I believe it is time I really started to write about all the different places on Aitutaki before I forget them all (no, that won't happen any time soon).
I feel that I should start my reviews with one of my favourite places to visit for food and coffee on Aitutaki - Koru Cafe. It is by far the best place for lunch and coffee anywhere on the island. Pacific Resort may debate over the best food but I think for the money and quality of service you get there, you can't beat it anywhere. Food is always top-notch and it is probably the one of very few places that give you that Western cafe-feel.
I admit to having lots of photos of food from Koru Cafe, because I went there several times a week (it was that good) and was a regular there.
|Koru Cafe - there are seats inside (windows have mosquito nets) or brave the mossies on the outdoor seats depending on your preference.|
Situated (unfortunately) on the opposite end of the island from the hospital out towards Ootu Beach, it takes a good 15-20mins on the scooter to reach Koru Cafe. Whilst the length of the island takes about 10mins, the length of the airstrip also takes just as long! However, the trip is worth it, and those staying at Samade on the Beach or Popoara Beach Villas (aka Boatshed) or Aitutaki Lagoon Resort (Akitua), well lucky you, because you are close by!
My apologies for lots of food photos, but this is what you can expect to get from Koru Cafe every single time you go there. You get a decent portion of very very yummy food made right from the kitchen. They have different specials on each week and they are al. worth a try too.
The moment you enter the cafe, you just pick any seat and the girls bring you out a bottle of chilled water and a glass. You can take your time to order your meal and food is usually ready in about 10-20minutes. They come and top up your water when it runs low and service is just awesome. You don't find that anywhere else (except at resorts where you are forking out a fortune for it!).
EDIT: I just found that Koru Cafe has their menu online.
Coffee goes from about $4.50ish (very reasonable!) through to $6-8 for ice chocolates and coffees. From memory, milkshakes were about $9.
|Vanilla Latte (from memory, just under $6). It is better than those from most cafes in New Zealand and apparently UK as well!|
|Iced Coffee for those really sticky hot days!!! Made from real espresso coffee and spliced with a scoop of ice cream. Yum!|
Most meals are usually accompanied by salad and chips. They do very good burgers. Their fish burger in particular is worth mentioning. Most main meals go between $18 - $28ish range. The most expensive on the menu is a Turkish Chicken sandwich (the name is along the lines of this) and is $29.90 - but is huge and can easily be shared between two people.
|The famous Fish Burger - served with chips and fresh salad (they are hard to get by sometimes on the island!).|
Their Salt & Pepper Calamari is also just gorgeous for the seafood lovers. Yummy!
|The Salt & Pepper Calamari (main) - just YUMMY!|
|Beer-Battered Mahi Mahi (it's a fish) - one of the specials. It is really good.|
For those who haven't got the tummies for a full sized meal, they also have Tapas and burgers on their own for a very good price (and still packed with flavours). I am beginning to sound like an advertiser, aren't I? But seriously, I think this place deserves it ;)
|Ika Mata (Tapa) - fresh fish (I think this might have been tuna) cooked just on the outside. Served with garlic aioli, soy sauce and some pickled ginger.|
|I think this was Ben's BLT or Chicken Burger. Roughly $12 from memory and still a good meal when you aren't feeling up to fries and salad.|
The biggest downsides of Koru Cafe for elective students are the distance it takes to get there (particularly on a wet day!) and the fact that its opening hours are from 7am through to 3pm (7 days a week) - meaning that a hard-working medical student won't be able to make it after a long day at clinic (bummer!).
Otherwise, it is a fab place to go in the weekends particularly because it is also close to the beautiful Ootu Beach or Aitutaki Lagoon Resort where you can go for some nice swims.
You can also get some locally made souvenirs at Koru Cafe. Mostly at reasonable prices without you having to travel all around the island. They have books, jewellery made by Steph at T&S Artworx, flax fans, artwork for the walls and more. You can order online as well from anywhere in the world @ http://www.korucafe.biz/
|Just some of the souvenirs you can get at Koru Cafe. You can also buy online.|
|Jasmine, me, and Trina (owner) at Koru Cafe on my last day in Aitutaki. I was covered in "eis" as leaving gift given by several people. I really miss them :'(|
I just loved Koru Cafe to bits and the people who worked there. Trina and Steve, the owners, are just lovely and during my 9 weeks, I got very familiar with the place. I hope Trina & Jasmine doesn't mind the photo going up, because I just wanted to show how much I was loved. Besides, I said lots of nice things about the cafe! ;)
Anyway, all in all, a 5 out of 5 hands down cafe on Aitutaki. It's a must-visit cafe for tourists, visitors and the foodies amongst us in my opinion.