It’s a cold, rainy Tuesday afternoon in the first day of winter. Why, it’s a perfect day to go to the beach!

The occasion is the first day of business for the back-from-the-dead Maranui Cafe. After being damaged in a fire last year, escaping the threat of demolition and managing to keep not just the building intact but also the business, the cafe has been reborn, like a phoenix rising from a pile of coffee grounds and sand.

While there’s still a little bit of work going on in the rest of the building, the cafe is well open for business. It’s much like the old cafe, only with a fresh, shinier feel to it.

One massive improvement is the sound-absorbing ceiling, which helps cut down the Saturday morning echo chamber of doom ambience old Maranui was notorious for.

The new kitchen is bright, white, tiled and with one of the better views offered by a cafe kitchen in Wellington, is back in full effect. The staff seemed busy and buzzy and they have every reason to be.

The cheerful interior was a perfect place to be on such a crappy winter day (especially after a tortuously slow bus trip over on the #3), complete with a view of the truly miserable, grey Lyall Bay, that seemed to say, "Oh hai guyz. I’m a surf beach. Let’s go surfin’!!! Lol". (Man, Lyall Bay is a dick.)

It’s really good that Maranui Cafe is back. It’s quite different from your standard Wellington Cafe, and come summer, the place will surely be jam-packed.

But the best thing about the new Maranui – the all-important Maranui SLC visitors’ sign-in book is charred and smoky from the fire.