410 The Esplanade, Island Bay, Wellington
Opens 8am Wed to Sun; closes 4pm weekdays, 5pm weekends
Granola $14; Supreme coffee, Harney and Sons tea
Beach House & Kiosk is on Wellington’s rugged south coast, between Island Bay and Owhiro Bay. It was previously called the Bach, and its food reputation was not that good. Things have looked up since then however, with a new owner and chef (both formerly of Elements in Lyall Bay), and it is very popular on weekends.
I’m not quite sure whether to call The Beach House granola simply toasted muesli or granola, but I’ll give the eatery owners the benefit of the doubt and stick with their designation. It is certainly highly toasted to a rich brown colour, but remains soft and dry, and not at all crunchy, suggesting that there is little honey or syrup in it. This was confirmed by my patented ‘residual milk taste test’ – drinking the milk left at the bottom of the bowl after eating the granola. It wasn’t very sweet.
The granola includes small oat flakes, whole almonds, sunflower and sesame seeds, raisins, dried pawpaw or apricot, and both coconut flakes and shred. The coconut has unfortunately been toasted with the granola, destroying its taste. The mixture was topped with a rather small blob of creamy house-made yoghurt. A sprinkling of blueberries and strawberries completed the dish.
As you can see, I had tea with the granola. This came in a decently sized cast iron teapot that allowed several pours into a proper tea cup. No coffee cup used here and no dribbles from the pot, though it could have used a coaster to stop staining the nice varnished tables. So good marks for the tea.
My companion had the open sandwich and voiced her general approval, though was disappointed that the toasted bread under the topping was cold and a bit soggy.
The decor has apparently been improved since this place was The Bach, but the flourishes of a green wallpapered wall and the scalloped tile counter don’t seem to integrate well to me.
But if the interior is not all that wonderful the view from the front deck is pretty stunning. On a calm day it is the place to be; in a southerly you will need to be hardy. And in a northerly, wind may gust down from the high hills above, so expect a few draughts.
There is a water trough provided for dogs. So there is a brownie point here for dog friendliness, but whether the ‘dog parking’ sign is a subtle way of saying you can’t take your dog onto the deck I’m not sure. Maybe its just a humorous way of pointing out the trough. On the day I was there a small dog tied up at the sign was constantly and annoyingly yapping, signalling its wish to be with its owner.
The Kiosk is to the rear and is simply another eatery, with the emphasis on counter food. I guess it works as an overflow and for those just wanting a snack. The decor feels a bit more coherent here, though none of the customers to The Beach House & Kiosk popped into the Kiosk part when I visited. Maybe it comes into its own on weekend afternoons when people are on an outing.
Certainly the eatery seems very much a weekend venue visited by families and outdoor blokes (it’s off-roading, fishing and scuba diving territory). The Google patronage graphs show huge popularity in the weekend and very little on the three weekdays the place is open. It is the sort of place people visit by car or bicycle, though buses (no. 29) do pass by and its not far to walk from Island Bay.
Great location, though interior of venue not terribly inspiring or attractive. Good granola that needs a little something extra to take it to the next level. Very good tea.
Reviewed December 2019.