Review: Under the Red Verandah
Under the Red Verandah is a classic Linwood offering with survival instinct in spades. Wiped out after the February 2011 earthquake, it was back up and running faster than any of us could have expected.
The cafe is split between a main, open-plan house, and an adjacent cottage. There is also outdoor seating with a courtyard full of flowers and tables in the sun.
We are lucky to get a table as it is Father's Day, but staff are accommodating and find us a corner, complete with colourful tablecloth and vase of fresh flowers.
The small cottage space means voices do carry and the neighbouring table's discussions are a touch intrusive. However, all is forgiven for the sake of the cafe's history and the knowledge a lot has been done with a little.
The menu here is a pretty standard offering - eggs, french toast, pancakes and so on. The cabinet food always looks incredible and it takes all my willpower not to indulge in the huge range of cakes and slices on offer.
The oaty pancakes are something of a house special, and I have never tasted their equal. Fluffy, flavoursome, and with the added bonus of feeling healthy (even if it is an illusion), the pancakes are top notch.
Despite being oaty, the texture is spot on - not gritty or chewy. I have had the berry and yoghurt option in the past, so go for the bacon, banana and maple syrup. The portion size is generous, the bacon crispy, and the banana a nice contrast, both in texture and flavour.
The french toast is beautifully caramelised on the outside, soft in the middle, and a pretty decent-sized helping. The same toppings are on this dish and it is declared a good effort.
Unfortunately, our meals arrive well before our coffees.
The coffees are good, but with little flair. The mocha is served sans marshmallows and with the merest dusting of chocolate powder. The flavour could be bolder. The flat white has a bit too much foam, however both are hot despite the walk from the barista to the cottage.
While service is efficient, friendly, and with a smile, this cafe needs to be conscious of creating a rushed atmosphere.
With food arriving so quickly and the cafe being so busy, it is easy to feel a little like a customer on a conveyor belt. We are in and out in less than 30 minutes.
All in all, this cafe continues to provide a solid breakfast experience which will keep us coming back for more.
Under the Red Verandah
WHERE: 29 Tancred St, Linwood, Christchurch, 03 381 1109
WHEN: Monday to Friday, 7.30am-4pm; Saturday and Sunday, 8.30am-4pm
HOW MUCH: $47.20 for two, including drinks
WHAT'S TO EAT: Breakfast, brunch, lunch, cabinet food
WHAT DO WE THINK: A good offering, four stars.
- © Fairfax NZ News