My last road trip for the summer took me to Taupo, about two and half hours from Whakatane via Rotorua. The weather was incredible, and I wish I had brought my togs because the water would have been a great escape from the searing sun.
My friend Steph moved to Taupo in November, and it was good to catch up with her. She has been part of this journey from the beginning and it was good to discuss the future over lunch.
Taupo is crazy busy in the summer tourist season. I don’t know if it’s the lack of parking in the CBD or just the sheer amount of extra cars, but we couldn’t find a park for thirty minutes. We settled on a cafe just outside of the CBD called Spoon and Paddle, and it’s quite the hidden gem of Taupo.
RONNAEATS SAYS HOLLA TO:
Spoon and Paddle, 101 Heuheu St, Taupo. Phone: 07 378 9664
As we walked up the ramp, I could already tell Spoon and Paddle had a soulful character. Outdoor seating came with blankets, which made sense with the crisp sunshine. The interior had a modern-rustic decor, both functional and homely. The busy brunch service was already well underway, and there was a mix of young families and travellers passing through. Taupo had always been a pitstop for our family trips when we were young, though I have a feeling the locals keeps this place busy over the quieter winter months.
I ordered the souvlaki falafel, the same as Steph. We sat near the window, a nice compromise between the warmth of the cafe and enjoying the sunshine.
The souvlaki was simply presented, yet the magic is when you unwrap the pita bread. Sure I could have eaten it wrapped, but I also eat with my eyes and it didn’t disappoint. The hero of the dish had to be the falafel, which suprisingly had peas. The outside was crispy, and as you bite into the chickpea morsel, you are greeted with the familiar garlic, cumin and coriander.
A special mention also to the great service - the staff were friendly and even though they were busy, the food came out in good time. I also met one of the owners who came to talk to Steph and you can see that he loves what he does, and it shows in the food and atmosphere.
RonnaEats: 4 Spoons