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“Good food, slow service”
Review of Talisman Cafe

Talisman Cafe
Ranked #4 of 4 Coffee & Tea in Waihi
Dining options: Breakfast
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Level Contributor
202 reviews
90 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 90 helpful votes
“Good food, slow service”
Reviewed November 29, 2012

We three adults stopped at Talisman Cafe for a light lunch as we drove from Tauranga to Auckland. There is a car park on the same side of the gorge as the cafe, or a larger one across the road beside the river, though you have to cross the state highway which can be busy. There was a good range of counter and blackboard food, and we ordered two toasted sandwiches and a BLT. There were tables in the garden or inside, and not very busy on this day, so it was surprising the food took so long to arrive. Wait staff wandered about with dishes or drinks asking "did you order these?" despite each table being given a plastic animal, instead of a number, to denote their order. The sandwiches arrived together, but the BLT some time later. The food was excellent, with the sandwiches and BLT all well-filled with ingredients, and good value. There are some crafts and packaged foods available for purchase which give plenty to look at if sitting inside. Outside, tables were nicely placed under trees, but the garden could do with a good tidy. The pond was sad and empty, while the wishing well contained dirty water. Overall, Talisman is a pleasant cafe to visit, but a little attention to detail would make it so much better.

  • Visited November 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Cadarnle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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64 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    15
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    15
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
auckland
Level Contributor
102 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Loud Music!”
Reviewed September 25, 2012

We popped into this cafe as it was just across from the car park to the gorge where we'd just spent a very pleasant couple of hours. Coffee was good and hot and the berry tart was delicious. Only complaint was the very loud music they were playing, it was too intrusive to sit inside so we sat in the garden which was very pretty.

  • Visited September 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Janet H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Waihi, New Zealand
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Talisman took their time - mixed response from a family view”
Reviewed September 4, 2012

With a young family, I'm always on the lookout for really kiddy-friendly cafes, and on this one I have a very mixed opinion.

After a lovely walk in Karangahake Gorge, we were hungry, and Talisman Cafe seemed like an ideal choice, right across the road from the walkway carpark. A fantastic location that must bring them loads of super hungry clientelle.

We liked the fact that they had a garden area, where kids could stretch their legs while waiting for food, and it was good safety feature that they had a gate on the entrance, separating explorative little patrons from the super busy state highway.

However, the weather turned a bit chilly, so we decided to sit indoors. There was a little toy corner, with a supply of activities to occupy the littlies, and a fish tank with a live eel to watch. However, there were also lots of arts and crafts for sale, many of which were within easy reach of little hands, and a small sign stating that any breakages were to be paid for. And the fire which was keeping things cozy inside could also be a hazard for littlies.

The food consisted of a selection of cabinet food, as well as a blackboard menu. And there was a kids menu, which combined child-orientated food, with a drink, for $10.00.

On arrival, I felt pressured to order quickly, as the area around the front counter was rather cramped, and we were blocking the entrance and exit for other patrons, as we perused the menu. I ordered a panini and side salad, my husband had beef nachos, and the kids ordered childrens meals, with cafe style drinks.

There was another family eating lunch with young children while we were there, and I supose it didnt bode well that as we were taking our seats, the adults from that group were chasing up their food order for their hungry child who was getting fidgety with the wait.

The wait staff seemed to be coming and going in a constant procession from the kitchen, despite there only being four tables occupied. However, on one of their passings, the waiter informed us that there was a 'high chair over the otherside of the room if we wanted to use it for our baby', leaving my husband to try and navigate his way with it through the clutter of tables, arts and crafts.

Our food didn't take too long to come. My husbands nachos looked like they had been zapped in the microwave, and he said they were very bland in flavour...certainly not served with lashings of sour cream and cheese that he's experienced at other cafes. It was obvious that someone had put effort into my salad garnishing, as it looked pretty, however, the mediteranian vege panini was certainly nothing to write home about. But the kids all seemed to enjoy their meals.

However, after we had finished our meals, there was still no sign of any of our drinks. We mentioned this to a passing waiter, who checked on things and reported back that they were almost made...about 10 minutes later they finally turned up...

By then, our kids were getting rather fidgety and impatient, not to mention thirsty, so we pretty much skulled them, and headed off. Again, my iced coffee could only be described as average.

Earlier, we had talked about enjoying some cakes or slices for dessert, but opted not to, based on our experiences.

  • Visited August 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Jennifer M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tauranga, New Zealand
Level Contributor
10 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“`Shocking Service”
Reviewed July 20, 2012

Well we thought this place would be enjoyable. Doffo got it right. We got no welcome to the extent of rudeness, after 45min my chowder hadn't arrived and my wife had finished 15mins earlier. We had no choice but to leave when the adjoining table got there chowder and it looked like running dog sick. Other tables were equally flustrated with the really poor service. Perhaps this place could cope if they only had one customer. They didn't appear busy just really disorganised.
We must have struck the same women as Doffo. Any way we had already paid and got a refund for half of the meal & coffee we didn't get and went up the road to the winery. Well this place was the exact opposite and we had a thoroughly enjoyable meal.

  • Visited July 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
1 Thank Jenny W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Plymouth, New Zealand
Level Contributor
123 reviews
50 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
“Good food great atmosphere”
Reviewed April 28, 2012

Having walked all over the gorge through tunnels, up steep hills and over rivers all day, our visit to talisman was a welcome break. The staff were very friendly, the food was nice and the gardens were a joy to walk around afterward. Well worth a stop I believe.

  • Visited January 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
Thank Rex S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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