In 1989, Sociologist Ray Oldenburg introduced us to the term, ‘The Third Place’. He described community cafés and bars as essential breeding grounds for social interactions and a place for society to exist outside of the home and the workplace.
New Zealand has always embraced the concept. Brunching is the country’s second favourite sport (nothing can topple rugby) and flat whites are as much of a social lubricant as alcohol is. And one café that has always created a warm, homely environment for those of us seeking a third place is Mojo.
Created in Wellington in 2003, Mojo is a boutique roastery café that now boasts more than 30 locations across New Zealand. We recently visited Mojo’s Viaduct Harbour location and joined the other inner-city workers and students embracing the warm buzz of a community coffee shop; reading papers, sipping coffees and meeting friends.
The dining area is well-appointed and if downtown Auckland didn’t currently resemble an abandoned building site, the floor-to-ceiling windows would’ve provided an excellent view out to the water.
The breakfast options outnumber the lunch items two-to-one, but because we visited at 11 am we found room for both. We opted for the slow-cooked beef cheek and poached eggs on toast, the creamy mushrooms on toast and some rustic fries.
Everything was excellent with the creamy mushrooms outperforming the mince two-to-one. That isn’t meant to be a slight on the mince, which was rich and tender, but a glowing endorsement of the mushrooms which is close to the best in Auckland.
Although indulgent, the fries were the perfect sponge for the leftover mushroom sauce and beef cheek ragu. We left feeling incredibly satisfied with our meals and strong coffee, and confident that we could expect the same excellence across the board again if we visited again.
If you’re on the hunt for your new third place or if you just want a damn fine coffee, try Mojo.
31 Symonds Street, Auckland University of Technology - WZ Building
Mojo Auckland University
HSB Courtyard, Auckland University, 10 Symonds Street
Mojo Viaduct Harbour
Ground Floor, AT Building, 20 Viaduct Harbour Avenue
Mojo Victoria Street
Spark Atrium, 167 Victoria Street West
Mojo Wynyard Quarter
Wynyard Quarter, 58 Gaunt Street, Auckland
66 Wyndham Street, Auckland CBD, Auckland 1010, New Zealand