Dune café, in the heart of Papamoa.

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name, and this gorgeous garden café could be just the place. 

WORDS JENNY RUDD / PHOTOS KATIE COX + KRISTY BALLARD 

Dune really is a locals’ café. When we visit the baristas say hello to everyone and carry on conversations with customers from the day before. Bay artist Heidi Borchardt is in the garden tending the veges and herbs used by the kitchen staff. Given you can watch them growing from your seat, I can’t think of a fresher dining experience.

The Papamoa café’s blond wood tables and white wire and timber seats with peach velvet cushions really allow the light to bounce around. Nooks and crannies create pockets of privacy here, there and everywhere, yet the café feels open, spacious and warm, thanks to the doors connecting to the courtyard and the transparent screens that can be rolled down to shelter the outdoor seating when the sunny garden starts to cool.

My tartine with curried cauliflower and fresh coriander was a fine advertisement for the garden, and the full breakfast of sausages, eggs and all the trimmings looked like a commitment I could make every day. Our bright smoothies in tall glasses echoed the sweet peas in the flower boxes, and the coffee’s good too. Every box gets a tick here.

Our waiter tells us there are plans for jazz bands and fruity cocktails on summer evenings. There’s an apricot and chilli daiquiri on the autumn menu that’sa piquant accompaniment to lunch, and the virgin pineapple and mint sour sounds just as delicious. 

Dune serves breakfast and lunch daily from 8am till 3pm at 20 Domain Road, and can be booked for evening functions. 
Fb: DUNEGARDEN