Review: Cafe Irresistiblue at Monavale Berries, Cambridge

The harissa-smoked NZ salmon was on a bed of curious kumara chips. It also came with blueberries, cucumber, baby ...
LIBBY WILSON/FAIRFAX NZ

The harissa-smoked NZ salmon was on a bed of curious kumara chips. It also came with blueberries, cucumber, baby watercress and lemon aioli.

A taste of… Cafe Irresistiblue, Corner Turkington and Wallace Roads, Monavale, Cambridge.

I'd heard… Not much more than a radio ad a while back. But it came up when I searched "Ohaupo cafe" and I felt like getting out of town to see somewhere different. I was in Glenview and drove about 20 minutes to the cafe. When I drove through the gate, I got the feeling I was going to like it.

I started with… a blue juice - organic apple and blueberry juice, for $4.50. It was very sweet, and made by Monavale Blueberries, the business behind the cafe. My lunch main was harissa-smoked NZ salmon with blueberries - of course - cucumber, baby watercress, and lemon aioli ($25). That was all sitting on intriguing kumara chips - cut like potato chips, but softer. I gave up on cutlery to eat parts of this and I enjoyed it, although I didn't taste much of a harissa flavour. I finished off with the organic blueberry tart ($5.50) with unsweetened yoghurt. It was my first old-fashioned tart in a while and I liked the crunchy casing.

Cafe Irresistiblue is at the site of the Monavale Blueberries orchard, about 10 minutes' drive from Cambridge.
LIBBY WILSON/FAIRFAX NZ

Cafe Irresistiblue is at the site of the Monavale Blueberries orchard, about 10 minutes' drive from Cambridge.

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The service was… prompt and friendly without being obtrusive. The same person tended to me the whole time. I was making the most of the view so had my back to the cafe - she kindly warned me when she was approaching so my food didn't come with a fright.

The vibe was… homely and kind of country cottage. Wood was the main material, down to the chunky tables on the decking outside. Halfway through my meal, Sunny Afternoon started playing. "Lazing on a sunny afternoon" summed up the experience for me. There's an orchard shop and a play area for kids, which includes a rabbit enclosure. The menu has multiple options too - from tapas to a kids menu, and suits most dietary requirements.

The organic blueberry tart and its crunchy casing went well with unsweetened yoghurt.
LIBBY WILSON/FAIRFAX NZ

The organic blueberry tart and its crunchy casing went well with unsweetened yoghurt.

If you go… pick a nice day and sit outside. The view over the blueberry orchard and out to Pirongia was a highlight. It's a rural setting so the main sounds were twittering birds and the occasional distant boom of a bird scarer. The day I ate there, I saw only one group choose to stay inside. There are generous umbrellas on the decking, so you can still be sun smart.

But try and avoid... bringing someone who doesn't like blueberries. They're not in all the dishes, but they find their way into many.

Rating out of 5: 4.5

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The view over the blueberry orchard and out to Pirongia was a highlight for me.
LIBBY WILSON/FAIRFAX NZ

The view over the blueberry orchard and out to Pirongia was a highlight for me.

 - Stuff

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