I recently had a jolt, a reminder that I have developed a prejudice against big name brands and food franchises that may not be entirely fair and is in need of some adjustment.
Nearly a year ago I had driven my mother the 2hrs plus to Greymouth Hospital for some checks, it was 3.30pmish by the time it was all done and the hospital cafeteria was either closed or out of food (I don’t recall which). In any case that was a godsend in a sense, as consistent with railway stations, airports and ferry terminals the selection is meagre and not particularly inspirational. Equally risky, in a strange town is bowling into a cafe that you know nothing about. It can be a wow experience or an ooh bugger won’t do that again experience (fitting for a Hilux ad.), especially in a town where the bulk of customers are likely to be tourists who will never be back. With a barely mobile senior citizen, you have to think about access, seating, food that won’t be weird.
Then, there it was on a corner, a chain cafe, not Starbucks, not McCafe but ‘Robert Harris’ the brand of ground coffee I never buy but I knew the fair would be fair. They were getting ready to close but if we didn’t mind picking from what was left in the cabinet and sitting in the side room, we were welcome. A long black (good too), a pot of tea, a couple of satisfying savoury items later and we were refreshed. With a cheery farewell from Linda we were off on the long wind back up the coast.
Roll around to last week and it was a repeat performance this time with my father along for the ride, cleared the hospital a little earlier and straight out to Mackey Street for a safe bet. Linda, again behind the counter, and Hannah served us with patience and helpful suggestions. The pie cabinet was bare but there was a host of other savoury items to choose from. Tea for two and an Americano – LARGE, calzone, sandwiches, spinach and something muffin, apple shortcake, blueberry thing, pineapple slice. “Butter for the muffin?..what about plum sauce? … it’s delicious”.
I was surprised by the range of food choices and happy to find that food and drinks were well above what I’d consider average, what’s more, when you’ve had a difficult day and it aint over yet, it’s a real boost to have a complete stranger treat you as a person. So if you’re looking to recharge inGreymouth, if you’re lucky, you might do better but I can guarantee you can definitely do worse than the Robert Harris Coffee Roasters, Mackey St. Thanks Linda and Hannah you gave us a boost when we needed it most.
Disclaimer: I’m not a food critic and receive no benefit from this post.
PS if you just want a pie or roll and a bun to eat on the run the bakery, beside the Mobil Garage on the road south, is almost as good as it was when I lived on the Mad Mile years ago.
PPS And I did ‘enjoy the journey’ just no time to stop and take photos to prove it except these.