Photographs: David Straight
Nestled between its sister restaurant Chinoiserie and a petrol station on Owaikara Road, L’oeuf doesn’t look like much from the outside – just a few old benches and communal tables. Inside, it’s simple: plywood tables, a geometric rug; creepers and hanging plants run across the walls and ceiling. There’s a beautiful tiled bench in the window where you can soak up the morning sun and outside there are long tables with school benches.
This place does a lot of eggs and they are cooked perfectly. The menu is South East Asia meets Europe, meets Australasia – a mishmash that somehow works. The Cambodian ($16.50) is sweet, sticky black rice with a moat of salted coconut milk, zesty kiwifruit and lychee – sweet, sour, salty. The Nordstrom, smoked kahawai with pea puree and spicy radish, is great too: it comes with earthy rye and one of L’oeuf’s signature poached eggs, oozes out to create a mess on your plate, perfect for scooping onto thick toasted bread. There’s the option to add avocado here, and to just about everything else, which in the middle of winter is an oddly unseasonal choice. There is also the Nest, which is possibly Auckland’s most photographed breakfast: crumbed soft-boiled eggs in a pastry “nest” with house-made ketchup and salad. It’s genius.
They change their menu seasonally, so be sure to get the Peasant before the weather warms up, or wait until next year – a hearty cassoulet of cannellini beans, bacon lardons and vegetables cooked in duck fat. It’s gloriously rich, with dense potato bread to mop up the juice. Seemingly effortless – but so is the whole place. KR
ADDRESS 4a Owairaka Road, Mt Albert, ph 971-4155.
HOURS Wednesday to Sunday, 7am to 3.30pm. Monday until 3pm. Closed Tuesday
COFFEE Atomic. Espresso only, which is unfortunate. The iced coffee is best – it comes with a little glass of vanilla syrup.
IMPORTANT DETAILS Weekends are busy: get there after 11:30 and you’ll miss the good stuff. You might have to wait, too – though they run a reasonably efficient waitlist.