I'm a freelance creative from NZ and living in South Australia. Check out my photography work on my website: https://kopiecreative.squarespace.com
and my personal writing at: https://seaskyandsunlight.wordpress.com/
Available for commissions!
Published June 4th 2016
It may not look like much from the outside, and if you didn't know it was there you'd walk straight by, but past a rather plain entrance is a bustling cafe which is extremely popular with the locals and so successful that the owners recently purchased a second location, The Narrows Landing in Tamahere. But this is a review of Two Birds Eatery located in Hamilton East.
It had just gone 1pm as we walked through the nondescript doorway to find the cafe bursting with customers. It has a modern dark grey colour scheme which is accented by lovely wooden furniture and lots of lush green plants dotted around. There is plenty of seating and lots of room to move, despite all the customers. There was not much fare left in the cabinets, it seems we'd gotten there after the rush, but we still had a varied menu to choose from. From bagels to beans, breakfast plates to bowls packed with nutrition, kombucha to coconut water, sides, smoothies and, of course, coffee.
A lush corner of the courtyard
I opted for the Nourish bowl ($16.50), which is Vegan and sounded so full of goodness, a raw snickers slice ($8.50) and a soy flat white. The snickers slice was served with a dollop of coconut yoghurt and I thought it not too expensive for the size of it, seeing as I'd paid more for smaller sweets in Australia (you have to think of the ingredient costs and labour that goes into these raw treats). It had a lovely creamy texture and just enough crunch on the base. To me, it didn't taste like a snickers so much as a peanut butter cup, still delicious though! I think some nice crunchy peanut pieces and perhaps a drizzle of date caramel would make this sweet perfect.
The raw Snickers Slice
Coffee in the sunshine
Our coffees were nice and hot with, technically, a bit too much froth on top to be flat whites, but we're not coffee snobs. The coffee blend was smooth and not too strong, a nice cuppa! I found the ambient music is pleasant enough, a tad loud but it drowns out the conversations of other customers.
There was a slight wait between coffees and meals but they had a full house and we were quite happy to talk amongst ourselves. We sat in the outdoor courtyard to try and catch some rays of warmth and did some people watching. The clientele is diverse, a range of ages, and it seems they have something for everyone on the menu. Meat eaters can indulge in salmon bagels, bacon and eggs, a spicy lamb flatbread or a protein bowl with chicken, I imagine there would be other options in the cabinet too. There's a nice range of sweet and savory dishes to choose from, they even have a healthy and yummy sounding kids menu. No chicken nuggets here! Darn right too, it's about time cafes served healthy, interesting and scrumptious food for our little ones, educate them young and they will thank you later.
The Nourish bowl, Kumara chips and Savory Muffin
Lunch arrives and it looks good. The savory muffin ($4.50) my friend ordered is served with butter & a relish and has been heated, a puff of steam escapes as she cuts it open and it smells delicious. My friend reports that it is nice and moist, has a good amount of spinach but could do with more feta and that it tastes natural - "I taste what I see" - nothing unnecessary in there. The kumara chips ($9) are served in a wooden bowl, they look hand cut and are nice and crunchy on the outside & sweet and fluffy on the inside. My Nourish bowl has a nice variation of vegetables and textures, but the sauces are definitely the stars of this dish - pesto & a creamy sesame dressing bind the ingredients together nicely. There are strong cinnamon notes on the roasted pumpkin which I find a bit much (perhaps some smokey paprika would be better?) and I add a bit of salt, but ultimately I enjoyed my lunch very much. It left me feeling satisfied, healthy and nourished. I would have liked to see some grain in the bowl, maybe brown rice or quinoa, to give more texture and to make the price seem more worth it. Although it has inspired me to make my own bowls of nourishment!
The sun has moved while we got lost in our food and conversation, the shadows are getting longer, it's time to go. It seems like they had a successful Saturday lunchtime trade with many people coming and going, I'm glad so many people are enjoying such healthy food. Two Birds cater for every dietary requirement be it vegan, vego, gluten free, or refined sugar free and are happy to do their best for their customers. This cafe is a step in the right direction.