26 October 2016

Buoy, What a View!

Ginette Auld, owner of Ponsonby perennial, Salta Café, talks about Buoy – her new ‘baby’ down on the waterfront.


share

Tucked away in the lee of the harbour bridge at very the end of Westhaven Drive is Buoy. At first glance, it’s a rather nondescript, glass-fronted building, painted blue, but it’s not about the building, it’s all about its position – and a view to die for.

It’s a sunny winter’s morning, with just a suggestion of spring in the air, and I’ve arranged to meet Buoy’s new owner in that quiet time for cafés, between services. As I walk in, I’m politely greeted by Ginette and offered a coffee, which is very good, by the way.

“I’m a water person,” she says, looking out over the marina. “I used to work on the boats, as a chef. Auckland has very few locations like this, and this spot was very under utilised, and although it was pretty run down, it still had a loyal clientele,” she adds.

Ginette Auld

Ginette Auld

“I was actually thinking that I wanted to sell Salta and go and live in Spain for a while,” smiles, Ginette. “But, then, every time I walked past [Buoy], I thought, what a great spot. What an opportunity."

Ginette’s vision for the décor of her new venture was ‘original, old-school bach’, and I think she’s nailed it. “I’ve got one at Ocean Beach, up at Whangerei Heads, and I love it,” she says. “People chill out when they’re in simple, comfortable unpretentious spaces.” Befitting its maritime location, Buoy’s revamped interior has a subtle nautical vein running through it, punctuated by potted plants hanging in macramé nets, and nostalgic ephemera.

Looking forward to the summer, Ginette plans to cater to local boaties – not only as sit-down clientele, but also offer them pre-made meals to take away on their excursions out on the harbour. “We should also be getting a licence soon, so we will be open in the evenings. Not too late,” she adds. “Just until after the sun goes down. A simple menu, with casual dining.”

“I want Buoy to be a community café, not just a cool café. "

"I want to build up a regular clientele who know us and we know them… like a Salta by the sea,” she smiles. Salta is such a well-oiled machine, and that’s the level I want to get Buoy to.” 

So what is it that has made Salta such a success in what is arguably Auckland’s most competitive Café suburb?

“You’ve got to genuinely love what you do, and being owner-operator is essential,” she tells me. “I also treat my staff very well. They are all part of my family. Building that kind of loyalty and trust works both ways. It’s lovely to build these relationships,” she adds. Ginette goes on to tell me that a large percentage of her customers at Salta are regulars, and that she and her staff know them all by name – and that’s important, too.

She also says that coffee is the fundamental thing you’ve got to get right. “If you’re passionate about the coffee, then the chances are you’re passionate about everything else in your café.”

“I’m all about the details. Get those right and the rest will fall into line,” she says, casting a glance around her own establishment. “It bugs me, for instance, as I look down this row of tables that the chairs aren’t all lined up and the salt and pepper cellars aren’t where they should be.”

“I’m a perfectionist,” she adds. “It’s impossible, I know, but I never stop trying. I always try to make things better – I guess that’s part of my success.”

Gin's Ponsonby.

Ginette grew up in Whangarei, but has lived in Ponsonby most of her life. She proudly describes herself as a ‘Ponsonby girl’, and absolutely loves living in the area. “I can get to work in 7-8 minutes, and everything’s on my doorstep.”

“People like to be where everybody is – and everyone goes to Ponsonby.”

She smiles as she describes Three Lamps as the forgotten end of Ponsonby. “It’s full of scrappy little shops, but it has a great village, community atmosphere to it. It’s the last piece of Ponsonby yet to be gentrified.”

“It definitely needs some love,” she says. “I’d like to see the landlords put a bit of effort in, bringing their properties up to date – painting, repairing and fixing them up. I’d also like to see the rents drop, to encourage new tenants, rather than leaving properties empty,” she adds. Her vision would be to see it turned it into a more pedestrian precinct, like they have down at Wynyard or Fort St, where the road is cobbled and cars have to slow down going through – “Not that they rush at the moment,” she says.


“Since Ponsonby Central opened there has been a non-stop flourish of new cafes and restaurants along the whole length of Ponsonby Road. I can’t see them all staying around for a long time, though. There are just too many places to buy coffee now, and they don’t stop opening.”

She says she sometimes try new places, if a friend has recommended them. “But I mainly stick with the stalwarts – Ponsonby Rd Bistro, Blue Breeze Inn and, of course, SPQR. I also like The Engine Room, across the bridge in Northcote Point. You just know you’re not going to get let down and not letting anyone down is part of my philosophy.'

This article is brought to you by Chloe Wither.

share

Return to blog

More recent posts

15 November 2018

Good for people, planet, and Earth


James Denton is a man on a mission. His challenge: to help Aotearoa New Zealand be the first country to take the lead towards plastic-free, waste-free living.

More
8 November 2018

Wintergarden Blooms Again


Since the late 1800s, the Auckland Wintergardens have enthralled with dazzling displays of tropical and seasonal botanical wonders.

More
8 November 2018

One Out of the Box


Described whimsically by it’s owner as ‘straight out of 1970s Palm Springs’, this house by architect Dominic Glamuzina looks as if it has been picked up out of a different country from a dif…

More
1 November 2018

Co-Housing – A Viable Alternative


A self-financing, community-led housing development gives hope to a handful of Aucklanders looking for affordable homes and a more sustainable and environmentally conscious way of life.

More
1 November 2018

All Around The Watchtower


A unique piece of Auckland’s architectural heritage, considered by many as a blueprint of how we should tackle the issues of housing density while being sensitive to the existing homes in ou…

More
25 October 2018

Rock Solid


Rarely can businesses say anything positive about the massive storms that hit Auckland this winter.

More
11 October 2018

Auckland 2050 – Nirvana or Pipe Dream?


Now we finally have a landmark document addressing Auckland’s major long-term population, prosperity and environmental challenges, but does it successfully deal with our need for another 313…

More
4 October 2018

Manna From Heaven


Award-winning baker Patrick Welzenbach talks about his unique ancestry and what makes Daily Bread, his new bakery in Point Chevalier, so special.

More
4 October 2018

Learning Curve


This truly unique home, located deep in the heart of the Waitakere ranges, is the culmination of one man’s vision to create an efficient and sustainable lifestyle – and he built it all himse…

More

Contact Us

Are you interested in knowing more about one of these articles? Please fill out the form below to get in contact with us.