Joe's Garage

Sometimes the best cafe or restaurant formula is to keep it simple. And at Joe's Garage, they do.

With maybe 21 blackboard menu items in the area of fantastic little (to LARGE) breakfasts, salads and Joe's Sticks (Baguettes filled with an array of tasty combinations), juices and coffee, Joe's menu is no mystery. Nor is the preparation. Everything is done behind a standard diner style counter with front row seating, if that is your thing.. or you can order and retreat to the back patio overlooking a little river and the stone bridge in Queenstown.

I prefer front row, mainly because I am solo and do not wish to take up space that could be enjoyed by the couple chasing around the cute little guy in the orange jumper. Also, it gives a first look at the prep area. When I can, I do. It is clean. And organized. Has to be, it is 8am in a small space with 5-6 people doing a well choreographed routine to get the "sweetie" (egg and bacon on a bun) and the piklets and cream out to a stream of hungry diners, replace dishes, and fill the endless number of take away coffee orders.

Did I say service was fast? There are no numbers to take to your table here. I reckon that by the time you did your food would be there anyhow. I got some juice and figured I'd be getting another by the time my "sweetie" arrived. How wrong I was, I barely got the lid off.

And coffee. Joe's carries coffee from Cafe L'Affare (Wellington) and even though my latte turned up looking suspiciously like a cappuccino.. ah well. It tasted great. The place to go for a fix the morning after the night before, coffee rescue indeed. I have issues with coffee, as per previous post, but can enjoy Caffe L'Affare because they sponser Coffee Kids, a non-profit organization whose projects provide alternative employment options in impoverished coffee growing regions.

My "sweetie" was great. Not greasy, I mean it IS bacon and egg, but hadn't taken a swim in cooking oil. The bun it was served on was also good. I have had hit and miss with bread in similar cafes but this was crisped up nicely with an appealing slightly cracked outer crust and a not too light interior. Served with a chutney and herbed mayo on the side (yay!!) I could decide if I liked the accompaniments before slathering them on my sweetie.

Place: Joe's Garage
Address: Between a Rock and a Hard Place, Camp Street, Queenstown
Opinion: Fills the gap, albeit with the familiar, which in the morning.. is just what I was after. Great coffee and FAST!


Barbara said…
I get so cross when my flat white arrives as a capaccino and all that air!.
Mary said…
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Mary said…
I know. I hate to say, but is my only one *gasp* complaint about NZ cafes in general. For every good cafe that I have been to with lovely espresso and great service.. there is another where I have to ask for a explanation of all the jargon on the blackboard just to make sure I get what I think I am ordering. The coffee lingo can differ from place to place.
I usually end up happy so it's worth the extra effort and funny looks. I just thought an espresso was an espresso. Which it is, except for when it isn't.
If you are a coffee lover, then a Bialetti Brikka, although expensive, is a fantastic gift to self. If not familiar with Bialetti, they are those little Italian stovetop caffettiere (espresso makers), only this particular model has a special spout that forms the crema (the light brown coffee "cream" swirl) on the top of a good espresso. The only reason I can face mornings! And with heated milk, the best flat white ever. Perfect for the lazy sunny Saturdays after the market or a special breakfast.
But then, I am an addict, my caffettiera even goes tramping.
It took a year of mediocre flat whites before I discovered that my ideal coffee was a long black with milk on the side. I just got fed up with mouthfuls of froth and little or no caffine!

Mary - I've just posted some brief thoughts on cafés in NZ and Ireland

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