A slice of the tropics has hit Auckland shores with our latest epic new opening, Lei. This unforgettable new Ponsonby cafe is changing up the foodie scene and bringing the suburb back to its Polynesian roots.
Inspired by the aspirations of both her and her late partner, owner Natasha Finau along with her brother, Saione Greer, have pursued their dream to bring Lei to life. Gaining its name from Natasha’s knack at the craft, the eatery is the product of the communal efforts of the siblings' friend circle, everyone pitching in to make Lei a reality.
Walking in, you can’t help but fall in love with the spot. Whirled away by the tropical mural by local legend, Flox, you’ll find yourself facing a scrumptious cabinet—a feast for your eyes alone. Under the watchful gaze of various family portraits, Natasha oversees the food prep.
“We want people to escape the office and find themselves in the tropics,” says Natasha. “Our slice of paradise offers a warm vibe to enjoy, before heading back to face reality.”
A small but mighty menu, you’ll find the food at Lei to be enticing, exciting and engaging.
Our top pick would have to be the drool-worthy French toast. Just a peek at this happiness on a plate will make your tummy rumble so hard you’d think it’s never been fed. With their very own spin on the classic, Lei's Poly toast is soon to be the talk of the town. Featuring brioche, grilled banana with toasted coconut, alongside indulgent Heilala vanilla, sourced in Tonga.
Don’t have a sweet tooth? Opt for a classic done right: the eggs bene. Served on a potato hash, this is defs one for the foodie bucket list. Alternatively, the world's most approachable greens, the Suva Salad is one of our top picks. Topped with a runny poached egg, it's got spinach, tomato, avo, crunchy croutons and a dousing house-made garlic aioli.
Not usually a glamorous dish, the porridge offers a new perspective on a disputed classic. Served warm, the coconut cream-infused oats are topped with crunchy coconut chips and drizzled in an indulgent berry compote.
Inspired by fond memories of her Aunty’s signature Fijian chicken curry, Natasha and the team have worked tirelessly to recreate the magic recipe, resulting in a hearty dish packing a flavorsome punch. Served alongside a mountain of rice, roti bread and crispy poppadom, this gem is sure to have you coming back for round two in no time.
On the go? Lei’s got you covered, with one of the best cabinets in town. You’ll find yourself spoilt for choice with goodies from the in-house baker. You’ll find a range of baps, wraps, and sweet treats alongside fresh All Press coffee. You’re sure to be the food envy of the office.
Dreamy, chill, yummy and homely…what more could you ask for in an eatery? See what all the fuss is about, and head on down to Lei ASAP.
Image Credit: Jaiden Bhaga