Auckland foodies say hello to your new best friend—Once Strangers. This modern day cafe is serving up some of the best eats in town with a side of fresh quality banter.
Found on Upper Symonds Street, this new Grafton gem is changing up the way we brunch. Inside, you'll find a hip modern fit out, featuring a mural of mailboxes by local artist Yuqing Qiu and a welcoming team. No need to worry about any chance of an awkward lull in banter, you’ll find conversation starter cards at each table. Ease into things with some wicked ice-breakers, or really get to know a certain someone over the ‘date night’ pack and you’ll be chatting away all day long.
Owners Emily Zhang and Aaron Yan actually shared their first date over breakfast in a cafe, which they cite as inspiration for their exciting new venture.
"The purpose of Once Strangers is to provide an environment and space to meet," says Emily. "When strangers come together awesome things can happen."
The menu doesn’t disappoint, either. With a massive selection to choose from, the team have expertly crafted a selection that features a range of cuisines from around the world.
A show stopper, you’re going to want to check out their epic waffle selection. The pear and walnut waffles are our top pick, topped with a caramel drizzle and walnut crumble, served alongside a poached bear and whipped cream. Served up hot and fresh, you'll be dreaming about it till round two.
Haven’t got a sweet tooth? Then Aaron’s top pick, the fried chicken waffles, are just the thing for you. Starring golden crunchy buttermilk fried chicken, topped with melted brie, chilli mayo and in a sandwich of buttermilk waffles and served alongside salad, it’s the perfect lunch for your next work break.
A classic done right, our number one pick for breakfast would be the out-of-this-world soft baked eggs. Baked atop tomato infused kidney beans, topped with parmesan and served alongside ciabatta, there’s no better way to start your daily hustle! If eggs don’t tickle your fancy opt for something sweet, the rolled oats porridge is topped with house-made granola and seasoned fruits cooked in a choice of almond or coconut milk.
A lunchtime favourite, you won’t want to miss their signature bao buns. All wrapped up in a soft Chinese-style steamed bun and served alongside lemon peppered fries, these bad boys are sure to be the talk of the town. You’ll find yourself spoilt for choice with the spicy stir-fried thin sliced pork belly, the sweet and sour honey balsamic thick pork belly, and tangy satay chicken to choose from.
We need to taco-bout the insane fish tacos. Featuring deep-fried monkfish, fresh salad, served alongside house-made soy lime dressing these gems is almost too pretty to eat… almost.
On the go? Alongside the fully stocked cabinet filled with plenty of goodies, Once Strangers are brewing up a storm using Altura Coffee beans to keep you powering through.
Image credit: Jaiden Bhaga