If we were to crown a reigning queen of brunch, it goes without saying that the esteemed title would be bestowed upon Auckland's own Francesca Mazza.
With a portfolio that includes the likes of Winona Forever, Major Tom, Friday, I'm in Love and now Rude Boy, there's no doubt about it – Fran, her partner Aaron Carson and their talented team certainly know their way around a plate of French toast.
When we learned that Auckland's Sale Street was due to get the royal Fran and Aaron treatment, the pangs of excitement (and serious food envy) were almost too much to bear.
Rude Boy, holding pride of place at 34 Sale Street, is further reaffirmation (just in case you needed any) that the team have nailed the brunch-meets-lunch formula. Bountiful plates topped with runny poached eggs, smashed avos, pink salmon and syrupy waffles dressed in edible flowers glide their way out of a beautifully-lit, open plan kitchen with ease.
The fourth instalment in an already impressive line-up of cafe offerings, Rude Boy comfortably fills the void for nearby office-workers who find themselves lurking around town come lunch time. Rude Boy is that good, it's providing valid reason to drive into town (gasp) on a weekend, with a fresh, flavoursome vibe and distinctly 50s look and feel. Think James Dean in Levi's 501s.
The wait staff, all sporting cheeky Rude Boy branded tees, do their bit to adhere to the vibe. Nobody will wince when you order soy milk or double-down on the avo. Although, it's likely you won't need to. The team behind our favourite brunch plates deliver hearty servings of epic proportions, with Rude Boy set to be no exception.
We brave the brunch crowds during a bustling Sunday mid-morning opening, and opt for the medley of mushrooms, broccolini and halloumi. Flavoursome, sautéed button mushrooms are delivered by the dozen, with a crispy shard of cavelo nero neatly dressing the side of the plate. It's the chicken schnitzel sandwich though – dripping in tomato sauce and stringy mozzarella – that really shines. Lightly crumbed chicken fillet, doused with Italian sauce and housed between thick slices of lightly toasted, slightly sweet, pumpkin bread, ticks every box. Each dish is mouth-wateringly photogenic, with the natural inclination to 'gram your brekkie an urge you'll need to fight. A couple seated to the left of us are handed a jug of warm, chocolate sauce, and instructed it's for drizzling all over their chocolate waffle stack.
The plentiful cabinet of sweet delights proves equally as tempting, with Fran's experience as a pastry chef showcased front and centre. Our pick? The super-sized lamington, oozing with what can only be peanut butter. If you were hoping to escape without something sweet for the road, think again. This is #treatyourself territory.
With any great new opening worth its salt, comes a whole lot of hype, so tolerate the weekend crowds or expect a potentially lengthy wait for a table or your food. It would be rude not to.
Rude Boy Deli & Eatery officially opens Wednesday, August 1.
Rude Boy Deli & Eatery
34 Sale Street,
New Zealand 1010.
Monday – Wednesday: 6:30am – 4pm
Thursday – Friday: 6:30am – 9pm
Saturday: 8am – 9pm
Sunday: 8am – 4pm.