The rain is teeming outside the floor to ceiling window as I wait. The outside tables are redundant today, save only to remind me that on a nicer day the roadside seating would give Dida's even more of a European flavour. As it is, the chandeliers, dark wooden bar, tables and floor and dark leather chairs give a pleasant Parisian feel.
I've been in my seat for about 10 minutes and, although there are only three tables of diners and four wait staff, no-one has asked if I want to order coffee. I feel as neglected as the al fresco tables.
Alice arrives and we peruse the breakfast menus, which proudly state all chicken, bacon, ham and eggs are free range and all milk is organic. Alongside the brunch standards, there are more exciting offerings like field mushrooms in chardonnay cream on toasted polenta bread; crisp pancetta and gruyere rosti with poached egg; and spanish scrambled eggs with chorizo, olives, roasted peppers, feta and shallots served on toasted ciabatta bread.
It's the latter which I set my heart on, but still no-one arrives to take our order. Such a delay would be understandable if the staff were rushed off their feet but on this day, when staff almost outnumber customers, it's an annoyance.
Finally we order and thankfully the wait time does not extend to the food. Alice says her French toast is moist and light, with a pleasant tartness from the raspberries and apple syrup. She also likes how the berries are sandwiched inside the bread, rather than on top.
My meal is hearty - the portion size is generous with good amounts of all ingredients listed on the menu. The eggs are well seasoned, the chorizo is fiery, and balanced nicely by the kalamata olives and salty feta.
After we finish, we long to linger with another round of coffee, but no-one comes over to ask if we'd like to order anything else. We beckon over a waitress.
Dida's has a cabinet filled with delicious looking salads and sandwiches, fridges full of deli goods to buy, and a door into Glengarry's next door. In the evenings, you can dine from the tapas menu and drink a great selection of wines by the glass or the bottle. It's a one-stop shop for foodies and with better service could easily become a favourite.
WHERE: Dida's Victoria Park, Corner of Sale and Wellesley streets, Auckland, ph 09 308 8319, didas.co.nz.
WHEN: Monday to Friday, 7am-8pm; Saturday 8am-8pm; Sunday 8am-6pm.
WHAT'S TO EAT: Breakfast/brunch available till midday on weekdays, 3pm on weekends; tapas in the afternoons/evenings.
HOW MUCH: $49 for two brunches and four coffees.
WHAT DO WE THINK: With better service, the rating would be higher.
- Sunday Star Times