259 Jackson St, Petone, Lower Hutt
Opens 8am Tues to Fri, 8.30am weekend; closes 2.30pm Tues to Fri, 3pm weekend; closed Mon
Muesli $16; Rocket coffee, t-Leaf-T tea
Comes and Goes is towards the eastern end of Jackson St, a couple of blocks distant from the main cluster of shops, cafes and restaurants. I don’t know where the name comes from, but I guess it is memorable. Being away from foot traffic the place does need to a special identity. Other distinctive features are its Instagrammable presentation of dishes, unusual combinations of ingredients and cooking traditions, and sparse but tasteful interior design.
I was offered several options to start: a choice of milk (plant or cow) and yoghurt as an alternative to milk. It was 50c extra for the yoghurt, which I received in its own bowl. I discovered that the muesli was very dry, so I had to ask for some milk anyway as there wasn’t enough yoghurt to wet it for my taste.
I was surprised to find the dish topped with some sprouts and larger leaves. They added an attractive and edible flourish as well as a delicate counter to the richer and heavier ingredients. Beneath there was diced kiwifruit, a couple of slices of orange (with skin still on), diced banana, a half poached pear, a berry compote (raspberries and blueberries), and a cocoa coconut panna cotta.
And beneath this all again was a strongly toasted oaty muesli with sunflower and pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and slices of skinned almond (I think). I don’t think there was any dried fruit at all (good!) Some might call it granola, and some clumping of the oats into crunchy pieces seemed to be present but I will stick with what the café calls it. Oh, and buckwheat was toasted over the whole dish and sprinklings of chocolate crumble or something similar lined the sides.
There were so many ingredients that it would take me too much space to cover them all. A few things then: I would have liked a knife to cut the poached pear. I have complained about this elsewhere. In trying to slice it with my spoon it slipped out of my bowl, along with some of the muesli, making a bit of a mess on the table. The compote was great – not stewed with a whole lot of sugar, the raspberries were tasty and the blueberries were plump. I don’t know why the rind was left on the orange. I had to tear it off with my fingers and teeth and leave it on the table.
I really appreciated the quantity of fresh fruit, and the fact that the muesli was nutty and without apparent added sugar. But I did find it all a bit too chocolatey. I like chocolate as much as the next person, but it seems to be in everything these days and more restraint is needed. The chocolate around the sides and the panna cotta in the middle added up to too much for me. The sweetness of the panna cotta didn’t help. It all ended up being a bit rich and took a long time to eat.
The batch filter coffee was fine and came in a nice pottery mug. No newspapers. I didn’t get a very clear answer as to whether that was a temporary or long term policy. There was very pleasant, quiet music in the background. In fact the place in general was extremely quiet. There were about eight of us between 8.30 and 9.15 on a Saturday morning and nobody was making any noise. Just an occasional hiss from the espresso machine. I had turned up early due to reports of the place being full up in weekends, but there didn’t look like much chance of that. However, viewing Google stats does show that numbers rise sharply towards midday on weekends and are always modest for the first hour or so.
There was a small selection of nice-looking counter food. I took away a massive slice of orange cake loaf that cost just $4 and lasted me three days.
Very interesting and complex dish in which the muesli is but one part amongst many. Nicely presented. Too much chocolate in it for my taste though. Take that out and I’d be back for more. I may well come back for the other items on offer though, and to enjoy the very soothing atmosphere. I’d like to read a newspaper while I was there, but perhaps that would mess up the minimalist Scandinavian design ethic!
Reviewed September 2020.
Menus, ingredients and opening hours may change. Check with eatery before you visit.