Place: Scarecrow initially opened as a pop-up but now they're here to stay. They've just finished renovating their space on the corner of Kitchener and Victoria Streets in the middle of Auckland's CBD and those in the area are no doubt grateful for the breath of fresh air the store provides amid the city's hustle and bustle.
People: Over breakfast, Scarecrow's owner Alison Dyson explained how she found it tricky to source local, organic produce once she moved to the city and imagined there were others also looking for other options beyond the major supermarkets. As no one else seemed to be taking it upon themselves to stock the sort of artisan producers she was after, she and her husband decided to do it themselves. While it hasn't been an easy road, the store now employs a florist, an event organiser, and has pop-dining's chef Ben Barton taking the lead in the kitchen. While the store resembles a farmers market more than it does any of the slick cafes nearby, their focus on timelessness rather than trendiness seems to be paying off.
On the menu: I often dream of Scarecrow's delicious sandwiches – made with surprisingly delicious filling combinations between thick, soft bread – but with an ever-changing menu it's always a gamble what you'll find on any given day. This reflects Ben Barton's ability to be creative with what's on hand and in season – Scarecrow are also happy to cater to gluten-free, vegetarian and paleo diets. While I've never asked for a menu's paleo option in my life, when I visited for breakfast I went for the pancakes layered with fruit and topped with coconut yoghurt, which also happenned to fit the label. Whether pancakes were a favourite among cavemen or not it's hard to know, but they were lovely, light and let the flavour of the dish's berries and fruit shine through. We then got to sample one of Scarecrow's chocolates – mine was a ball of rich chocolate filled with soft salted caramel. The other option available, which inspired a decent dose of breakfast envy, was a Stracciatella Omelette with fried capers and ginger. These were all washed down by Kokako coffee, available as filter or espresso.
Decor: Rustic and bright, with wooden shelving and tables adorned with bunches of bright flowers. Everywhere you look, something will catch your eye, whether it's their range of food and produce, handmade ceramics, their huge, mouth-watering cabinet or even their wee shop dog, Nelson. He's very sweet.
Go tomorrow: To feel at home in the middle of the rush of the city, eat a delicious, wholesome breakfast or lunch and enjoy a perfectly brewed coffee. If you can't leave the food behind, ask for one of their recipes, gather all the the ingredients from their tall shelves and take a bit of Scarecrow home with you.
33 Victoria St East
Monday to Friday: 7am–7pm
Saturday and Sunday: 9am–19:00