mimosa in Takapuna.
We leave feeling completely satisfied and happy to have found a cool, conscious cafe in the heart of the city.
FEDERAL & WOLFE
WHERE: Corner of Wolfe and Federal Sts, Auckland, ph (09) 359 9113.
WHEN: Monday to Friday, 7am-3pm; Saturday, 8am-3pm. Closed Sundays.
WHAT'S TO EAT: Organic, free range breakfast and lunch menu, fresh fruit juices and smoothies, interesting variations on brunch staples.
HOW MUCH: $55.50 for two brunches, two coffees, one tea and one fresh juice.
WHAT DO WE THINK: An hidden inner-city gem.
- Sunday Star Times