The Grape Escape!

Last week, the poor Tasman region got absolutely hammered by a cyclone that joined forces with a king tide to wreak havoc. It was a few days after the cyclone had hit, and my guests and I traipsed down to Mapua wharf to have a spot of lunch; where we were met with debris, power outages and cranes lifting destroyed boats from the waters. Nowhere was open due to the wreckage, so we sadly ambled back to our cars with our tummies rumbling. This was then when one of us had a brainwave and announced that we should, instead of going home hungry, hit up the popular café; Grape Escape. I had never been there, but had heard brilliant reviews, so we all agreed to regroup and refuel our appetites there.

As I pulled up to Grape Escape, I felt like I had been transported into a classic storybook scene. The Café itself is this incredibly cute, old-fashioned villa which is surrounded by gardens bursting with vibrantly coloured flowers and trees. The beauty of the garden is a hit with the café-comers, so Grape Escape has scattered their luscious lawns with picnic tables where customers can enjoy their food and drink surrounded by botanical bliss. Unfortunately, due to people’s delight with the outside seating, every table was filled or reserved so we had to enjoy the beauty from inside. The interior radiates perfect café vibes; with warm wooden floors, classic villa architecture, and comfortable seating, it is the perfect pace to enjoy a warm cup of coffee, or an ice-cold refresher – all complete with a café cat!

Their menu was filled with scrumptious sounding brunch and lunch items, some a little pricey, but from hearing the good reviews and seeing the big smiles on the faces of the other customers, I sussed that I was paying for premium flavour! I am a firm lover of cafes that have a massive cabinet range alongside their menu, however there was much to be desired in the way of savoury cabinet items, as they only offered sweet treats and scones. But I soon got out of my lack-of-cabinet-food funk and opted for a Greek classic; Spanakopita. My boyfriend and I decided to share this, as we saw one of the portions and it was HUGE – but we also gave in to the idea of a cheeky bowl of chips to share. The spanakopita’s were delicious, with the ratio of feta to spinach inside the perfectly baked filo parcels was spot-on. These pristine parcels were served alongside a fresh and crunchy salad that complemented the rich filo filling, leaving us full to the brim but not bloated – well, we weren’t bloated until we polished off the bowl of chips, once you have one fry it’s a slippery slope!

A very memorable first visit her at Grape Escape; I can definitely see why people gush about this little café. Its beautiful scenery, generous food, and my good companions made for a luncheon that was the epitome of lush (the wandering cat was also a massive added bonus). Summing up my overall experience at this well-loved spot, I can confidently rate Grape Escape a 7.5/10 on the Café Crawler Lucy Scale. The food was incredibly yummy, and had quite generous portions however I would’ve preferred slightly smaller portions and a lower price – the student budget only stretches so far! They also would’ve gained a few more brownie points if their cabinet wasn’t lacking the savoury bakes that I oh-so-craved, I mean what café doesn’t serve a savoury muffin! Don’t let these little issues sway you away from Grape Escape however, as it is a gorgeous and welcoming place to enjoy a meal with anybody at any time.

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