The Bean Cafe
16 Broadway Ave,
Phone 353 6556
Open: Tues-Sat 11.30am-3pm, 5pm-8.30pm
Mains range up to $22
Reviewed by LISA DURRANT.
The Bean Cafe is easy to miss, as its entranceway is set back from the footpath. There are no windows you can look into, so once inside it's quite a surprise.
It's an old building complete with a very high stud, a huge skylight in the ceiling and big double-hung windows down one side – not that you can see out of these.
There is an eclectic mix of decor items, a bit like the colour scheme. And the menu consists of photos and descriptions stuck up on the counter where you order.
The cafe has a good atmosphere, though it does look a little worn in places, particularly the bathroom facilities, which my friend reported looked very dirty.
The night we popped in, the cafe was busy. The waitress who took our order apologised for there being a bit of a wait for a table, as that week they had run a website deal and had been inundated with customers.
Even though they were busy, she was cheerful and happy to explain the menu and ordering system.
We started with Korean-style sushi and chicken satay. The sushi was warmed, filled with canned tuna, and pleasant enough. The chicken was well cooked, with the accompanying satay sauce mild in flavour.
To follow, we ordered seafood clay pot and lemon chicken and rice.
The seafood clay pot arrived at our table with a lid on, which the waiter then lifted to reveal a bubbling dish of seafood and vegetables. The mix included shrimps, fish balls, baby mussels and squid, noodles and vegetables topped off with a number of unpeeled tiger prawns.
It would have been handy to have a finger bowl provided with this dish, rather than having to ask.
The seafood was swimming in chicken soup, which while tasty enough of its own, surprisingly didn't seem to impart flavour to the ingredients in it. This was good as the individual elements could all be tasted. The veges and noodles were cooked just enough, and together added up to a substantial one-pot meal – I'm glad we ordered the smaller size.
Lemon chicken was served sizzling on a hot plate, with a small side plate of rice, which would have been better hotter.
The chicken was mostly OK, though the odd piece was a little dry and overcooked. The lemon sauce was subtle and we both thought the chicken's coating had a flavour slightly reminiscent of KFC.
The Bean Cafe offers a small selection of desserts, mostly cake or slices. However, we decided to wrap up the meal with a blueberry fruit bubble tea. Bubble tea is a fruit or milk drink that has small chewy balls of tapioca pearls in it.
You use a special thick straw to suck them up – and it's not just kids who enjoy these drinks.
It was a delicious and fun way to finish.
- © Fairfax NZ News