Story and words by Yana Papaya
Edited by Maryana Kirakovskaya
Photos by Katherine Brook // Olga Franco
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“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” – Marcel Proust
Through a lens of our inspirational project we aspire to plant an idea in your head that every place where we live or planning to go is unique, embraces its beauty and complexity. Even a familiar place like the North Shore of Auckland for majority of our community might turn out to be a box of pleasant surprises, incredible places, stylish cafes and vintage treasures that will find a new fancy home in your apartment. Give a chance to familiar things to acquire the second life. We are giving you a chance to fall in love with the North Shore authenticity as a part of our inspirational stories series.
Last week we posted a story about Sarah Immel, a charming Canadian girl that is working as a barista at Mimosa Cafe that we are seriously in love with. This time we would like to present to you the highlights of our conversation that we had with the loveliest human being, beautiful and welcoming lady Mayumi (Last Name) who also turned out to be “the most awesome boss” and the business owner, inspirational team leader of the Mimosa Cafe.
What do you need to gain in your life and yourself to be able to look at familiar things from a new perspective, notice new things in obvious phenomenon and life circumstances? While it’s not too late let’s get armed with a Proust’s quote and remind ourselves that there is always new things to explore and discover, joys to wonder. All you need is a guidance, sense of adventure, hunger for knowledge, ability to stay creative and at the same time humble. Surprisingly all these human traits and skills can be easily found in Mayumi’s spirit that together with her husband, she is expressing vividly and passionately through a life of the Mimosa Cafe. I used to work for my husband, who still works as a vacation coordinator. I was a media, press-tour assistant. Basically my role was to entertain media people who were coming to New Zealand to check out tourism and hospitality development. I was encouraged to show them around, so was always looking for a nice cafe that media would like. And I was always keen to open my own one. It was very inspiring to meet owners of various cafes and I thought to myself: “Oh my God, I want to do that too. My son has grown up now, I had more time. What stops me?”
My husband has a great vision, good eye on things in terms of creating beautiful interior designs and special atmosphere. This is how we decided to split our responsibilities. I am responsible for kitchen rules, food, coffee and other drinks, while my husband is creating a beautiful space and vibes of the cafe.
Our cafe concept is all about sharing the joy with the customers starting from a cup of coffee we serve till the moment when they finish their meal and say to themselves: “This is my happy place.”
I always wanted to run a small cafe, so I know each of our customers individually, learn about their preferences and how they would like their coffee to be done and etc. For example, when a familiar customer walks in and asks for a flat white, we know what type of flat white he wants. Some people want less coffee in their shot, while others ask for more as they like their coffee stronger. Same rules apply to our food servings. I think this intention of mine is coming from a Japanese way to treat a customer. It’s called “omotenashi” (eng. – the spirit of Japanese hospitality). I would like to treat every customer in our “omotenashi” way. It’s all about those little things that make difference.
Lots of people who come in share positive energy with us which I am very grateful for.
I am so lucky to have my team, my staff…they make me so happy, they work hard for me. We kind of supporting each other. Customers like you make me happy. That’s the secret of being and staying beautiful.
We used lots of ideas provided by Kokako, our coffee roaster. I really like Kokako concept, their business stands for a fair-trade organic approach. I also wanted to lead a healthy lifestyle myself. When I decided to open up a cafe I contacted Mike, Kokako business owner and asked him to support me, generate some menu ideas together. He is very helpful and such a great man. He shared lots of ideas with me from the beginning and has been supportive till today. His food preferences are similar to mine and I really like the vegetarian style.
I used to worry a lot about switching our food strategy to the vegetarian concept, completely excluding meat and bacon from our cafe menu. Now I feel like more people want to consume healthy food and don’t eat meat that often. Being a vegetarian cafe now and providing a various yummy healthy options seems to work great for us. Our menu has a slight Japanese twist, which I think our customers like. We change the menu two times a year, summer and winter menu. Miso porridge is the famous winter meal that I would probably serve to Madonna too. Acai bowl is the most popular meal at our cafe. Acai berries are originally coming from South America where they are very popular. First I tried the acai when I went to Hawaii and I wanted to have a meal with acai berries in our cafe too. Healthy benefits of acai berries can’t be neglected in our modern life, full of antioxidants they boost your energy levels, help to fight the cancer and reduce irritation. Variety of healthy benefits served in one bowl! Wonderful!Our vegetarian Eggs Benedict option is also a reflection of our foodie style. How do you usually feel after having your favourite Eggs Benedict? You feel quite relaxed, maybe even sleepy after eating such a great portion of protein and carbs. The secret of our uplifting and energising Eggs Benedict recipe lies in the fact that we are using a different sauce. It’s a vegan hollandaise, which is very light and healthy. It contains tahini, mustard and a bit of soy.
Top 3 Travel Destinations. I would like to go to Croatia, France and England.
Best sunset is from my house that stands on the Milford beach. New Zealand sunsets are incredible, that soft pink watercolour in the sky I haven’t seen anywhere else in the world. The usual sunset in Japan has a red orangy colour.