My husband and I were meeting a friend and her 4-year old son for a spot of brunch on Saturday morning and had arranged to go to The Tannery. The Tannery is a new collaboration between the ice-cream makers Kohu Road and the Coffee Roasters, Mt Atkinson.
We used to frequent the café at the Kohu Road creamery often and enjoyed their home-made pies, their Portuguese custard tarts and of course their ice-cream, so were disappointed when it closed down. But, fear not, It turned out that the space had been bought by the Mt Atkinson coffee owner who had a vision to create a space where you could watch the coffee being roasted and the ice-cream being made all on the same premises. The space has been renovated but continues to keep an airy warehouse feel with windows to both the creamery and the coffee roastery (roastery still under construction at time of visit). The café has always been popular with families and they will be pleased that The Tannery has kept the Kohu Road caravan which keeps the little ones amused while you eat.
The food offerings are simple – being limited to bagels and a small selection of baked sweet goods. However, on my first visit a few weeks ago, I was pleased to discover that they stock Best Ugly Bagels. Best Ugly Bagels are a relatively new venture from Al Brown (a NZ celebrity chef and restauranteur). They are a Montreal-style bagel as opposed to the more commonly available New York style and in my opinion, much tastier! They are hand-rolled, boiled and wood-fired in Auckland daily – and are much lighter and chewier than your standard bagel.
The Tannery offers five varieties of filled bagels, including a monthly special but they also allow you to build your own bagel with a number of fillings such as nutella, hummus, and peanut butter available. There are also 3 varieties of Best Ugly Bagel: sesame, poppy seed and cinnamon & raisin.
Food is ordered at the counter and delivered to your table. Sometimes the queue can be frustratingly long but this morning, although busy, our order of drinks and bagels was taken quickly. My husband also ordered himself a ‘cronut’ – a cross between a croissant and a custard doughnut as an entrée to go with his coffee. Delicious – but probably not too healthy!
We hadn’t been there long when we were treated to a flash-mob style percussion performance from people scattered throughout the café – there was a guy sat near me with a teaspoon and bottle, another behind me banging a plastic bin on the concrete floor, a girl at the other end of the café rhythmically tapping the sugar pot against the table and a couple of guys with broomsticks by the entrance. It sounds bizarre but it all came together to make a good noise. As we found out later, it was being filmed for TV3 and we were asked to sign waiver forms to give our permission for our images to be broadcast on NZ TV and apparently throughout the universe!
Our bagels arrived in good time: a New York (Gruyère, pastrami, hot mustard and cornichons) for my husband, King (Smoked salmon, capers, dills, red onion a cream cheese) for my friend and the monthly special (Blue cheese, pear, walnut and rocket) for me – all on poppy seed bagels.
When they arrived, my husband asked if he could have some pepper. This seemed to confuse the waitress who claimed they did not have any! I am sure they must have some on the premises and it would be useful to have salt and pepper on the table. We let it go however, and enjoyed the bagels. They’re not as straight-from-the-oven type fresh as they are in the Best Ugly Bagel outlet in the city – but pretty good nonetheless.
In addition to the bagels, my friend’s son was treated to a cone with scoops of banana and raspberry ice-cream. Both me and my friend tried some of the banana icecream and agreed although it wouldn’t have been our choice of flavour – it was very good and extremely banana-ry! Not surprising as I am big fan of the Kohu Road ice-cream and they are always made generously with the best ingredients. My favourite is the dark chocolate which is made with 72% French cocoa solids. We often keep a tub in the freezer at home and you only need a small amount for a special treat after dinner.
Of course, the other main event at The Tannery apart from the ice-cream is the coffee: I am not a coffee drinker, but my husband has turned into a bit of a coffee snob since moving to NZ. Kiwis take their coffee seriously and I’m told the Mt Atkinson coffee did not disappoint – a rich blend with a good kick. So good, that he ordered another cup!
All in all, although we miss the old Kohu Road café, The Tannery is a good substitute and its location (walking distance from home) along with the welcome addition of Best Ugly Bagels means that we will continue to frequent this café for coffee and brunch.
Service: Service was quick due to no queue when we arrived. Coffee and bagels arrived quickly, but my friend’s ginger tea and her son’s hot chocolate took a bit of time to be served. We had finished eating the bagels by the time they arrived and no explanation was offered.
Food: Limited offerings but Best Ugly Bagels are always welcome. Coffee and ice-cream of high quality.
Prices: Filled bagels are priced at $9.50. Take-away multipacks of 5 bagels also available for $14 – perfect for when you have friends around for brunch.The Tannery 44B Portage Road New Lynn New Zealand 09 827 6608