Wellesley Hotel, 2-8 Maginnity St, central Wellington
Open 7am to 11.30 am for breakfast
Muesli $10, Quinoa porridge $14; Immigrant’s Son coffee, t-leaf-T tea
The 1815 Café & Bar is situated in the Wellesley Boutique Hotel. This was created in 1997 out of the Wellesley Club, a gentlemens’ club established in 1891 and named after Arthur Wellesley, better known as the Duke of Wellington. New Zealand’s capital city was named for the very same man. He was victorious at the Battle of Waterloo, which took place in 1815, hence (I presume) the name of this eatery.
Thoughts of a former gentlemen’s club, with leather armchairs, fireplace, wood paneling, silver cutlery and white tablecloths came to mind when I discovered that muesli and porridge were served here. Porridge sounds like a good fit, but how would a raw breakfast dish like muesli be handled?
Not so well, it turns out. But then, while the wood paneling, armchairs and fireplace are all still in place (as well as the black and white floor tiling), it’s no longer a gentlemen’s club anyway, just a hotel restaurant.
The muesli looked a bit like it came out of packet, and the only embellishments were a small container of yoghurt and a jug of milk. The muesli consisted of moist, sugary clumps of toasted oats with dried currants and pawpaw, raisins, pumpkin seeds, goji berries and coconut slivers. There was far too much dried fruit. I have to admit that the yoghurt was nice and tangy, but that is the only good thing about this low effort production.
My companion had a fruit salad bowl with mint and remarked that it was fairly basic also. It too was served with a separate container of yoghurt.
The Americano coffee came with a large pot of hot water. That was a good touch, and perhaps in response to American tourists who stay here who like their coffee in large volume. It tasted good.
Nice cosy surroundings, especially on a winter’s day. Perhaps reflecting its function as a hotel dining space, the restaurant did little to make its muesli anything special. But maybe it was too much to expect anything more for such a low price. And I still don’t know whether a gentlemen’s club can do good muesli.
Reviewed December 2019.