166 Willis St, Te Aro, Wellington
Opens 7am weekdays, 9am weekends; breakfast finishes 12pm weekdays, 3pm Sat, 2pm Sun but stays open until late Mon to Sat
Muesli $11; Revive coffee; Noble & Savage tea (2019)
The Arborist is close to Neo, Mulberry Garden, Hangar, Goldmine and the Mercure Wellington Abel Tasman hotel. It seems to function more as an evening bar/restaurant than a café and is characterised by stool-height chairs, as well as soft bench seats set up on a sort of platform on the other side of the main row of tables. The eatery is below the Trinity Hotel and serves as the hotel’s dining space but operates equally as a walk-in venue.
If you want a good feed that won’t set you back too much, this is the place for you. The serving size is very generous, though the technique of wiping yoghurt around the plate before adding the muesli results in a scant amount of usable yoghurt. The fresh fruit is welcome, but also not exactly generous.
As for the quality of the muesli, it is pretty ho-hum and feels like it came out of a packet or a bulk bin (dried banana chips are a give-away), though there is the less conventional addition of black sesame seeds and what might be chopped up goji berries (or minced up freeze-dried raspberries?) around the side of the plate. Both add an attractive touch. A generous jug of milk accompanies the muesli, and you will need this. I didn’t have a coffee on my visit.
The atmosphere is warm, cosy and rustic. On the day I was there reggae music played softly in the background. My highest praise is reserved for the waitress. There was no Saturday newspaper when I arrived. There may have been a delivery issue that day across town. When I asked if there was a paper the waitress simply said, ‘I’ll get you one’. A few minutes later she went over the road to a convenience store and purchased a copy. I hadn’t complained or anything, just asked if there was a paper. So top of the class for good service.
Muesli nothing special but its generous serving made it very good value for money and would set you up well for a day on the town or a walk in the hills. Service was excellent.
Reviewed July 2019.
Menus, ingredients and opening hours may change. Check with eatery before you visit.