So add this to the list of things for Aussies and Kiwis to fight over – the flat white. Along with lamingtons and pavlova we both lay claim this antipodean beverage, something I always took for granted as the most boring of the espresso-based drinks. I never realised the flat white had such controversial origins, nor the fact that it would one day become the coffee of choice for hipsters from New York to London.
But the flat white is not the reason I decided to visit Allpress’s flagship store in trendy Ponsonby, Auckland; frankly, I couldn’t care less about flat whites, miniscule coffees are more my scene. I’d been a fan of Allpress ever since I came accross it’s Sydney Roasterie in Zetland. When I first bloogged about them, I cited them as the Kiwi export I’d most like to call my own. So I was excited to check out their teensy Ponsonby store and see what’s what.
We arrived on a rainy I’m-not-sure-what-day-it-was, as we spent the majority of our trip to NZ drinking and thus time ceased to have much meaning. Ponsonby road is a strip of cafés and restaurants with an up-to-the-minute but kind of upmarket feel – a little bit Balmain with a touch of Paddington. But smaller. And quieter. Allpress is a narrow shop with a few stools inside and outside and a couple of tables. From what I can tell, they only serve coffee and biscuits.
I’m glad I was travelling with our Texan host, who doesn’t drink the coffees Senhor R and I do (a macch and a piccollo, full cream, no sugar if you ever want to shout us). It gave me an entirely different take on the place than I would’ve had if I’d just gone with Senhor R. Ms Texan stepped up to the counter and ordered her standard fare – a large trim (skim) flat white with two equals, in a takeaway cup. Only to be told they don’t have large cups. Or equal. Or trim (skim) milk.
Now, I know there are places with only one size of cups, and places that don’t stock equal. Or maybe they don’t have syrups, or soy milk. But it seems really fricking WEIRD to me to run a cafe that prepares nothing but coffee and not to offer your customers skim milk. I also think it’s weird that the people working there didn’t think this was weird, if you know what I mean. This wasn’t announced anywhere, a la Bar Italia et. al. This wasn’t a voluntary simplicity/freedom from choice philosophy they just…don’t…have…skim. Or soy. Or equal. Or large cups.
My coffee was good, Senhor R’s was too milky. Ms Texan’s? Well, it was too creamy, small and sugary, if you really want to know. I’d go back for sure, but I doubt she will, which is a shame as she live in Auckland.
266 Ponsonby Road, Ponsonby, Auckland
+64 9 376 4726
Monday to Friday 8.30am – 5.00pm
Saturday 8.30am – 4.00pm
Sunday 9.00am – 3.00pm
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