Mt Eden's Bowmans Restaurant is a classy establishment at night and by day it takes on a new identity as the stylish cafe Next Door. Located within the same premises as the restaurant, Next Door takes on all the sophisticated stylistic touches of Bowmans, with glossy floors and dark wooden accents.
We walk straight up to the counter and a waitress invites us to choose a table, following us over with menus and water. The service remains attentive throughout our stay.
The dishes all sound pretty appealing with offerings like the Next Door big breakfast with kransky sausage, baked beans and hash browns. There's also brioche French toast with strawberries, bacon and "really good" maple syrup; smoked salmon hash and mushrooms on toast for classic breakfast choices.
Lunch dishes are a bit more adventurous, with the five spice crispy pork and the grilled asparagus with smoked salmon, poached egg and bacon vinaigrette.
I go for the five-spice chicken sandwich. It comes with bacon, avocado, chipotle aioli, tomato and slaw. I split the sandwich open to manoeuvre it around the plate more easily.
The components of the sandwich all work well together, creating dynamic flavours. The bacon is nice and crispy and the aioli adds a good little kick to the dish.
Also worth noting: the bread isn't so tough that you can't cut it with a normal knife.
Olivia selects a vegetarian option: the asparagus risotto. It comes with crispy shallots, mascarpone and parmigiano. She says the mascarpone adds a yummy creaminess and is a good match with the asparagus. Overall, Olivia says the flavours are delicious although the rice is a tad too firm for her taste but it's more exciting than average cafe fare.
I'm not sure how the inside space accommodates a lot of noisy diners - on this occasion the boisterous sounds of a small boy stomping and shouting are amplified in the small room and cut through our conversation. There are only a few other tables occupied and when the boy settles, the noise levels are fine.
Next Door offers good food and service and I will definitely return to pay a dinner visit to Bowmans.
Next Door Cafe at Bowmans
WHERE: 589 Mt Eden Rd, Mt Eden, Auckland, ph 09 638 9676, bowmansrestaurant.co.nz.
WHEN: Cafe is open Tuesday to Sunday, 7.30pm-3pm; restaurant , Tuesday to Saturday, from 6pm.
HOW MUCH: $45 for lunch and drinks for two.
WHAT DO WE THINK: An elegant atmosphere with a good mix of brunch classics and creative dishes.
- Sunday Star Times