Bean Grinding Café

The weather is terrible in Auckland today, and I’m flat out with some university work, so my husband took the kids for a swim at a local pool, and then I met them at one of the kids’ favourite cafés: Bean Grinding Café. They call it ‘Armabillo’ (to differentiate it from Armadillo Café across the road – another favourite). A big drawcard at Bean Grinding Café is the fish tank inside, but we’ve also found that the coffee and cabinet food is reliably good, so I thought it was time for a…

Kiwi Café Kids Mini Review

Bean Grinding Café doesn’t seem to have a dedicated website or Facebook page, but you can find its feed on Instagram. The café itself in is Rothesay Bay on Auckland’s North Shore, in the very fancy 585 Rothesay Bay apartment complex.

It’s bright and spacious inside Bean Grinding Café, but today we sat in the communal space provided as part of the building’s atrium – the café has its own dedicated tables out there. This is a huge and fairly empty space, with access to a spray tan shop, a hair salon, a health food kiosk, and a pilates studio, and a large commercial premises that hasn’t yet been filled – in other words, it’s a great place for small children to have a wander around while they wait for their drinks to arrive:

The bathrooms that serve the entire ground floor are located nearby, and include baby changing facilities in the unisex disabled loo. I also saw one high chair inside the café.

We ordered drinks for everybody. Hattie’s ‘warm chocolate’ was a perfect temperature and came with two marshmallows, one of which she sacrificed to her brother. There wasn’t a specific children’s hot chocolate on the drinks menu – this was a small hot chocolate, for $4. For some reason it was served in a takeaway cup, which is a) a bit wasteful, environmentally, and b) not always ideal with small children – those cups can tip over easily. But Hattie was very careful, as befits an almost-five year old soon-to-be school kid.

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Joe’s not much of a warm chocolate drinker, so he opted for a blueberry and banana smoothie, for $7, and a cheese scone for morning tea (he seems to be in the middle of a six-month-long growth spurt). Both were delicious (I sampled them for investigative journalism purposes).

Hattie followed up her warm chocolate with a chocolate brownie for morning tea, because – apparently – there’s no such thing as too much chocolate. She said it was delicious, even though she couldn’t finish it. Here’s her official wink of approval:

The grownups had smoothies, a flat white, and a chai latte (that was mine, and it was nice, and not too spicy).

Bean Grinding Café offers a brief children’s menu, although we’ve never had hot food here and can’t personally vouch for it. I’m happy to see a cheese toastie there, though – that tends to be a reliable choice for little kids. A pancake option would also be nice, as most kids love pancakes.

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The Kiwi Café Kids Verdict

Bean Grinding Café is a reliable place for good drinks and cabinet food, and I’m sure we’ll sample the menu food one day as well. The staff are welcoming, and the whole place is lovely and new. There’s no entertainment on offer for the kids, but the fish tank inside is a big source of fascination for our two.

The real bonus is that atrium space, though – how perfect for antenatal groups with a lot of buggies to park, or for parents with restless toddlers who don’t want to sit still while their parents sip coffee. The easy access to changing facilities in the nearby bathrooms is a big additional bonus. It might not always be appropriate for children to place in the atrium as the site slowly gets busier (we wouldn’t have let our two climb on those seats if anybody else had been there to be bothered by it), so this could be a good one to check out while it’s still reasonably quiet.

Bean Grinding Café could be even more child-friendly by:

  • Offering a children’s warm chocolate or fluffy, at a slightly lower price (more in keeping with the very reasonably priced children’s menu items);
  • Serving children’s hot drinks in proper cups;
  • Adding a pancake-related option to the children’s menu; and
  • Providing a few children’s books or toys, to entertain younger visitors.