62 Ghuznee St, Te Aro, Wellington
Opens 11am Tues–Fri, 10am weekends; closes late, closed Mon
Granola $15; Peoples coffee, Harney & Sons tea
Choice Bros is down a long, covered alley off Ghuznee St, opposite Glover Park. It is best known as a bar, with a micro-brewery attached. You walk past dozens of beer barrels to get to it and the ambience of the seating part includes the brewing paraphernalia at back. Fairy lights guide you to the premises, and while it might look like a dark hideout in the daytime, there is natural light down at the brewing end that spills onto the soft-seat area.
Choice Bros was Husk until mid-2020. I think Husk might have even been owned by Choice before they rebranded it. I reviewed the muesli there and it wasn’t bad. The good thing is that Husk opened at around 8am in the morning, but now, as Choice Bros, it doesn’t open until 10 in the weekends and 11am in the week. So you can’t really call it a breakfast place today. What’s more, the brunch menu, including granola, is only served in the weekends.
Still, I liked sitting in the soft seats at Husk, with the brewery section glowing, bubbling and whirring in the background, so I thought it was worth waiting about until 10am on a Saturday to have granola in its new incarnation as Choice.
Well, one good thing is that you can now get filter coffee here, and the price difference between a single mug and bottomless is only a dollar. It doesn’t come in quite such a nice pottery mug, and it seemed a littler watery, but these are minor issues.
The granola is billed as ‘dark chocolate granola’ and indeed it is. So dark I couldn’t really see what was in it aside from oats. The menu mentioned almonds but they were not obvious, though I think there may have been some seeds and nuts. What was clear was an abundance of dark chocolate pieces besides the chocolate-soaked oats. I do like dark chocolate, so I gobbled everything up… and then felt rather sick. Lucky I planned to spend the rest of the day walking 35km. I’m sure the breakfast kept me fueled for at least 20k of that.
The only other ingredients in the dish are puffed grains (I’m not sure what sort), freeze-dried raspberries (co-incidentally or not, also used to top the muesli at Husk), and a small amount of coconut yoghurt.
This is not a lot of change to the environment since it became Choice Bros, apart from the big swirling pink logo around the outer seating and the psychedelic one on the painted door. The brewing machinery remains a little noisy and newspapers are still not supplied. But the previous interesting selection of background music has gone way downhill to inoffensive poppy rubbish.
The big thing though is the change of opening hours. No longer can hipster dudes and people on the way to work pop in for an early morning coffee. There were only a few of us, it is true, so I can see why it made economic sense to start later.
Nice atmosphere in the plush seats with natural lighting from a skylight behind, and filter coffee is available. But the granola has far too much chocolate in it, it’s only served on weekends, and then not before 10am. And there are no newspapers. So not worth it now really. And if you do go, best visit this cave-like retreat on a miserable day when its lack of window to the outside world makes no difference.
Reviewed January 2021.
Menus, ingredients and opening hours may change. Check with eatery before you visit.