Review: Cafe 218
Cafe 218 is part of the Midway on Moorhouse complex which houses kitchen stores, cycle shops and places for buying rocking chairs.
The cafe itself is part of Hunter Furniture, tucked away in the brightest corner of the shop with full-length glass windows and a view of the outdoor furniture section.
Usually, I would be dubious of cafes that are part of something else. This visit is no exception and we approach with caution. Despite the huge glass windows, the layout of the cafe goes a long way in ensuring customers don't feel like goldfish when people peer in as they pass by.
The best part is the booth seating. Not much beats a booth when it comes to comfort, cosiness and privacy, and Cafe 218 has covered its booths in a kind of subtle black reptile skin.
The seating is a mixture of booths, stools around high, shared tables, and regular cafe tables and chairs. The service areas are separated from the dining area with high walls, and the finished look is polished, modern, and tidy.
Despite ordering standard coffees, we get large, but they're well executed. Prepared to read the standard menu with pancakes and the like, we are pleasantly surprised to find 218 has really mixed things up.
Jumping at the chance to eat donuts for breakfast, the boyfriend orders the donuts and coffee - three donuts with a large coffee included.
To my surprise (not a donut fan), they are excellent. Far from the spongey, sugary blobs I was expecting, these donuts are in the style of a homemade dessert. The blueberry dough is dense and flavoursome, the lemon and cream cheese glaze a perfect balance of zesty and creamy. To top things off, they're served on a custom-made wooden board with a slot for the coffee cup and a peg for the donuts to hang on.
Feeling a little more lunchy by the time we arrive, I try the Thai fish and chips. Delicate strips of fresh fish are coated in a thin batter with a coconut base. They are served perfectly golden and the coconut shines through beautifully. A subtle nod here to a curry infusion of the fish which is only just discernible. Perhaps a little more punch here?
The fish is served with a creamy dipping sauce and kumara chips. A lovely, innovative dish. But it could be improved with a zingy side salad.
Cafe 218 shows great promise.
Cafe 218, Midway on Moorhouse 200-220 Moorhouse Ave.
Sunday Star Times