Angela Cuming gives her verdict on Waikato's cafe scene.
Joe's Garage, Bryce St, Hamilton.
With Hamilton in the grip of a severe thunderstorm watch and a disgraced cat in the dog house (she kept drinking the water out of the Christmas tree bucket), the Irishman and I decided to venture across the river and into town for a comforting coffee.
We discovered that Joe's Garage had opened, a ray of sunshine on an otherwise gloomy morning.
The Hamilton cafe is the latest addition to this popular cafe franchise, which started in Queenstown and has grown to near cult-like proportions.
I've always been wary of cafe franchises - Starbucks, I am talking to you - but Joe's is different.
The Hamilton Joe's is a real find. It's set inside a faux industrial space, with polished concrete floors, replica mechanic's workshop light fittings and lots of distressed wood and exposed brickwork.
As far as fake industrial/warehouse spaces go, this one is pretty good, although the owners could probably lose the giant spanner door handles.
We grabbed a spot in one of the oversized window booths and ordered a flat white each.
The coffee was good and strong, and the little bite-sized piece of lolly cake on each saucer was a nice touch.
The service here is as prompt and professional as you would expect from a franchise and we were equally impressed by the food menu. It's nice to see cafes that eschew the current foodie trends and still do the classics like bacon and egg rolls and pikelets for breakfast. A word of warning: The in-house playlist swings between the Rolling Stones, Bob Marley and Neil Young. You will be singing all day.