4a Owairaka Avenue
7am - 3.30pm (except Tuesdays)
8am - 3.30pm
In the 1970s, a French architect named André Bruyère expounded his plans for an egg-shaped skyscraper to be built in the centre of Paris. His vision was never realised, but 43 years later inspired an innovative trio to hatch L’oeuf in Mount Albert.
Using Buyere’s design as the logo for their neighbourhood nest, Ludo and Jasper Maignot, also French, and Celeste Thornley, a Kiwi, reinvented the egg. The café is utterly relaxing; it’s filled with a soft natural light, is uncluttered, and the service is charming. The central polished wooden shared table is piled up with a mixture of art, photography and architecture books, and adorned with a vase filled with branches and flowers. Ferns and cacti fit right in with Scandinavian-style chairs, and blue tiles line the counter and long window table, providing a summery splash of colour.
The counter hosts a bell jar filled with baklavas and Egyptian Cigars, and an array of cakes made on-site (notably gooey lemon semolina and black doris plum and almond). Adjacent shelves are lined with beautiful little jars of peanut and almond butter, and bags of muesli, all housemade.
Chef Jasper is heavily influenced by European and Asian cooking, so the menu is wonderfully diverse. Everyone has their favourite, but probably the most instagrammed dish in town is The Nest, a boiled, crumbed egg resting in a “nest” of Kataifi pastry, sitting atop a green salad and a bed of spice beetroot puree. It is the most beautiful dish, and it tastes even better than it looks. If you’re after something heavier, I’d suggest the Hunter, the creamiest, richest mushrooms I’ve ever tried. For those looking for a light or vegan option, go for the Cambodian – black sticky rice with salted coconut cream and lychee – it’s divine.
In addition to Atomic coffee, there are delicious housemade orange blossom and mango coconut lassies, served in milk bottles, and steaming cups of homemade chai. L’oeuf has a fresh approach to takeaway too, they make banh mi to order, meaning there are no sandwiches sitting in a cabinet all day.
It was clear from the minute it opened its doors that L’oeuf was something special, one of the most unique and innovative cafes in town. Despite its location on a quiet suburban street, its still so popular that you’ll be obliged to wait for a seat most days, don’t be deterred, it’s worth it.