The lovely man and I took a Sunday jaunt with some of our equally lovely friends across the Nippon Clip-ons (for those who are unaware of the swingin’ 60’s nickname for the Auckland Harbour Bridge additions) to visit a room filled with cakes and sweet sweet wonderment.
Feel free to drool a bit…
Little & Friday is located in the middle of a suburban street in what looks like an old dairy/superette/corner store. The owners seem to have come across a slightly out of place block of shops and gone ‘Yep, this is as good as any place!’ but then somehow made it work for them.
The interior has the feeling of a New Zealand-on-a-budget version of Ottolenghi on Upper Street in Angel, London. They have the GORGEOUS cakes displayed on the main counter, decorative meringues in tall jars and packaged treats available for take-away happiness (or just once you get back to the car and can’t wait any longer, rip open the packaging and gorge yourself silly until you feel happy, sugary and perhaps a little sick. Being a grown up is the best!)
We arrived at the peak hour, Sunday about lunch-time so it was heaving. Our merry band retired to the sunny kitchen garden and took up position at a yellow metal barrel which sort of made a table. I sat on a concrete toadstool which made my inner child very happy indeed.
There is a plenty of space out the back to seat more people/proper tables but for some reason they haven’t gone for more than a couple with a few stools floating about. This is very likely for a good reason, such as we are so flippin’ busy as it is that more tables would just be madness and we may very well slip over the edge into all out food related post-apocalyptic war where everyone was expected to just rampage and scavenge whatever they can and cluster around that one guy who can make the good coffee so we don’t all starve/get caffeine withdrawal headaches. I’m more a fan of the civilized option so I respect their lack of back garden tables.
The bathrooms are out the back of the cafe looking out to the kitchen garden heaving with veges, herbs and spring-time. The loos are seemingly unchanged from when the shop was built and have a decidedly outhouse feel. They are part of the main building but without internal access, they are of the building but are not at one with the building.
I quite like a ramshackled feel when it comes to places like this, Unitec has that same history and warmth without pretension. Like a well loved beach-side toilet; solid and well used but utilitarian in design, a no nonsense Kiwi bloke vibe. I can hear a man wearing stubbies and working boots in my head saying “Well it’s only for takin’ a shit. What more do ya fuckin want?!”.
Little & Friday is New Zealand in essence; do the thing you are here for very well, make it clean and tidy and functional but not expensive or flashy. I love it. It’s why my father fell in love with this country as soon as we moved here from England.
So the logistics. There are two unisex toilets in closed stalls with louvered windows above. I love a solo stall, without the need to have other people standing around the sink area waiting for you to finish.
The teal door and the white door lead to very different toilets worlds.
The white is a basic plain bathroom with some fresh flowers and all the basic requirements (plenty of paper, hand wash, hand towels, bin etc) but without a design or style applied.
Behind the teal door is a whole other situation..
Black board painted walls, mirrors, flowers, and jars spices really give the place a nice feel. I love the idea of leaving your own message on the walls (I wrote my blog name obviously) for other to read and enjoy. Again taking me back to my childhood where the local playground was covered in childish scrawls, like a newspaper but for 10 year old’s, riddled with spelling errors, anatomically incorrect penis drawings and the word BOOBS.
Cleanliness: 8/10 As clean as you can be in an old building. I saw a staff memebr check the loos twice while we were there, happyface.
Interior: 8/10 Loved the effort on the teal-doored loo but don’t know why they didn’t do both?
Exterior: 8/10 Only issue being that if it is raining you may have to run from inside to the loo door.
Snugglitude: 9/10 I have a real soft spot for taking something old and a bit run down and putting effort and love into it rather than money. You don’t need a million dollar refurbish from the git-go, just a bit of thought and some finishing touches can give a very comforting though practical effect.
The Little & Friday toilet is a prime example that you don’t have to throw a bunch of money at something to make it a great facility for users. When you compare this bathroom with the loos at Smith n Caughey Queen Street, I would far prefer to use this one. S’n’C had all the money to build something flashy and pristine but they lacked the thought and heart, and they let it down on the cleanliness and personality front. This place is the exact opposite.