Saturday, 12 March 2011

Walkabout in an Auckland 'Burb - Greenwoods Corner

After five years away, it was a welcome return to our former home Auckland. It was a bittersweet return to our home of six years as within hours of our arrival the Christchurch earthquake struck and the two days we were in town were marred by efforts to locate friends and fearing the likelihood of aftershocks in our hometown - earthquake-prone Wellington. We also as always attempted to squeeze in as many friends, family and feasts in the shortest amount of time and one of the visits included our old suburb and one of the local hubs we used to frequent, Greenwoods Corner.

This little known pocket is at the southern end of the much-desired school zone Epsom, borders One Tree Hill and marks the start of Royal Oak. While retail therapy is not high on the agenda here are a few of the spots we checked out.

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Kenzie Cafe

We used to frequent this cafe when we lived in Auckland and after registering at the Blood Service (remember post earthquake) we were in need of sustenance.  This once bustling little eatery has possibly changed hands since we last visited (five + years ago) and the once delicious serve of french toast with banana & bacon was a disappointment featuring cheap streaky bacon and a flood of maple syrup (with yet more on the side in case the toast was too offensive). From reading some local reviewers it seems our opinion is shared and this fills me with little joy. The decor is tired and in need of refreshing, with little or no atmosphere. Given we were starting to see where the recession was biting in Auckland, it was a little disheartening to note that this could be a business suffering the effects also.  The coffee was weak and left us still wanting a decent cup so we continued to check out the Corner to see what we could find. 


Ninja Sushi

As we passed this sushi joint our expectations were kept low by its amusing name in the franchised typeface but one view into the display cabinet had us thinking twice. Unfortunately my poor photography skills don't do justice to the wonderfully intricate pieces. They were delightful to look at and when we did finally taste a couple that we bought later that day, can certainly vouch for how delicious they were.  Definitely worth visiting again. No boring California rolls here. 

White & One

Auckland doesn't have the coffee reputation that Wellington does and seeking out a decent brew becomes quite the personal crusade at times. In fact our lunch time conversation (as the earthquake took place) the day before with a couple of ex-Wellingtonians seemed to have made it their mission in their new city!  Our coffee quest was well satisfied by the folks of White & One - a fairly new establishment in these parts from what I can gather.  They serve a popular NZ roast from Coffee Supreme and we sat outside and enjoyed a lovely strong velvetty flat white.  Didn't have a chance to stop for food so pop back and tell me what you think if you do.  There is great parking around Greenwoods Corner and if I were local again I would definitely be adding this spot to my regular stops. 

Greenwoods Kitchen

586 Manukau Road, Epsom, Auckland

While sitting outside White & One  we spotted Greenwoods Kitchen across the road  and decided to grab something fresh, baked and delectably tasty to take on our road trip out of Auckland that afternoon.  In fact I got it into my head that I would sample bacon & egg pies from as many places as we could find but frankly this place set the benchmark too high for me to further that quest!  From its unassuming exterior you would not  how popular this bakery/cafe actually was and continues to be. A battle is waged often to find a table and nearing any dining time it feels like the hidden population in the area have landed in the Kitchen demanding cakes, slices, biscuits, pies and any number of baked goods that grace their extensive selection. They're favoured by old and young alike and given the choices they have return visits are well in order. Was so great to see that this place was still as good as I remembered it.

Molly N

While retail therapy is limited to a few women's fashion stores (my favourite one now stickered as going into liquidation :( - recession bites) and homewares there is a little shoe boutique, Molly N. I remember when Molly N opened on Plimmers Steps in Wellington when I was in school. My sister and I covetted a a pair of leather loafers that we had scrounged enough pingas for. The shoes used to be manufactured locally and those damn loafers are still fully intact!  I justified my little visit on supporting the local economy, as despite manufacturing now having moved to Spain, there are plenty of locals supported by their continued business (I sold that rather well I thought!). I couldn't resist these ruby red slingbacks (Mia) and the polka dot lining was a reason alone.  So much so I also grabbed her enclosed peeptoe cousin in black (can never have too many black heels under my desk at work!).  They make good quality shoes with great materials just ignore the atrocious website that while serving its purpose seems to have forgotten the power of aesthetic appeal. They are practical sturdy shoes with a little bit of quirk.  Even the high heels are wise enough to look cute but ensure you won't require surgery after wearing them. I reminded myself of this wise choice a few hours later when I bought a pair of orange satin slingbacks from Mia Piacchi! 


 Greenwoods Corner will rarely appear at the top of anyone's list of places to visit in Auckland (not when Newmarket is close and where designers like Karen Walker and Trelise Cooper like to frolic) but it will always remind me of my old home.

Posted via email from Radhika's posterous


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