1 Marion St, Te Aro, Wellington
Opens 7.30am weekdays, 9am Sat; closes 5.30pm, or 3pm Sat; closed Sun
Granola $13.50, Peoples Coffee (incl filter), Libertine tea
Bicycle Junction is a bike shop with a café. Bookshops with cafés have been around for a while, so I guess this builds on the idea. With e-bikes booming in popularity, suddenly a bike shop is no longer just a place for bike freaks. There is an awful lot to chose from and new technology means some bikes can cost as much as a second-hand car. So you will want to talk about the ins and outs of different models and customisations with a sales person and then perhaps literally chew it over in-store.
I enjoyed this granola. It consisted of some seeds or grains (quinoa? buckwheat?) mixed with a liquid and baked into crunchy lumps. Nuts – slivered almonds, cashews and pecan – plus pumpkin and sunflower seeds, dried apricot and cranberries, and finally coconut shred had been added later. I didn’t detect much sugar, though the base had that high carb, baked grain kind of taste of a granola constructed this way.
A jar of the stuff sits on the front counter, so you can have a good look at it there before you order. It is labelled gluten free, so I assume there are no oats.
The granola was topped with plain, unsweetened, stewed rhubarb, diced banana and coconut yoghurt. I would prefer a more acid fruit like orange to offset the high carbohydrate taste of the base rather than something like banana which just compounds it.
I had filter coffee in a mug and it was pretty good. And on another day tea and a date scone. The tea was a good brand – Libertine – and the strength was spot on for me but the broken teapot hinge annoyed. The pot was perfectly functional of course, but those little things… They wouldn’t sell me a bike here with a broken spoke would they?
The date and cheese scones are interesting. They are made of layered dough. I wasn’t sure there was enough cheese in the cheese scone, so I had the date instead. As usual, I was concerned about exactly how it would be re-heated but the serving person assured me she would never ruin such unique scones by squashing them in a sandwich press. She simply let my whole scone toast unpressed in one. Which worked just fine.
What did I think of it? OK. Not light and fluffy exactly, but not heavy or doughy either. Something a bit different.
You wouldn’t think you could get many tables into a cycle store, but I figured the place might seat about 20. And there is a boxed-off bit of Marion St outside that is sometimes used too. The long table in the centre is not a particularly attractive place to sit, but there is a good one by the corner window. And it all depends whether you have company. If you are on your own I reckon you want a good seat. With other people, you are more focused on them.
By the corner seat I mentioned there is a small bookcase of well-thumbed cycling and travel books to read. And one copy of the DomPost is offered for patrons to catch up on the daily news.
The building is quite plain but the (now fading) paint job makes it looks as though it possesses columns, bay windows, architraves and large faceted bricks. This is courtesy of a trompe l’oeil design by a company called Quadrature that was painted in 1990. The depiction of a streetwalker leaning against the building (at right in the photos) was a clever, unexpected addition and caused a bit of a stir at the time. This was when nearby Vivian St was the centre of Wellington’s red light district.
Pretty good granola, and made without oil or sugary substances. I’d prefer something less carb rich and bland than banana to go with it. Excellent coffee, so–so tea, unusual scones. And a pleasant environment if you can nab a good seat. No need to buy a bike, nor indeed have any knowledge of, or interest in, bikes.
Reviewed August 2021.
Menus, ingredients and opening hours may change. Check with eatery before you visit.