7 Burma Rd, cnr Baroda St, Khandallah, Wellington
Opens 8am weekends, 7am Tues to Fri; closes 4pm
Porridge $14, Granola $14; Karamu coffee, Twinings tea
Dunshea’s Deli is on the main road between Ngaio and Johnsonville, not far from Khandallah Park (which has its own café, without breakfast cereals). It is small, with seating for only about twelve people at one large and three tiny tables inside, and about eight-to-ten in the covered exterior. It does double duty as a deli, so some customers don’t stay to sit.
I turned up at about 8.15 on a Saturday winter’s morning and from a distance thought I was going to be the first arrival. That is, until I opened the door and saw the same man who I photographed in my visit in January sitting at the exact same spot at the big table. And then a couple at the tiny tables beneath the blackboard menu. I opted for the seating outside under the verandah that’s sheltered with clear plastic sheeting and comes with polar-fleece blankets draped over the chair backs (there is an overhead heater too).
I revisited Dunshea’s for the porridge because it is listed as made from steel-cut oats. This is not so common at eateries, due perhaps to the extra time it takes to prepare and customer unfamiliarity with it, though aficionados say that it is the only true form of porridge.
This version is described on the menu as honey roasted. It certainly had a different flavour and texture from out-of-the-packet steel cut oats, such as that made by Harraways, which is cut and crushed so much that half it is oat meal. Here you have something more whole grain and chewy. I was reminded very much of frumenty when you make this from cracked wheat. I really enjoyed it. Here’s a close-up so you can see the very grainy (and brown) part-husked oats.
Plump fresh (or maybe frozen) blueberries were mixed into the porridge and it was topped with Greek yoghurt and some walnuts. I thought the whole thing was pretty good. I was pleased there was no sprinkling or sugar or drizzle of honey and I didn’t seem to need milk (nor was it offered). If I was making it myself I think I would put in a few more berries and definitely more walnuts.
Although the tea was listed as plain old Twinings I decided to give it a go to see if this place could do that rarity or rarities, good tea. No, not especially. The tea came in a decent sized pot (enough for about three cups) that poured well even when full and it was about the right strength. But it was a tea bag, no hot water was offered and the cup was a coffee cup. As for the taste of my English Breakfast tea: OK, but meh really.
There is no online menu, so here is a shot of the blackboard that lists the offerings in early July 2020.
Excellent porridge. I really liked the graininess of it. To be really special it could have had a bit of something more. I’d go with extra nuts and maybe cream, but that might double up on the Greek yoghurt. Maybe I just needed a coffee with it. The environment is not exactly a place to relax and linger in a corner, though newspapers are supplied.
Reviewed July 2020.
Menus, ingredients and opening hours may change. Check with eatery before you visit.