159 Lambton Quay, central Wellington
Opens 7am weekdays, 8am weekends; closes 7pm Wed to Fri; otherwise 4pm
Granola $12; Astoria coffee $4 black; t-Leaf tea
Update: Astoria is scheduled to close for good on 24 December 2020 just shy of 25 years operation. Plans are to open an Italian restaurant in the space. The owners, Yu Group, claim the place is not making enough money. This seems surprising, since it always seems well patronised to me, including even by our prime minister.
Astoria has been going since 1996 and is a Wellington institution at the corporate and public servant end of town. Described as vintage European in feel, with bentwood chairs, a huge counter, and outdoor seating, it faces onto Midland Park. The granola photo on the café’s website looks wonderful, so I was keen to see what it was like.
As it turned out, what I was served did bear a resemblance to the website photo, but with missing ingredients of preserved peaches and flower petals, so it was a rather lesser affair, and not worth a special trip to the far end of town after all. Hum! On the other hand, there was nothing really wrong with it. The muesli was fairly standard café granola, with smallish sized oat grains toasted a golden brown, plus coconut shred, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and dried raisins and pawpaw. The mix was fairly dry, suggesting that it hadn’t been roasted in too much syrup/honey or oil. It was very similar to what is on offer at Pravda.
The granola was topped first by stewed rhubarb mixed, I think, with berry compote, and then covered in a creamy (Zany Zeus?) yoghurt attractively sprinkled with seeds. A small jug of milk accompanied the muesli and was necessary to add some moisture to the dry mix. The serving size and proportions of granola, stewed fruit and yoghurt were about right.
Astoria roast their own coffee on the premises and there is a machine right in the dining area. The coffee seemed quite strong for an Americano, and my companion judged her short black stronger than average too. She had scrambled eggs, which were pronounced good, but a bit buttery in taste. We were there at about 7.50am on a weekday morning and the place was about half-to-a-third full, with ebbs and flows over the next 40 mins. The café is popular throughout the day but is also large, so you can generally find a seat and noise doesn’t seem to be an issue.
Good, standard granola, nicely presented but not as nicely as the café’s website photo. Spacious environment with outside seating.
Reviewed September 2019.
Menus, ingredients and opening hours may change. Check with eatery before you visit.