The brother sister duo are putting a taste of the islands back into Ponsonby
Living in a city full of bars, restaurants and eateries, you could say we’re pretty lucky. Even luckier when one such venture promises to deliver some tasty fare with an injection of Polynesian culture. Here to take Ponsonby back to its roots is new opening Lei Cafe.
Perched beside an office building lobby near the Ponsonby Road end of Williamson Ave, the eatery is owned by brother sister duo Saione Greer and Natasha Finau. The labour of love has seen the large concrete interior transform into a colourful, light-filled cafe. With a high stud, vintage chairs and wooden tables that are seamlessly balanced against the fuschia pink booth seating running the width of the eatery, it’s spacious and inviting at the same time. A floral mural by Flox covers one wall, while a lei covers the other. A special part of Polynesian culture, presenting someone with a lei is a way to greet them, welcome them with open arms, which is exactly what the duo aim to do. For Finau, it also represents a lost loved one, something she wanted to incorporate in the creation of the cafe.
We were warmly invited to indulge in the ‘Poly-French toast’, a hearty serving of brioche bread, bacon, creamy mascarpone, raspberry coulis and crushed walnuts. We only wish we hadn’t eaten lunch prior — it was divine. There’s a full breakfast and lunch menu, hot cups of Allpress coffee, a cabinet brimming with bacon and egg baps and wraps, salads, brownies, slices and other sweet treats.
So if it’s a series of new flavours you’re hankering for, or perhaps you’re an adventurous denizen of the Ponsonby-Grey Lynn area, Lei is worth checking out — even if just for a coffee and a chat with the friendly team.
Monday – Saturday: 7am – 3pm
4 Williamson Ave
(09) 217 4052