Reviews for Calendula Cottage, Cafe & Gardens
by Andrew Forbes
3 months ago
We chose Calendula Cafe for our recent wedding. Gareth, Paul, Noleen, Lizzie and the whole team worked with us from the beginning of our planning (on a cold and wet wintery day!) to the warm and sunny spring day that we had for our wedding – but they did provide a ‘wet day Plan B’!
Everything was perfect; The catering, the service, the attention to detail and above all, having us always feel welcome, worked with our ideas, had some fantastic suggestions of their own and guided us with the whole process. On our wedding day itself, it was like spending the day in a good friend’s garden (that also had the benefit of a commercial kitchen and fantastic staff and excellent setting for photo’s!)
I can’t recommend the cafe enough if you’re thinking of a garden wedding. All of our guests were very impressed – and we were able to enjoy the best wedding ever.
With much thanks, Andrew and Chris
by Gareth Retallick
6 months ago
I think you should seriously consider taking down all advertising for your venue because the disguisting excuse for hospitality i experienced today shows you are not capable to do more than host a dinner party, we arrived at 12:30 thinking it was a beautiful day for lunch in the sun and what better place, the lady behind the counter informed me that there was a "little bit of a wait on food" which was fine as we had nothing to do for the afternoon, I was a little taken back by the utter mess on almost every single table, but coming from an 11 year background of managing hospitality venues in Auckland city I know I can be nit picky on things like that so i ignored it. We received our food at 2:00, literally an hour and a half wait, what made it worse was the fact it was a 45 minute wait just for the English Breakfast tea to arrive, as i sat there waiting for my food I watched in awe and disbelief at how terrible the systems you had in place were. There were none! there was no urgency in your staff, nobody clearing tables, nobody set on the coffee machine churning out coffees, im pressuming you had no 86 list as customers were constantly ordering carrot cake, sitting down and then being told 10 minutes later im sorry there is no carrot cake, I mean once is slightly understandable but 5 times with about 20 minutes in between each person, how do you forget that that many times? customers were being told there wasnt cutlery, thats just bad, no venue no matter how busy even if you dont have time to clean the dirty stuff should run out of cutlery, and if on the off chance you do, you dont tell the customer, you roll up your sleaves and scold your hands scrubbing a seat clean to take out with the food. When I finally decided to see how much of a wait we had left, I was informed it was just being plated and sorry its just really busy, well im sorry it wasnt! you had maybe 40 people in there where ive worked and managed my friend, 40 at lunch on a weekend is a walk in the park, and ive done it with less staff than you had on, Ive had a Maximum wait on food of 20 minutes during rugby world cup final, 300 pax, with one chef, 2 waitresses, a glassy and me, and we didnt have a single dirty table for more than 5 minutes, and didnt run out of a single thing so you really do have no excuse and if it was so busy why the hell was the cook, because i certainly do not consider him a chef out behind the counter taking orders half the time? so finally after a ten minute wait after being told it was just being plated up, our food arrived, a microwaved pizza, a burger that tasted like dog roll and cold, and your "Special of the day" squid and salad, that was literally frozen packed squid from gilmours, So again before advertising yourself everywhere, maybe you should go back to the basics and sort yourselves out, because all your doing right now is inviting people to come see how terrible you are which in the end will just bankrupt you. If you really dont just have a clue what your doing and how to make it work send me an email and ill be happy to tell you where to begin but im seriously never coming back and im going to tell everyone I know not to either unless they want to sit around feeling insulted.
by Brett Margison
7 months ago
This place has always been reasonably good with a lovely garden setting. But recently new owners have taken the business over and pushed this cafe to a whole new level of excellence. Great friendly service, off-the-planet coffee, homemade food which simply sublime, and the prettiest garden setting - what more could you ask for? I would recommend this as day-drive destination from Auckland. Ride the Glenbrook train which is just up the road and then hot foot it down to Calendula for memorable meal to top off your day. BTW - Try the "Plum Tart" - your taste buds will explode lol. Simply the most gorgeous dessert I have had in years and I eat out far more than is probably good for me - I know what I'm talking about. Enjoy!
by Anna Leask
9 months ago
New owners have taken over and opened this week. Not sure what the old Calendula Cottage was like but the new generation is doing a GREAT job!!
The place is beautifully set up, comfy and cosy and the staff are friendly.
The owners are on site - Gareth is the full time chef and Paul makes kick ass coffee.
The food..... superb!! If you're a fan of good old fashioned home cooking and baking, hit this place up.
Gorgeous cheesecake with an after dinner mint surprise, mouthwatering quiche and heaps of other scrummy options in the cabinet and on the menu.
Can't wait to go back - their panko crumbed mac and cheese sounds delicious!!!
by Tania Hart
Feb 03, 2014
Popped in at the end of an unexpected drive to Waiuku, arrived about 45 mins before closing time. Very helpful people, great that they had gluten free bread for a toasted sandwich option also. Lovely slices, etc and beautiful coffee. What a gorgeous pocket of paradise!
by Katherine Duke
Aug 18, 2013
Just had a fantastic looking and tasting brunch here this morning. Well priced, with a good range in the cabinet. Nice to sit outside in the sunny gardens and enjoy our coffees. Well done to the team on today. We will be back!
by Claudia Slaney
Jul 20, 2013
Just a quick thank you to the staff at Calendula for another delightful morning in the gorgeous cafe gardens. This is a very special cafe, and an amazing place to be able to take young children to. Comfy couches outside with blankets, lots of toys and room on the lawn to play, and even a dedicated children's area with more toys, a sandpit and seating. Its great to have somewhere local to go where the food is freshly made on site, and the service is always exceptionally friendly. For anyone keen on getting out of the city this cafe is well worth the drive from central Auckland.
by Cherie Milne
May 13, 2013
Went to Calendula Cottage for Mother's Day which we had pre-booked. There was a sign at the gate way as fully booked and only open to people who had reservation. We were advised when placing our order that there was a 20 minute delay in getting our meals. Which as it was lovely sunny day and our coffee's came out quickly was not a problem. Our meals were lovely, enjoyed my Moroccan salad and my Mother enjoy her chicken and bacon burger. Asked for something that wasn't on the menu for my daughter and they happily added to our order. The Mother's day carrot cake muffins which were given to all tables as a treat were lovely. The staff were efficient given the number of people they had, they had timed the table reservations so that the meals came in a timely manner and we weren't rushed to eat. There was plenty of things to do for younger children. Will definitely go back again.
Apr 20, 2013
Calendula Cafe is a treat! We had a wonderful, friendly experience. The food was tops and coffee great! Best coffee ive had in a long time and there is a fully qualified barista who is lovely with a great smile! They were all friendly. The owner came out to see if we were ok and made sure everybody had a nice bottle of water which is something important to me. The gardens are looking so much better than before. I've been round the world at cafes and this one is just a great local country cafe with a smile and plenty of laughter. Good on you girls and boys. Don't worry about what other people say. Keep on improving, I'll be there, so will my friends.
by Justine Gustafson
Apr 01, 2013
I first came across Calendula Cottage 6 years ago, and was immediately impressed - great food, and beautiful surroundings. And, it quickly became our 'regular' weekend eatery when we moved to Waiuku. We were very disappointed when new owners took over and changed the cafe into nothing more than a lunchbar ... and, after a particularly bad experience, we stopped going. Needless to say, I was thrilled to read that the cafe had changed hands again, and that the new owners were returning to meals cooked onsite. However, after visiting today, I will never return again. The grounds, garden and building were nothing short of dishevelled and whilst hot meals were available again, the choice was very small. Worst of all, however, was the dirty cutlery given to both my husband and I. Upon asking for 2 clean sets, I was given yet more dirty cutlery with the explanation "we're not allowed to wipe them when they come out of the dishwasher". Had the cutlery only been tarnished, I may have accepted that as an excuse, but as I could scrape dried-on food off the cutlery with my fingernail, the explanation was less than acceptable. Whilst the third set of cutlery was cleaner, it certainly wasn't to the standard that I would even consider giving to guests in my own home. Upon returning to my table, it also became apparent that my husband's plate was dirty with 'dish-washer' baked-on food. To add insult to injury, the eggs in our Benedict's were overcooked. It's fair to say that I left the once-beautiful Calendula Cottage feeling sick to the stomach, knowing that I had eaten food prepared in a kitchen that couldn't even clean cutlery and plates correctly (and yes, after paying $52 on our drinks and meals I did feel obliged to eat it).
by Kirsty Jackson
Mar 10, 2013
The setting was lovely but we were extremely disappointed by the service today. We were originally told we would be served in 30Min's which was fine as there were lovely gardens to sit in and it was a beautiful day, but after an hour I inquired how long it would be till our order was ready as we could see other people had gone in to inquire about their meals and they were getting them straight away but had arrived after us, only to be snapped at and told "I was called in on my day off, its busy if you don't want to wait, go get a refund." I was shocked as I had asked quite politely but we decided to wait and see if they could redeem themselves. Another half hour passed and people in the gardens were starting to talk, their orders still hadn't arrived, people who arrived after us had been served before us and were now leaving after enjoying their lunch and orders were also coming out wrong. Again we asked a different waitress if our lunch was far away and she said she would check, 20 Min's later no sign of her, another waitress walked past so we asked again, no reply again. After a two hour wait with two children under the age of 3 with us who were getting extremely restless we asked for our money back and then at first they couldn't even find our order, only for someone to say here it is halfway down the list of orders, looks like we had been bumped down the list so many times that they had lost ours. You would think that two salads and a salmon bagel would not be that hard to prepare, since people were able to get their burgers before us. I don't as I'm sure most people would feel the same, appreciate being snapped at by an unhappy waitress just because she was called in on her day off. It is not the customers fault shes not happy about that, and it is very unprofessional to take it out on the customers. Having worked in the service industry for over 10 years I have never ever seen such disappointing service. I was also shocked to witness another customer being yelled at by the same waitress because she was inquiring about how long her meal would be. I came all the way from the city for a lovely meal and was very disappointed. A piece of advice if you want your business to thrive then you need to provide great service all of the time, not just when its quiet. You have lost my business and I will be sure to tell as many people as I can about our shocking service and to not bother wasting their time. As we were leaving we told two separate couples in the car park not to bother going in unless they wanted to wait two hours for their food and then be abused by the wait staff. Thank god for The Kentish in Waiuku who made sure we were served promptly and efficiently, they certainly saved the day and their food was amazing and well priced also they were very polite and friendly.
by Anna Elders
Feb 10, 2013
Major disappointment with new owners (another set since previous reviews I think). Terrible coffee on last three trips. They obviously haven't got the hang of their machine & their once amazing smoothies are watery & tasteless. Food isn't anything special. If the setting wasn't so lovely & sandpit not there I wouldn't go back to be honest. Come on guys, this could be a fab cafe!! Get a chef in & get some barista training!!
by Lee Ann Cathcart
Nov 30, 2011
Had an awesome lunch today made up of a Cajun Chicken Salad. It was value for money and bigger then expected the coffee tasted great also. The atmosphere and garden surroundings are just tranquil. Staff were lovely, obliging and friendly. Would definitely go back again.
Nov 19, 2011
Lovely gardens and atmosphere however the food was a different story. Unfortunately it was stale
over cooked and lacked in flavour.
I ordered the lasagna and it was very disappointing. It consisted of just mince and packet bought pasta with a plain sauce; no vegetables, herbs or spices, it did taste very plain. The salad that I had with the lasagna was rather wilted.
When I informed manager of our experience she acted surprised and didn't offer any refund.
For what i got, it was over priced.
Hopefully they take on this feedback to improve their menu, the cafe it's got lot of potential.
Dec 23, 2010
Reopened in November with new owners - Coffee is EXCELLENT - just would love to see some more in house baking and some more on the menu in terms of breakfasts - possibly some Eggs Benedict or something of that nature?? Great atmosphere, just food letting them down a bit...
by Larissa Denton
May 02, 2010
Fantastic food! Tasty,original AND well presented! Wow! Definately not the same old same old! It is a 10 minute drive from our place but it far outweighs any closer cafes to us! We have become fast regulars and take all our frinds and family there when they visit us. Good coffee, AWESOME kids plate for only $6 and includes a drink!! It is also neat to have a sandpit for the kids and we have learned to take our own sand toys so all the kids can have fun while the parents enjoy their coffees in the garden! I must admit we have not been during the weekend so we have not experienced the cafe when it is busy...Thanks to the owners and workers for your passion! UPDATE: Unfortunately this cafe only opens on weekends now! WHAT A SHAME!!!
UPDATE: This cafe is now under new management. Lovely people and great service. Still a beautiful spot and there is still a fab kids picnic box AND new sandpit toys! But...unfortunately the food is no longer made on the premises. Gone are the amazing homemade cheesecakes and gorgeous kids cupcakes and in are lamingtons and pies. Top marks for free fluffies though! Our next visit will be to rate the coffee...!