There are some cafés that have you wishing you lived upstairs in a small cramped flat so you could spend all your waking hours at a table downstairs, eating, drinking and watching the clientele. Little Bird Organics’, UnBakery, on Summer St. in Ponsonby, Auckland, is one of those places.
If you’re familiar with the now sadly deceased, Café Gratitude, you’ll have an idea of what unBakery is all about: raw, fresh, gluten-free, vegan ingredients that have been magically conjured into dishes you couldn’t even dream of. Beautiful “cheese”cakes and tarts made out of nothing but nuts and fruits; raw corn tortillas that have never seen the inside of a pan, but taste fresh and alive. Vibrant smoothies made without the junky sherbets and high glycemic fruits that the likes of Jamba Juice rely on. And the colors of these dishes and drinks are really an assault on the senses. Mother Nature knows how to paint a picture on your plate so pretty you’ll barely want to eat it.
My visit to Ponsonby, a hip shopping and eating area of Auckland dotted with boutiques and restaurants, was brief and focused on a working lunch at unBakery, but I was grateful to be there (and pleased they didn’t have Café Gratitude’s annoying habit of making you state what you were grateful for before delivering your food!).
The place was packed when we arrived and for a moment it looked like we’d have to get our food to go. Auckland’s fittest and most beautiful, many sporting rolled-up yoga mats, seemed to have arrived at just the same time as us. We perused the menu – which hangs on wooden clipboards on the wall – and my gracious host and I, both ordered the raw corn tortillas, filled with avocados and delicate sprouts, complete with guacamole on the side. We, of course, couldn’t resist the desserts, selecting a couple of cheesecakes and a ginger tart for me.
Lucky for us, a table freed up just as we were waiting for our order so we squeezed into a little spot, near an open window. The place has brick walls, a lofty ceiling, and is arranged on different levels which adds to the funky, creative vibe. Our meal arrived and we dove in. I love avocados and these were especially fresh. The “rice” which was made out out finely, almost ground, cauliflower and nuts was just as delicious as the main event, and overall the dish was super filling and tasted so fresh and summery I could have had a second plate. Luckily I left room for my ginger tart, which was also delicious, if a tad sweet. Nevertheless I polished it off.
If you are lucky enough to be in Auckland anytime soon, I urge you to run, not walk, to unBakery. You won’t be disappointed even if you do usually eat meat, wheat, eggs, soy, corn and sugar for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
You can find Little Bird unBakery at 1a Summer Street, Ponsonby, Auckland, New Zealand