397 Mt Eden Rd
(09) 631 5218
Monday - Saturday
6.30am - 4pm
8am - 4pm
My most overused word is ‘awesome’. Everytime it spills out of my mouth I get a slight pang of annoyance for not exploiting the hundreds of synonyms at my disposal, like my all time favourite ‘terrific’. But every word has its day, and in Mount Eden, ‘rad’ has made a return.
The adjective originated in the 90s TV cartoon Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. The association makes perfect sense in the context of this bright, toybox of a cafe, where table numbers are made of lego, and photography of toy Stormtroopers is used as wallpaper. It’s like a playroom for grown-ups, which we know we definitely are as soon as we’re served rose petal infused water instead of tap, and refer to the menu design as ‘Mondrian inspired, do you think?’
The food itself is a work of art. The peanut butter buttermilk pancakes were a triumph – every bite was as moist as the last – a feat so rarely accomplished. The grilled polenta cakes were perfectly smooth and paired with a fancy avo/feta/basil spread, and we decided the free farmed bacon and eggs would be the absolute dream hangover meal. The eggs benny had an unusual twist thanks to being served on a bed of crispy potato rosti – potentially my favourite version of Auckland’s favourite breakfast dish.
For lunch there are Rad rolls, baked fresh each morning and transformed into 4 different masterpieces – from banh mi to a classically good fish bun – as well as four larger dishes with really interesting ingredients. The cakes had flavour combinations I’d never tried before too, particularly delicious was a banana and fig loaf, making the most of the seasonal produce available at our time of visit.
But the reason this cafe is really Rad is the amount of dedication owner Duke Tran pours into his cups of coffee. Every brew is lovingly made, from delicate cold drip to espressos made on an impressive Strada machine. This cafe uses Wellington coffee roaster Flight too, which is still rare enough up here to add novelty factor for coffee enthusiasts.
RAD cafe is not just rad, it’s awesomely terrific.