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Trocadero handover completed

Pam Kaur has dreamed of owning Trocadero since moving to Masterton four years ago. That dream has become a reality.

Kaur and her partner Sam Singh officially took charge of the cafe last week, having closed the sale in December.

The pair have been working in Wairarapa’s hospitality sector since moving to here from Auckland – Singh as a chef for Iberia Cafe, and Kaur as a barista for Strada and French Baker, whose owner Rusty Donworth inspired her ambition to have her own place.

Singh said Kaur had her eyes on Trocadero after hearing friends “rave” about it at the gym, and purchasing it was a quick decision.

“It happened out of the blue, but everything has fallen into place,” he said.

“We were looking at buying something in Wellington, but changed our mind at the last minute when this opportunity came up.”

The couple are keeping the established menu, although they plan to add their own flavour in the coming months.

The existing staff are staying on, while former owners Bridie Manson and Jenny Afentakis, who have run the cafe since 2018, are helping with the transition until February 20, when they’re off to travel around Europe before settling
in Melbourne to start a family.

Manson – who had worked at Trocadero when Cilla Graham owned it 20 years ago, and jumped at the chance to buy it when her mum told her it was up for sale – said the cafe has been like their first baby.

“We’re very happy with it, and now we’re adopting it out to Sam and Pam.”

It is important to have a good vegetarian menu, Manson said.

“The menu has been ours since the start. We started the sandwich cabinet. We get so many people from the cities driving through and buying our sandwiches.

“I was vegan when I lived in Australia, then I moved back here. I found it hard to find vegetarian or vegan food, and what I did find wasn’t satisfying – there was no love in them.”

The community curated the cafe’s unique collection of artworks.

“The eye-catching group of mannequins outside were taken from Hunting and Fishing when it closed and dressed up.

“Our prints were donated by people who liked them but didn’t feel they fit their home.”

It has been important to her and Afentakis for the cafe to feel welcoming, Manson said.

“It’s like inviting people around to your house. People come to feel homely, and I’m sure Sam and Pam will keep it like that.”

Mason said she’ll miss Masterton: “I’ll miss the community and the people. They connected so much with Jen and me.”

Afentakis had nothing to say except, “Sayonara suckers!”

Helen Holt
Helen Holt
Helen Holt is a reporter at the Wairarapa Times-Age and enjoys reporting on a variety of topics, regularly covering Wairarapa events, tourism, local businesses, and the occasional health story.

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