By Jo Rittey


Cam’s place is called a few different things; a café, a kiosk and a bar. And it is all these things. Then it’s some more. It also has an art gallery showing local artists’ work and some lovely outdoor seating amongst the columns overlooking the quadrangle.


Cam gleaned much about hospitality from working for Steve Miller at Handsome Steve’s House of Refreshment before striking out on his own, and subscribes to his Uncle Steve’s philosophy that he’s here “to make friends, not money.”


It certainly feels like the kind of place you’d come to on a regular basis and some nights, the bar stays open fairly late and is a hangout for locals and Convent tenants.


Blackboard menus advertise the simple and very reasonably priced fare. Everything is made on the premises using local produce. There are a couple of eggs dishes, a house made baked beans with feta that reminded me just how great real non-tin baked beans are, a slow roast tomato dish with hummus and a muesli.


Later in the day there are some ever-changing superfood-type salads and there’s always a pot of soup on the go.


The coffee is good with consistent, strong, caramel tones.


It gets pretty busy on market days, second Saturday of the month at neighbouring Collingwood Children’s Farm and fourth Saturday of the month at the Convent, but it’s a humming sort of busy rather than a frantic one. This is the kind of place you are likely to see a child drinking a hot chocolate with her pet rabbit on her lap. I say this because this happened when I was there. Who knows what you’ll see when you go along.




Ground floor, Convent building

Abbotsford Convent, St Helier’s Street, Abbotsford

Mon – Thurs 8am – 4pm

Fri 8am – 8pm

Sat 8am – 4pm

Sun 8am – 6pm



Jo is a French teacher, a freelance writer and needs good coffee to start her day. Armed with an exotic New Zealand accent and a winning (hopefully) smile, she likes nothing better than roaming the streets of the northside in search of new and old food-related wonders.

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