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The Melting Pot

This is an imported/archive post.

The Melting Pot is a little café in Takapuna that has always been popular with the locals and its many loyal patrons. The decor is unpretentious, the ambience relaxed, and young people enjoy going there for that reason. It’s probably one of the less upmarket of the establishments on Hurstmere Rd but come brunch time on the weekend, still enjoys that lazy kiwi summer atmosphere of the beach-adjacent street.

That, at least, is the Melting Pot I remember from 8 or 9 years ago. What I experienced last night was quite different.

The Melting Pot, Takapuna

The Melting Pot, Takapuna

When I went to high school on the North Shore, my friends and I would sometimes come here on a Saturday or Sunday morning, a little hung over, perhaps. We’d order a coffee, maybe a seafood chowder or “Thai” curry. You see, before Fusion became popular they already offered a mixed cuisine menu – dishes from all around the world. Hence the name.

Yesterday, we were “in the neighbourhood” and after checking out the beach, on the hunt for some coffee and a bite to eat. A bit of nostalgia and a lack of other casual options brought me to the Melting Pot. I remember thinking how unimpressive it looked. It was a nice, clear evening and some of the bars and restaurants further down the road were packed with people having a drink after work. Here, there were just a few tables, one of middle-aged Shore ladies with tiny dogs. (What is it with Takapuna and miniature dogs? The beach was full of them!)

The menu had as respectably varied a selection as I remembered – and the Thai green curry and the Nasi Goreng were still there. I wasn’t too hungry so I ordered an entrée – haloumi, zucchini and basil polenta fritters – which I was told would suit one person for a small meal. After confirming that they made their iced coffees with real espresso I ordered one of those too. At $14.50 and $5 respectively, these are pretty standard café prices I wouldn’t think twice about as long as the quality was decent.

Jamaican Jerk Chicken with bacon, guacamole, tomato, mango, coconut chutney & salad served between a toasted focaccia bun with a side of fries & aioli

Jamaican Jerk Chicken with bacon, guacamole, tomato, mango, coconut chutney & salad served between a toasted focaccia bun with a side of fries & aioli

Unfortunately, what I ordered did not even arrive at first. The person taking the order had written down unclearly something starting with “H” (for haloumi) and the chef had mis read this as “Hawaiian” and made me a hawaiian pizza. They apologised for the mistake and fairly promptly brought me the correct order and a bowl of complimentary fries as compensation. It shouldn’t have happened in the first place. Look, I’m not as anal as some are about things like that – I accept from most places the odd mistake especially at busy times, but with as few guests as there were that night and the simple nature of the error, it seemed stupid and easily avoidable.

When they did arrive the fritters seemed a little dry and overcooked. Taste-wise they were good and had potential, but there were just five small fritters and the rest was salad – bad value for money considering the average quality. The pomegranate yoghurt was a tasty addition which I appreciated given the dryness of the fritters. The salad leaves were new and fresh but the dressing was really unremarkable.

Haloumi, zucchini & basil polenta fritters with mixed salad, pomegranate yoghurt & sumac

Haloumi, zucchini & basil polenta fritters with mixed salad, pomegranate yoghurt & sumac

Stuart ordered the Jamaican Jerk Chicken which was supposed to be served between toasted focaccia. To me it just looked like a normal burger bun. The dish looked kind of awful – the bun was blackened on the inside and the chicken was overcooked and somewhat burnt as well. I had a bite of the burger and it didn’t taste quite as bad as it looked – the chicken was spiced, although not as spicy as you’d except jerk chicken to be, and it was dry but there were decent tasting sauces to help with that. The bread tasted nothing like focaccia. The side of french fries (as well as the fries in the bowl they comp’d us) looked very dry or stale but were in fact just overly soaked in grease and were edible with the aoili, though far from good.

After coming home, I looked up their details on the internet and tried to find a website – there was none. Mistake, I think. I did find a few reviews that basically voiced how I felt – that the Melting Pot just isn’t like it used to be.

It was a somewhat disappointing night but I still didn’t regret the revisit for old times’ sake.

Address: 99 Hurstmere Rd, Takapuna, Auckland, New Zealand
Opening Hours: Daily: 8am-10pm
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