This Tuam Street establishment is home to high strength coffee and high quality service. Words: Kate Preece Photography: Charlie Jackson
Post-quake Christchurch has forced a new type of eatery to take centre stage in our culinary landscape. We’ve learnt to cross town for a good coffee and to align with local businesses that provide what we want – a warm, welcoming environment that offers style, service, and some sort of connection. Open since June 2016, Magnitude Café and Roastery delivers on all counts.
With a décor of warm wood and colour accents via on-trend lighting fixtures and Scandi chairs, it is the coffee-roasting machine that will make its mark as you enter. Each week, in the early hours, the monster roars into life, creating a range of blends to be sold as beans or ground coffee. The house blend served by the café is ‘French’, a dark roast described as having a full, strong flavour and a punch of medium citrus acidity. I was eager to sample the goods.
Upon ordering, I was pleasantly surprised to be asked when we would like our cappuccino and half-strength latte to arrive: “Straight away, or with breakfast?” A question often missed, yet so appreciated.
To eat it was Eggs Florentine ($14.50) that won me over, especially with its choice of rosti: kumara; potato and herb; or mozzarella and bacon. Upon recommendation, I opted for the latter, while my partner-in-dining-crime was encouraged to choose waffles, with berries and yoghurt ($12.50).
Our fellow café-mates were treated equally as well. Regular patrons were recognised not only by name, but by cabinet food or protein shake order. (I’m told they’re just as friendly towards children, with the highchairs, kids’ table and colouring supplies backing this up.)
I believe you don’t know what you’re missing until you are served a decent cup of coffee. Like a good glass of wine, I was able to sip and enjoy every mouthful of mine. My tablemate was much the same, appreciative of her single-shot drink still delivering that pick-me-up punch. It’s encouraging to be told another grinder will soon grace the café counter, as I would be keen to try others in the seven-strong coffee range produced on site.
The waffles hit the spot and the eggs were on the money. Jealous glances from beside me were confirmed when my dining date said, “I’d come back just to try the rosti!” Portion size was just right, too.
There are plugs under the tables for laptops, large tables to accommodate meetings, and free fluffies for the next generation of coffee lovers. You can host an event here after hours or simply drop in to buy a bag of coffee. The cabinet is ever-evolving and even the breakfast menu is incredibly customisable. For once, it’s all about you.
With a logo that incorporates the Christchurch skyline, a faultline and a coffee bean, perhaps it isn’t surprising this café resonates so well with a Cantab looking for more than just incredibly good coffee.
Magnitude Cafe and Roastery: Unit 2/314 Tuam Street, 03 366 3051, Open Monday to Friday, 7 am-4 pm