181 Grafton Road
Monday - Friday
7.30am - 4pm
Welcome Eatery waits for you in a forgotten part of town. The door is up a flight of steps, beneath a big sign saying WELCOME. It’s pretty welcoming. Once inside you’ll find a bright, vast space – a breath of fresh air. The attention that’s poured into every detail is plain to see, with design by Charlotte McCrae that sets the fresh and friendly tone perfectly. There is a wall of greenery, and hand painted signage by Nigel Roberts of Dagar Media.
Welcome Eatery is one of those cafes, rare to Auckland, where you’d feel quite comfortable settling in with your laptop and getting down to business. You could stay for hours, moving from fresh juice to long black to green smoothie, and you’d never feel the pressure to move on. It’s a true hang out. The pair behind it, Hone and Ralph, are (aptly) two of the most welcoming guys we’ve come across in cafe land. They’re relaxed, but clearly very passionate about what they do, and you can tell they have a thing about perfection. Nothing in this space, from the chairs to the pendant lights to the sugar bowls, has been put there without thought.
The smoothies at Welcome are exceptional, as thick as milkshakes and served in tall delicate glasses. I love the Cocoa with homemade rawtella, banana, cocoa, dates and milk. It was a meal in itself, and one I wouldn’t mind starting every day with. The menu is concise and seasonal, and has surprising twists that see sweet apple sauce poured over ricotta pancakes, and scrambled eggs paired with spicy chorizo. Welcome Eatery’s chef is Mark McAllister, previously of The Oyster Inn on Waiheke, so you can safely expect quality and care. Given that the predominant purpose of Welcome Eatery is to provide a lunchbar for nearby office workers, the cabinet is satisfyingly packed with freshly made sandwiches and vibrant salads.
The coffee here is Supreme – a sentence that can be read in more than one way. I really like that at Welcome Eatery, they’re focusing on making great coffee, and not worrying about diversifying too much with alternative brew methods. They’re working hard to get the base elements right, and to create a cafe that’s perfect for the space it’s in. It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed a simple long black as much.
I guess the best and most succinct way to describe the experience at Welcome Eatery is, a pleasure. The space, the light, the coffee, the food, the company – they combine to create some lovely moments. When that kind of feeling happens in a place like this, you know it’s no accident.
We were lucky enough to hold a Saturday brunch Tasting Club at Welcome Eatery in 2014. Four courses of delight with matched coffee from Supreme.