Saturday, May 12, 2007

Maranui cafe

Out on Lyall Bay windsurfers hopped on grey waves. The last forecast I’d heard mentioned a current temperature of 10c. Ah, Wellington, some days I remember why I left you. The boxy wooden building on the foreshore didn’t look like the epicentre of groove central from the outside. Tripping over the raised doorstep we made our way up narrow wooden steps lined with long oars in lieu of handrails. During our ascent photos and club memorabilia on the walls amused us. They were a crusty lot at the old Maranui Surf Life Saving Club.

Once through the double doors we were in a different world. At 1pm the place was hopping. We found two stools at the end of a communal table and placed an order at the counter. I’ve ranted before about the lack of table service in Wellington but as it’s a culture that doesn’t tip – do you blame the staff for minimising their effort? Specials included a soup, pasta and fish dish. The standard menu had some great burgers, sandwiches and a breakfast burrito. We made our order synchroniously choosing a fish burger each. After relocating to a just vacated table, we found ourself in a quiet enough corner to hear each other speak.

The café sits on the second floor of the life saving club, looking out across the bay with the airport to the left and the Cook Straight to the right. The Inter Island ferry made its way out of the safe harbour into the heads. How much pleasanter to sit in this cosy place, I thought, than nurse seasickness in a Southerly for the next few hours.

The place is decorated with retro style. Our table had some interestingly named marine paint colours and stuffed big game fish adorned one of the walls. Behind the counter sat a row of old soft drink bottles. The joint is definitely kitch, but cool kitch.

With a coffee, ginger beer (the wonderful dry Hardy Boys) and 2 fish burgers between us – this hardly adds up to a restaurant review. But I can attest to the deliciousness of the burger - the fish fried but not greasy in the merest of batters, a big dob of aoli, a wholemeal bun and just enough chunky fries on the side to make it feel like a treat without regret.

If you are in the neighbourhood, pop in a find out for yourself.

Maranui Café
7 Lyall Parade
Lyall Bay
New Zealand

UPDATE:2 August 2009 - I am sad to report the demise of the Maranui SLC due to a fire this weekend. The owners are talking valiantly of rebuilding but time will tell. I'm missing it already!

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Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

The Maranui Cafe is the most searched restaurant review I have written! I have visited it now on numerous trips back to Wellington and though noisy and crowded at times (I've never dared a weekend visit) the food remains consistent and it has lost none of it's sparkle. Thanks for popping by.

11:52 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

We just love Maranui! wholesome food, friendly staff and fantastic spot!!!

5:52 am  
Blogger Another Outspoken Female said...

I'm happy to say the Maranui SLS Cafe is alive and well and back to original condition as of June 2010.

8:35 am  

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