Huddart Parker Building, 1 Post Office Square, Wellington
Opens 7am weekdays, 5pm weekends; closes late
Granola $15, porridge $15; Peoples Coffee, Fine and Dandy Tea
Charley Noble Eatery & Bar is located in the heritage Huddart Parker building. Customhouse, Jervois and Aotea quays along Wellington’s waterfront were once lined with shipping industry buildings such as warehouses and offices like this.
The Huddart Parker company was an Australian line that operated from 1876 to 1961, and in this building its staff managed the movement of ships and their cargoes of freight and passengers across the Tasman. Much of the original fabric of the Chicago-style 1925 building is intact, including the impressive marbled entrance off Grey St to the Charley Noble eatery.
Charley Noble is an award-winning restaurant using wood fired cooking and with a weighting towards seafood on the menu. It offers granola and porridge, though the latter is only available in the colder months.
The granola dish I sampled had a plentiful and attractively arrayed variety of fresh fruit on top. Underneath, was a very sweet granola (honey is listed as an ingredient on the menu) chock-full of dried fruit. With so much fresh fruit present the dried version just seems redundant to me. Better to add other things like nuts and seeds to fill out the taste of the oats.
In the photo below I’ve dug through the fruit so to show you the granola beneath. Coconut yoghurt is swirled around the bowl. This method of presentation does add a bit of style, but I like to be able to locate my yoghurt, not painstakingly scrape it together from the sides of the bowl to make up a spoonful.
My companion had scrambled eggs and bacon on toast ($13), and I have to say that in contrast to the granola this was presented with little style at all (apart from the syrup drizzle). The eggs looked overcooked to me, but this was appreciated by someone who dislikes their scrambled egg to have any hint of runniness.
Charley Noble is a nick-name sailors used for the chimney that carried smoke and heat away from the galley stove on sailing ships. They in turn named it after a Captain Charles Noble who insisted his men keep the chimney’s copper surface bright. Like the eatery’s decor colours that represent the livery of the once proud Huddart Parker Shipping Line, the Charley Noble name reflects the venue’s nautical past (and its wood fueled stoves).
The eatery space is cavernous, and only sparsely populated on the weekday morning I was there. But I believe it comes alive after 5pm with office workers from the CBD and on weekend evenings with a mixed crowd of diners.
The venue offers a hint of an era when the port was at the commercial centre of Wellington. The large hall-like space makes for a fairly solitary breakfast experience though. Granola was attractively presented with fresh fruit but had little to offer in itself.
Reviewed November 2019