Auckland’s Apothecary: a surprisingly good cafe


The way to get what you want in an Auckland cafe is to look like you’re about to steal something. Either that or give off some non-verbal indication that you might be about to finish your meal and leave. Do this, and the normally inattentive waitstaff will leap to attention, either because they’re incensed by the idea that you might be about to make off with their precious pieces of cutlery or because your leaving also brings with it the prospect of their closing early.

It’s a bit of a shame because ‘The Apothecary’ is pretty good, and would be even better if it wasn’t still haunted by those uniquely Auckland traits.

To get a bottle of water I had to look like I was about to steal one from behind the counter. And l only received charming service when a confused waitress thought I was a customer about to leave (they hadn’t wiped down the previous customer’ Warhol-esque collection of spilt sugar, salt, pepper and BBQ sauce – so it looked like I had littered the table with foodstuffs and was now about to make a stealthy exit).

That aside, The Apothecary easily has the best food and coffee of any Auckland establishment I’ve been to this year.

For one, the mushroom sauce on my meal was thick and rich. Meaning that it probably hadn’t started life as a gluten-free ‘organic’ mushroom sauce sachet from Gilmours (another Auckland tradition) as often turns out to be the case at other Auckland cafes. Even more surprisingly, the banana cake also appeared to have an actual piece of banana in it. The cake itself even did a good impression of having been freshly baked.

A nice surprise then, but fear not Aucklanders, the tell tale signs that you’re in Auckland are still there.

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