Capitol

10 Kent Terrace, Mt Victoria, Wellington
Opens 9.30am weekends for brunch; closes 3pm; opens at 12 for lunch weekdays; opens at 5.30 for dinner everyday
Porridge $12.50; Gibbston coffee, T-2 tea (to change in future)

Capitol Restaurant is a smallish, one room restaurant on the corner next to the Embassy Theatre. It’s main focus is upmarket lunch and dinners, and it is not open for breakfast during the week. Even in the weekend it only opens at the gentlemanly hour of 9.30am. I guess it takes a little while to wander down from the penthouse apartments of Oriental Bay or the mansions of Roseneath.

Porridge and coffee at Capitol Restaurant

Ginger porridge with house honey and roasted cashew sounded a bit different from your average, so I gave it a go. The oats were large, coarse, rolled flakes, lightly cooked in milk. Mixed in with them were slivers or lumps of crystalised ginger. Interesting. I’m not sure where the honey was, but I guess mixed in as well, as the oats and milk were quite sweet. I’d suggest that the ginger alone supplies enough sweetness for the honey to be dispensed with.

There was a pretty generous sprinkling of roasted cashews over the oats. The curious thing was that the oats on top seemed dried out, as though they had been a plate sitting around for a few days. Surely not. Perhaps the plate had been grilled, or put in the oven, but this would have made the china hot and melted the icing sugar (I guess). Maybe one of those kitchen flame guns had been used. Whatever the case, the porridge was very hot and I had to wait a while (and ask for some milk) before I could tackle it.

The dish as a whole was pleasantly chewy – not a plate of porridge mush at all. And finding those bits of ginger here and there added interest. The serving was so large I couldn’t finish it, though this was also partly the due to its sweetness.

No filter coffee available, but the Americano was really good.

I turned up about 10 minutes after opening on a Sunday and already there were six or seven people there and within half an hour the place was almost half-full. Music was played in the background, but not of the annoying type or volume. I didn’t see any reading material and when I asked if there was a newspaper there was discussion amongst staff about going and buying one, but somehow that was forgotten as more people turned up.

Capitol Restaurant exterior view
Conclusion

Small and perfectly formed in some respects, the fine dining eatery Capitol does an interesting, chewy porridge. Pity it focuses on brunch in the weekends at the expense of the breakfast part of the meal by opening so late.

Reviewed October 2019.

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