Hello Friends + Allies. I thought the name of this eatery in the inner suburbs of Auckland was rather apt for my first review on livelifelovecake in nearly a year. Hello friends. Hello allies. First of all, thanks to my wonderful mother Alison for keeping you all entertained and in-the-know about the best eateries in the UK and abroad – she loves to travel this one too!
For those of you who have been wondering where the hell I’ve got to, I’ve been concentrating on my other blog felicitymacintosh.com, sharing my stories from my travels around the world. Now set on making a home for myself, I’ve been undertaking extensive research to see if Auckland is a place I want live. My main criteria for judgement being “how good is the food” (and how hot is the men, but this has yielded less positive results!).
I’ve managed to cover quite an extensive pool of cafes and coffee shops during my first fortnight in Auckland and the city certainly doesn’t disappoint. Hello Friends + Allies is well-renowned by the city’s foodies and it’s almost impossible to get a seat during the weekend rush. Even now at 11am on a Thursday, I can hardly hear myself think with the buzz of chitter chatter around me. Not ideal for putting my creative blogging mind to work but it does give off a community feel with a mixed crowd all having a great time.
The interior is nicely decorated with plenty of fresh foliage dotted around. High-class glossy magazines are spread across the communal table making me feel “cool” to sit here. In front of me stand some rather phallic butternut squashes, rather amusing if you ask me. The best thing is that despite the chilly winter day, it’s warm inside and cosy enough to linger and indulge in a second coffee.
Coffee here is brewed with beans from local roasters Supreme which I find slightly too bitter for my morning long black. A milky Supreme coffee is far more enjoyable unless you like the bitter taste. It was my first coffee of the day so I went for the single origin black filter coffee which was much nicer than Supreme’s standard espresso.
A huge counter of sweet and savoury goodies runs next to the till and coffee machine. I’m impressed to see such a vast selection of fresh cakes and tarts considering the slightly out-of-town location. The fact that many of the cakes have literately flown off the shelf and replaced with new delights in the two hours I’ve been here, just shows how popular they are.
In addition to the counter, the menu has a good selection of breakfast and lunch dishes with a few unusual items, like the Malaysian black sticky rice with coconut cream and mango sorbet, catching my eye. This is one of the dishes I’ve seen on a handful of menus across Auckland which I’ve not come across before, even in other foodie cities like London, Melbourne and Sydney. With this in mind I thought I would give it a go.
The dish was pleasant and certainly very filling but I did feel the sticky rice lacked flavour and needed a fair bit of coconut cream mixed in to give the senses a bit of an Oomph. Of course, if you drink a fair bit of coconut cream from the can (we’ve all been there don’t deny it!) it can get a bit too much and I struggled to finish all mine.
My friend Pauline went for the chicken from the counter which looked succulently tender and just fell off the bone. The poor lass is recovering from having her tonsils out so has hardly eaten a thing all week but this chicken went down a treat. Unfortunately the waitress wouldn’t give out the wifi password, which I guess stops workers hogging the table but it is a shame for bloggers like me who want to tell the world about their most recent find. Sticking to my strict research plan, it was vital that I followed my breakfast with a cake.
With the last jam and cream doughnut being snapped up before I got the chance, I went for the salted caramel s’more as, again, I thought this sounded a little different. The S’more was similar to a millionaire shortbread, with thick cream sandwiched between two layers of biscuit and two layers of salted caramel. It was adequately sweet and I liked the different textures which meant it didn’t get too ‘samey‘. The caramel lacked salt but this is far better than having too much. I’ve experience this in the past and let me tell ya, it ain’t nice!
I enjoyed my morning at Hello Friends + Allies and can certainly see myself working my way through the counter alone, searching for that “OMG” tantalising moment. It would take a fair few visits but a challenge I am willing to accept. Fresh and friendly is the theme here and while the sticky rice and coffee were a little disappointing, my critical mind only worsens the more fabulous food I get to sample across the world.
Now a proud owner of a New Zealand work visa, I’ll continue to hunt out the best food and drinks from the other side the world. More soon…
Living life, loving cake,