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Stylish New Mt Albert Café Transports You to Sunny Bach

Stylish New Mt Albert Café Transports You to Sunny Bach in the Middle of the City

the lodge café opens to excitement from locals and café-goers from across Auckland

AUCKLAND, Tuesday 6th September 2011 – Mt Albert locals have started flocking to the neighbourhood’s hottest new destination, the Lodge Café, on the corner of Carrington Road and Willcott Street, part of the stylish Mt Albert Lodge just up the road from the Mt Albert village.

“The café is also attracting visitors from across the city,” says Melba Group Limited’s Co-Director Jens Dalhoff, who with business partner Shawn Pope are the entrepreneurs behind the café. “It’s a real destination café in a beautiful setting – people are driving in especially to check it out.”

Shawn agrees. “When I walked in the first time it reminded me of a really funky batch you might invite your friends around to for a relaxing weekend brunch and catch-up – it’s got stunning city views, full sun, and all the windows open up to let in the breeze during the summer.”


the lodge wanted to create a comfortable, friendly, sophisticated but relaxed atmosphere for both locals and passers-by to experience. It’s a place where people can come and relax in the sun – for a business meeting, spending time with friends, or just doing some good rest and relaxation.

“There’s nothing like it in Mt Albert,” says Jens. “Our staff say that it’s been great talking to the locals who pop in – they’ve been so excited. This is a place they can come and bring their friends and their clients. Finally, they have a trendy café to enjoy in their own backyard. That’s something they’ve been longing for in Mt Albert.”


the lodge was designed by Jan Bernau of Bernau Architecture. “We made the cafe as large as possible on the land we had available,” he says. “That allowed us to create a courtyard and provide quality outdoor space. At the same time, we’ve used bench style seating in the middle of the room to divide up the space and create some intimacy. The cafe has a natural feel with dark stained timber on the floors and an open kitchen so you can see the chefs at work.”

Jan says that close attention was paid to acoustics in the design “We put in an acoustic treated ceiling, comprised of plywood with slots in it,” he says. “These slots create a higher surface, which means that the acoustics are much better. You can talk in there without an echo and without having to yell. That’s very important to me, because I’ve been to some places where you can hardly hear a word because it’s so loud.”

“Customers who have come in have commented on the café’s intelligent use of space and the warmth and comfort it provides,” says Shawn. “They love the fact that they have a beautiful 270 degree view – if it’s not the majestic pohutukawa that sits at the front of the lodge, it’s the beautiful cityscape that rolls out in front.”


The staff have instituted a relaxed table service environment where customers are seated and waited on. Head chef Tony Yu has worked in a variety of establishments in New Zealand and internationally.

“We’re starting to get a feel of what are people asking for,” says Tony. We’re figuring out which are dishes that really sell, because that gives us an insight into local palate. We really want to ‘Mt-Albertise’ the menu. Our goal is to have dishes that are unique to the area, so people from the outside want to come in and experience the lodge, but also get a real experience of Mt Albert.”

Popular items with the locals include the lodge omelette, a free range, three egg omelette with feta, mushroom, spinach, caramelised onions, pumpkin with a roasted capsicum relish and the cajun chicken sandwich, cajun chicken served on toasted pide (Turkish bread), with avocado, lettuce, bacon, mango chutney, yoghurt and a side of chunky chips.

the lodge café serves Melba Expresso’s New Zealand roasted Melba Blend; a South American blend based on three different types of beans. “We really work hard to make sure that the grind is right, that the extraction times are right, so that we serve nothing but the smoothest, most flavoursome coffee,” says Café Manager and Head Barista Sarah Middleton.

The café is located five minutes from the stadium and the train stops just outside. It can seat up to 70 people, but comfortably accommodates 100 standing. the lodge is open Monday to Sunday from 7am to 4pm

About Melba Group
Melba Group Ltd’s cafés are institutions with a mission to offer the best service in town, beautiful food and own special coffee blend. Melba Cafés are in Vulcan Lane, Takapuna, Ellerslie and Hardinge Street. The Melba Group also run the iconic Frolic Café in Epsom and Melba Espresso Bar in the Queen Street.

Melba Group tailors each café to appeal to the locals. The philosophy is ‘localised, not homogenised.’ That’s why Melba’s motto is ‘Meet you at Melba’. Each café has become the heart of its community.


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