24 Dundas St, Seatoun, Wellington
Opens 9am Wed to Sun; closes 8pm (but 3pm Sun)
Granola $16, porridge $16; Supreme coffee, t-Leaf-T tea
Arcimboldi is an eatery in the upmarket seaside suburb of Seatoun that’s east of the airport. Its name comes from the sixteenth century mannerist artist Guiseppe Arcimboldi who painted portraits composed of fruit, vegetables, plants and sea creatures. You can see reproductions of his work on the eatery walls. Why this artist? You will have to go to the website for the full explanation.
The eatery does counter food, à la carte brunch and dinner, and takeaways. The latter focus is a large range of pizzas. I’m told the muffins are very good, so next time you are driving around the bays this could be a suitable place to stop. There is certainly a good range of interesting looking counter food.
The granola dish is very nicely presented in a large, shallow bowl, with a freeze-dried raspberry, icing sugar, marigold(?) petals and a few basil leaves on top. The granola itself is scattered over a delicious selection of fresh fruit cubes: feijoa, pear, granny smith apple, melon and orange. This in turn rests on a bed of tonka bean coconut yoghurt with chia seeds.
I had to look tonka beans up, as they are not something you often come across in NZ, though they are available. They add a vanilla-like taste to foods that has been described as ‘a complex mix of vanilla, almond, clove, cinnamon, and amaretto’ (Wikipedia). I’m not sure my palate was suitably refined to pick all this up, but the yoghurt was pretty nice.
The granola itself was a bit disappointing. It comes in brittle chunks. These consist entirely of highly toasted whole-grain oats. No nuts, seeds or dried fruit. The structure of the chunks is quite open, but a sweet binder welds the oats together into a hard, crunchy mass. I was reminded of certain types of biscuit or muesli bar, sans their density.
My companion had the crumbed fish tacos with watercress, avocado salsa, aioli, pickled radish and fennel. I didn’t get to taste it but it looked pretty nice.
I took a cheese scone home to eat later. It had four cheeses in it and the dough texture was moist and quite spongy. I’m not sure about it.
Visitation was low on a weekday. We turned up minutes after the 9am opening time and a couple were already there in the garden. A few retirees occupied some tables in the front room half an hour later.
The seating spaces are very pleasant at Arcimboldi, from the smaller room between the counter and the street front, to the light-filled back space that looks onto the garden seating area.
I like Arcimboldi. The food in general is pretty good (I’ve had lunch here once and possibly the best pizza of my life one evening). And the eating spaces are pleasant and not usually too crowded. If I lived in Seatoun I would probably be in here all the time. As for the granola specifically, it was very thoughtfully presented, right down to the carefully cut fruit, and the yoghurt and fruit were delicious. But I didn’t take to the granola itself so much. I’ve mentioned how it recalled biscuits and muesli bars. Brandy snaps would be the other thing. Still, overall, the dish rates well.
Reviewed April 2022.
Menus, ingredients and opening hours may change. Check with eatery before you visit.