Home' The Wellingtonian : January 31st 2013 Contents 6 THE WELLINGTONIAN, JANUARY 31, 2013
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Caffe Mode's tale of
Caffe Mode in Kelburn has no right to be as
successful as it has been over the past 20
The cafe, opposite St Michael s Anglican
Church, is cramped and noisy. Yet it does a
It s quite a task to pinpoint a moment when
Caffe Mode is quiet. It opens at 7.30am on
weekdays and is choc-full for a couple of hours.
Then there s steady trade until a massive lunch-
time rush. And at about 3pm, it revs up again with
parents -- mainly mothers -- dropping in for a
coffee and a chat, youngsters in tow.
That s just the weekdays. The weekends, when
it s open from 8am till 4pm, are even busier.
New Zealand may be only just wriggling clear of
a recession, but you d never know it at Caffe Mode.
Three of us dropped in for breakfast this week
and were amazed by the turnover of diners.
The chairs and tables are a bit rickety and I
don t find the place particularly comfortable.
It does have two legs of the restaurateur s three-
legged stool well covered, though. The food and
coffee are top-class (the Vegemite pinwheels are a
specialty), to judge by the non-stop line of people
waiting to be served.
And the service is invariably excellent --
pleasant and prompt.
We had a variety of breakfasts -- the ubiquitous
Big Breakfast (which cost $20 and was most
impressive), eggs benedict ($16) and toast and jam
($5.50). We were impressed to be offered four
versions of eggs benedict. All sounded tasty.
Surprisingly, the flat white coffee was judged to
be way too bitter, though there was no complaint
about the latte and I enjoyed my fruit tea.
Zea Taing and Richard Rawlings took over Caffe
Mode eight years ago and have done well to
maintain its popularity.
From what I can see, the main reason is the
They have streams of regular customers and
know them so well that they are already making
their coffee as they walk in the door. Sometimes
they see regulars pull up in a car outside and get
the coffee started.
The day I went the three outside tables were in
heavy demand because they were bathed in sun.
Sometimes they can be cold and there is a jostle
for inside tables.
The pick of them is by the bay window,
overlooking Kelburn and Northland.
You get a feeling of familiarity when you re at
Caffe Mode. If you didn t know the person at the
next table when you started, you soon will because
there s precious little room between tables.
The kitchen is downstairs and food is constantly
brought up the staircase in the middle of the din-
ing room. It adds to the busy, bustling feeling.
The clientele ranges from parents of schoolchild-
ren, to Victoria University students, to some well-
to-do types. Perhaps that s Caffe Mode s charm --
it has something for everyone.
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