278 Willis St, Te Aro, Wellington
Opens 9am weekends, 11.30am weekdays; closes late
Porridge $12, bircher muesli $11; L’affare coffee, filter $4, t-leaf T tea
The Bresolin is in an old house/ shop (once the legendary Bar Bodega I think) with an outside area built on. This is covered over but not sealed off from the surrounding air. Vegetarians and those of a sensitive nature beware: on weekends you can occasionally expect to see a young pig being rotated on a spit above the fire in the outside area. Pretty gross in my view and I’ve tried to avoid eating here for this reason, but my duty to review as many eateries as I could called, and the porridge sounded interesting.
The porridge is made of large oat flakes, so is quite a chewy mix. It is sprinkled with chopped walnuts, roasted coconut flake and topped with a chopped banana and a dollop of peanut butter. A small amount of syrup is run over the top, but it doesn’t seem to add too much sugar. The porridge is cooked with almond milk, so OK for vegans (though a pointless bit of effort if you are blatantly displaying a dead pig, no?).
A small jug of milk was also offered, but I had to go back for a second, as the porridge is a fairly heavy, gluggy concoction, especially with the peanut butter. You need something to wash it down with. I would have preferred crunchy peanut butter as it has a less gluey consistency. Hot or warm milk might be an idea too, as the porridge takes a while to eat and goes cool in the process. The serving was generous, so the whole thing was pretty filling.
Filter coffee is served in a glass. It was poured from a Cona-style machine and I must say I found it very weak. I wasn’t expecting it to have the body and strength of an espresso, but definitely watery.
The Bresolin only does breakfasts in the weekends and then only opens at 9am, so you don’t want to be an early riser if you plan to eat here. Also, the upstairs part of the premises is reserved for evenings, so you will either be sitting on bar stools inside the entrance area or in the outdoor area. There are bar heaters above the seats around the side, but watch out for drafts on cold, windy days.
I must say it is quite a pleasant space, with its natural lighting and airiness. I imagine that even with a crowd it wouldn’t be too noisy, though I think evening dining is rather less sedate than brunch here – long tables, flowing wine and a roasting pig makes for a rather more boisterous (Elizabethan, says a reviewer) occasion. And a qualification about noise too: the entrance to the motorway is right behind the premises, so the roar of traffic can be a distraction, depending on your tolerance level.
No pig on the day I was there, but I see them being roasted from time to time when I walk past. I guess it depends on bookings .
Interesting, hearty and filling porridge that could be tweaked just a little. Filter coffee below par. Pleasant outdoor-ish space when the weather is not windy and cold, but beware the pig.
Reviewed August 2019.