Heaven is a hole in the wall
Day 9 of our summer holiday in the Auckland suburb of Devonport dawns and our situation is desperate. We’re down to the last of our tea and last night I discovered the dairy at the end of the road doesn’t sell bread.
For a couple of hours I try to ignore the lack of breakfast by lying on the couch and reading, but action can be postponed for only so long. While my beloved and his wee friend Billie sleep, and fortified with the last of the tea and two wine biscuits, I set out with Jess for the bakery Google says is an 11 minute walk away.
It’s a long 11 minutes. Jess stops often to investigate smells or collect pats and I take a couple of wrong turnings. At one point we stop for a rest on a delightful mosaic couch. Eventually, as we walk down Devon Lane, Google Lady tells us we have arrived at our destination.
But we haven’t. The row of shops includes a Post Office, a real estate agent and a cafe, but no bread. An elderly black spaniel-poodle stops to talks to Jess, and his walker tells me that my choices are either the bread from the supermarket across the car park (“it’s not too bad”), or to drive about half a mile up Lake Road to Belmont where there is a very good bakery.
“Or you could keep going around this corner and try the little hole-in-the-wall place, if it’s open”, he says.
We take option 3, and that’s how, just in time for me to be restored to health with a cup of tea and a sugar doughnut, we discover the baked@devonport bakery.
My marks out of 10
Cup 2: Paper, doubled up. At least it’s not Acme.
Tea 6: Dilmah English breakfast bag. Made and served in the cup. Possibly a higher mark than it might have got if this tea wasn’t saving my life. And if you’re going to make tea this way, Dilmah isn’t a bad option. Extra point for charging only $3.
Setting 7: In an earlier life, I spent a lot of time in this street, drinking coffee (it was during the phase when I didn’t drink tea out for fear of poor quality) in the cafe across the road. In those days, the food at the Devonport Stone Oven Bakery & Cafe was great, the company cheerful and I always left with my arms loaded with delicious breads. So it was high on the list of must-visits for this trip. But two days’ earlier we’d poked our noses in and walked out again. It felt different, and there was no sign of bread. It turns out that the person who owned the Stone Oven back in my day now owns and operates baked@devonport.
Baked is not a cafe, and is so small that we didn’t notice it on our earlier visit to the street (in our defence, it was closed; today there are so many people coming in and out that it’s hard to miss). Recently, though, they’ve installed a coffee machine, bought some tea bags (though obviously it would be better if they got some teapots and loose-leaf tea) and put some seats out on the footpath. And it’s next to an excellent fruit shop selling South Island apricots.
Dog-friendly? No water bowl, but lots of posts to tie Jess to when I go inside. She gathers a circle of admirers while I’m gone.
Open after 3pm? Yes.
*This piece was written in January 2019. For reasons I can’t now remember, it wasn’t posted at the time.
baked@devonport, 12c Clarence St, Devonport, Auckland