Auckland's recent humidity saw us basically swimming through the city to Grey Lynn’s Big Sur, a vegetarian café we'd heard positive murmurings about since it opened in October.
Inside, the small space is decorated simply but beautifully, with flower arrangements from nearby Muck Floral hanging above the largest table, while a bookcase tucked under the staircase suggests you’re welcome to stay a while. We headed out the back and down some stairs to the spacious, leafy courtyard.
Filled with fresh, vegetarian fare, Big Sur’s menu is just the sort of food we felt like eating as we enjoyed the day’s sun. Decorated with gorgeous charcoal drawings, the handwritten menus contained more tempting options than we could have possibly tried. I went for the Fried Upma – Indian-spiced yellow split-pea fritters with coriander and mint raita, tomato kasundi (a rich tomato chutney), topped with a free-range egg. They were incredibly tasty and quickly filled me up – luckily two of my friends found them just as delicious and finished them off between them. No brunch menu would be complete without avocado on toast and Big Sur’s option is particularly lovely accompanied by tomatoes atop three bite-sized pieces of The Midnight Baker’s seeded bread.
We also tried the Nishiogikubo – a Japanese-style cold soba noodle salad with slaw, pickled onion and ginger, edamame, avocado, broccolini and spicy miso dressing. Flavoursome and fresh (and beautiful to look at), it was the perfect summer meal and definitely my favourite of the dishes we tried. One sweet option was ordered: the Coconut Citrus Hotcakes with Caramelised Pineapple and Coconut Whipped Cream. They left the entire table envious on arrival. Big Sur serves Coffee Supreme which I couldn’t resist, despite the heat. Big Sur’s smoothies were a more appropriate option – dairy-free, they come in milk bottle-like jars and look satisfyingly fruit-filled and creamy.
From their menu to their decor, each element of Big Sur has been carefully thought out and designed with care. The result is a delightful café we can't wait to venture back to.
432 Richmond Rd
Grey Lynn, Auckland
Tuesday to Friday: 7am – 3pm
Saturday to Sunday: 8am – 3pm