I was tipped off about the modern interactive lunch experience at the in-house restaurant of the Langham in Auckland's Grafton precinct, especially its ala carte offerings. Due to time scheduling and logistics one weekend, we could only try breakfast - but I was sufficiently impressed.
Omelette met my expectations, although the lady making this was not chatty and reserved towards customers. My benchmark for breakfast omelettes are those made in Vietnam, fluffy, delightful, with many ingredients and full of flavour. There is a usual queue to the omelette making place but i did not notice this on that Saturday morning.
Dried fruits, cheese and other nibbles; waffles and pancakes; and the several choices of fresh morning juices made me happy. The croissants and breads came from a good baker in practice, for I loved their brown colours and crispy textures. Presentation was paramount; at times I thought i was at a corner of a village bakery, at others at a garden party's spread.
Oh yes, there were pork and chicken sausages, hash browns, baked beans and other reminders of a New Zealand breakfast from not too long ago. Add to this the variety of colourful and varied fruit cuts and slices that only a successful agricultural nation can bring - peaches, plums, Kiwis and more.
The variety of muesli and breakfast cereal at the Eight astounded me. What caught my eye most were the NZ produce and brands which I do not normally see in Australia. And the accompanying milk, what a treat! I especially treasured the Bircher muesli - that Swiss concoction that combines currants, chopped dried apricots, rolled oats, grated apple with skins on, seasonal berries, chopped crispy almonds before garnishing with fresh orange or apple juice,ground nutmeg and ground cinnamon.
Most of the staff attending to our table were alert and responsive, but one did forget to bring a tea blend requested, as opposed to the rest of us having the ubiquitous coffee. We did get good seating, a private corner removed from the main traffic going to and fro from the tables with the food spread. There was even soup, fried rice and what you may call brunch items as well - that is generous. What was missing if I may say so was sushi and sashimi, but hey this is still breakfast time. The staff cleared our plates diligently on a regular basis.
There are five hours every day available for guests to relax and partake in the offerings in the main hall, but outside in a kind of sunken lobby area, one can have ala carte breakfast but for shorter hours.
The ambiance at the Eight is just nice for a meal get together. There is no outdoor dining but think of smoked salmon, pickled offerings like "mops", ice cream available for breakky and platters of cheese and other dairy products.
And now for lunch and dinner!
The Langham Auckland is located at 83 Symonds Street, Grafton, Auckland.
Opening hours for the Eight Restaurant on the ground floor of the hotel are 6am to 11am every day for breakfast.
Contact +64 9 379 5132.