In the 3 months since I’ve been away, new cafes are (pardon the pun) sprouting up everywhere in Auckland. This is especially exciting news for Mt Albert, which has traditionally been somewhat bereft of cafes and good coffee. Sprout Café is housed in an long abandoned service station site in a sleepy corner of New North Road. The new tenants have made the most of the quirky site; they have even put in bi-fold windows which open out to an servery. Theoretically you could ride through for your coffee fix.
The menu is divided into ‘For Eating’ and ‘For Drinking’, and there are interesting options for both. You’ll find Vietnamese dishes hidden in the menu, among the delicious twists on old favourites. For quick bites, there are some cabinet food available, including Sprout’s take on banh mi.
For starters, order one of their traffic colour options of freshly squeezed juices ($7.50). They are all very refreshing, especially the green (mint, kale, cucumber and apple).
The full menu is available for both breakfast and lunch. I had the bacon wrapped soft egg with panko crumb served with tomato basil salsa and hash cake ($19). This is Sprout Café’s signature dish; it looks beautifully inviting and tastes like what all good comfort food should be, familiar and oh so delicious. However, I have a strange aversion to runny yolks, and I asked for the yolks to be soft but not runny. The kitchen got it right on cue. The eggs are served with a tomato basil salsa and hash cake. While I was won over by the presentation, this is a substantial meal and I would have been happy with a half size.
The house cold smoked salmon and dill cream cheese on rye ($18) won over DP who normally does not eat fish. The salmon was eye-catchingly vibrant, with its accessory of pickled onion and beetroot.
If you want something lighter, go for the baked pear salad with chèvre (goat cheese) and pancetta, topped with walnuts, balsamic reduction and kumara shards ($18). Or the mushroom, chèvre and caramelised onion in a wholegrain tart ($16). Sprout run special menu items, and I hope they will refresh their menu on a seasonal basis.
This place should be packed, but its location tucked away from the main dining streets and with nary any other shops nearby makes it a destination, rather than a ‘stumble-upon’. I hope people make their way here instead of the usual haunts in nearby Dominion Rd or Mt Eden precinct. Sprout Cafe has all the hallmarks of an excellent neighbourhood hangout; easy parking, kid-friendly, cheerful staff, tasty food and great coffee.
847 New North Road
Ph: 09-214 7870
Mon – Fri: 7am – 4pm
Sat/Sun: 8am – 4pm