Dear Jervois and Little King has already won the hearts of many cafe goers and David Lee has once again set the bar for Auckland cafe culture with his third cafe, Major Sprout. It has been on my hit list for a while now, the combination of healthy options (think quinoa, super food smoothies) presented with delicate and precise plating.
Once there, the fit out of the cafe is equally stunning, a slick and luminous space flooded with light. Both relaxing and sophisticated in equal measure.
I couldn’t resist the comforting pull of the gnocchi on the menu, served with pickled oyster mushrooms, pan-fried mushrooms, truffled potato gnocchi with a 62° hen’s egg. Slow-cooked to a more runny and silken texture than the humble poached egg, it came delicately wobbling on the plate to our giddy delight. Each indulging mouthful was a slow chew to savour the truffled flavour of the gnocchi.
Bibimbap has always been my favourite at Korean restaurants, especially the variation of the dish, dolsot bibimbap, where the rice is served in a hot stone bowl. The bottom of the bowl is coated with sesame oil so the layer of the rice touching the hot bowl is sizzled to a crisp golden brown layer. Top that with chilli paste and a raw egg cracked on top, it’s an ultimate winter comfort food. Major Sprout’s healthy rendition of the bibimbap is comprised of quinoa rice, tofu crumble, 62° hen egg, sautéed vegetables and chilli-jam and kimchi. It is served at room temperature and in my opinion lacks the kick and flavour of the traditional bibimbap. Perhaps a little more chilli jam and a stronger kick in the kimchi would bring it home.If going for lunch, another recommendation is the sous vide chicken. Beautifully moist, it is served with broccolini, smoked almonds, herb salsa and tarragon oil. As with other dishes on the lunch menu, eat slowly to savour the taste and make sure your brain has enough time to tell the stomach it is full. Bigger eaters should consider adding extras to it.
Major Sprout lives up to its name and is no doubt a popular spot for those who call Auckland CBD their hood. From my experience, it deserves a dedicated trip for those brunch/cafe lovers too. It’s a marriage of old and new, traditional and modern. Thank you David Lee for giving Auckland such a name for its cafes.
Ph: 09 307 7172
21 Graham Street