Tauranga is a place, that is for sure. What kind of place, well perhaps you should judge that for yourself.
We pop down to the sunny Bay of Plenty every few months as my Mum and my boyfriend’s Mum both live in the retirement capital of the North Island. Sadly for them, neither are retried as their useless children have yet to make it big and pay for them to live in the lap of luxury. Sorry Mum.
I lived in Tauranga for nearly 2 years when I first came back from London. I wanted to spend some quality time with my Mum and to study towards my Masters, in the most late-20’s able way possible, by hoping my Mummy would pick up my short fall.
I made some wonderful life-long friends (well I hope they are but they may very well hate me by now for selling out and moving to Auckland) while I was there and started my journey towards professional Librarianism. But, in spite of the prettiness and a fuckin’ kick-ass Saturday morning Farmer Market, Tauranga is a pretty boring place. Living there would be fine as long as you got to escape to somewhere with some culture every now and then. The over-whelming whiteness of the place makes it a bit hard to be someone who loves history, sociology and anthropology from all the world’s many varied cultures.
On the morning of said kick ass Farmer Market, we completed our requisite aquisitions and moved on to more highly caffeinated pastures.
Me & You won the toss, as it’s a new cafe and close enough to the market on the edges of the CBD. You can see from the interior what look they were going for, kind of a central Auckland, hipster, chalkboards and industrial seating vibe. I know it sounds like I’m slagging it off but honestly I liked the design of the place. It’s a nice combo of Kingsland and K’Rd styles, but with any genuine looking rough edges filed off. The owners had planned the style down to the millimetre, probably armed with a handful of vintage builder’s pencils, an iPad and an obsessive Pinterest selection.
I would have taken more photos of the interior, but when we went up to order out food/drinks, the too-cool dude behind the counter, with his high’n’tight Hitler Youth hair do and deep V sneered at me so much I felt instantly uncomfortable, so I hid outside behind a covering of kindly lady relative and their beaming smiles. I’m not sure where he thinks he is working, or if a knock to the head has caused him to believe that he lives in Brick Lane, East London rather than retiree paradise. If so I can suggest some nice therapists, bro.
The food was unexceptional and the coffee wasn’t wonderful so I was hoping for a toilet win but I left disappointed. When I asked where the bathroom was I heard the words any agoraphobic dreads; “you have to go through the kitchen….” *shudder*. The kitchen is filled with people, people working, douchey people working. I don’t like it even when it’s at a cheap noodle place let alone in an “upmarket” cafe.
At least, I thought, the back area will be a sweet oasis of modest industrial charm akin to the interior. Again, no.
In a customer service situation you should never have to see ‘behind the scenes’ and this wasn’t just behind but right inside the workings of the scenes, builders bum-crack, smoking fags and sweaty stage hands and all. Maybe if you know customers are going to be in this area don’t leave ever box, crate and containers out for people to see and for sure don’t leave the door to your external food store hanging wide open. Not cool guys.
Inside the bathroom there had been a small amount of effort made. It had a cute mirror held up by a bit of rope which went with the interior of the cafe but otherwise once the door was shut, I could have been in the loo on any building site or abandonded mini golf course.
Cleanliness : 8/10 It looked pretty clean and new on the inside of the stall but the back door area was covered is detritus crap.
Interior : 6/10 It was ok inside. Plenty of loo roll, full walls etc.
Exterior : 1/10 One loo for everyone means if you need time you won’t get it. Walking through the kitchen is hands down the worst and the set up in the back area was less than calming in any way at all.
Safety : 4/10 Tauranga on the whole is pretty harmless but if looks could kill the dude serving us at the counter would be Jeffrey Dahmer.
Snugglitude : 1/10 I was surrounded by loving, Mum-filled company, which made it nice, but everything the cafe offered was either ‘meh’ or crap.
Total : 20/50