199/201 Ohiro Road, Brooklyn, Wellington
Opens 8am Tues–Fri, 9am weekend; closes 4pm weekdays, 5pm weekend; closed Mon
Granola (muesli) $15.50; Havana coffee, Libertine teas
Brooklyn Deli is located right next door to the Penthouse Cinema in the suburb of Brooklyn. It describes itself as an Austrian bakery, cafe and pantry and indeed you can buy or eat many Austrian specialties here, including rye sourdough breads, apple strudel and Kaiserschmarrn’. I used to visit the place for the delicious apple strudel (served with optional runny custard) and the pleasant, relaxed vibe. Recently I thought I’d return to see how they might serve muesli.
The toasted muesli (they call it granola but no, it is definitely not), was served with a separate small bowl of very sweet stewed rhubarb in syrup. Interesting. I guess if you put it on the muesli it would completely soak it in a light syrup, so the idea is to add what you want. It does make for a nice presentation too.
In fact, presentation was where I would score this dish most highly. The muesli itself just annoyed me. It was the usual catering pack variety, which if not actually from a catering pack, then followed the standard formula of large, toasted oat grains, sunflower, pumpkin seeds, coconut shred, almonds, and plenty of dried raisins, cranberries and pawpaw. The one variation is that it had cashew nuts as well. I just find eating all that chewy dried fruit makes me feel ill with sugar overload. Fortunately the muesli grains did not appear to be toasted in syrup or honey, as there was very little sugar in my usual residual milk test.
Getting back to presentation, the muesli was topped with a couple of slices each of banana and black doris plum on top of a runny yoghurt. They were accompanied by fresh mint leaves, and a sprinkle of crushed macadamia nuts and cinnamon powder. Nice. I’d like more fruit though. And the yoghurt wasn’t enough to moisten the whole bowl of muesli, so I had to ask for a jug of milk.
The Americano coffee was fine. I forgot to check whether they serve Viennese coffee. Will do so next time I pop in for bread or strudel. Oh, and if you want to see what else they serve besides the good range of counter food, here is the menu, as it isn’t online.
What I like best about the café is the environment. It is comfortable and full of light, even though it faces away from the morning sun. It’s woody too. No acoustically noisy industrial-style polished concrete floors, full-height windows and concrete ceiling here. Instead we have wooden floors, stripped wooden window frames, and (mostly) rustic tables. It is more like an opened up house, and indeed, maybe this is what it is, or at least a former suburban shop cum home with the dividing wall removed.
Woodiness is taken to more literal lengths with a striking wood wall – a densely packed feature of hundreds of cross-section disks of tree trunks. It is kind of like a slice through a firewood pile, or a compressed forest.
There are more subtle decor features too. On the walls are what look like 1960s-era photographs of Vienna, though I could be wrong about the date and place. They are small, so you have to look closely at them, and they add a sense of homeliness with their evocation of another time and place that could conceivably belong to the owners’ personal history.
Muesli very nicely presented but disappointingly routine in its composition. Surprising that they don’t do something more in the bircher line, or untoasted muesli, given the adjacency of Austria’s alpine regions with those of Switzerland. Pleasant, homely environment of the sort often found in Wellington’s suburban cafés.
Reviewed March 2020
Menus, ingredients and opening hours may change. Check with eatery before you visit.