128 Wakefield St, Te Aro, Wellington
Opens 8am (or 7.30am?) weekdays, 8am (or 8.30am) weekends; closes 4pm Mon, Tues & Sun, late other days
Muesli (granola) $15, Supreme coffee, Libertine tea
Eat. Yes, it sounds like a good name for an eatery. But memorable and singular? Not so much. Searchable online? Not at all, unless you add in ‘restaurant’ and ‘Wellington’. I remember it as the more distinctively named Felix, a place that numbered amongst the Lido, Olive, L’affare and Neo as the 4 or 5 places for good coffee and food in Wellington in the 1990s. I was put off by how noisy it was, but this was before Prefab set a new high on that score.
As it happens, you won’t find Eat a noisy place for breakfast. I walk past most days on the way to work and there are never more than 3 or 4 people in there. And so it was on the weekday I visited. With the sun streaming in it seemed a most pleasant place to stop a while. (The website gives conflicting times for opening hours, and the door says 8am every day, so best to go with the latter I think).
I was served with a good sized bowl (Japanese handmade ceramic) of what is called muesli on the menu but is most definitely granola. It was shiny from honey and/or oil used in its roasting and seemed to be mostly nuts and seeds with no obvious oat flakes. The nuts included whole roasted pecans and hazelnuts. It was a very crisp mix with a pleasant crunchy texture that was never cloggy. It was covered in worms of extruded coconut yoghurt that had a nice acid bite and topped with a rather sweet berry compote. By the time I had finished eating I decided that the granola was sweeter than I like – as determined by a taste test of the sugary residual milk that had percolated to the bottom of the bowl.
The coffee was perfectly fine. It’s a pity so many cafés use an almost identical type of cup for coffee – usually brown or turquoise with white inside and a white line around the saucer rim. Has someone set a ruling about this? How much more satisfying if the granola bowl had been matched by a cup or mug of the same design. See how completely at odds they look in my photo. And see Loretta for how it should be done.
But the only thing that really spoilt my experience at Eat was discovering that the single copy of the newspaper was yesterdays, which I had already read. I asked if there was today’s paper. ‘No’ was the unelaborated answer. OK, maybe it wasn’t delivered, but an explanation might make me feel more sympathetic. So a minus for service.
A pleasant environment on a sunny morning, with a smart granola that was nicely nut and seed rich, though a little sweet.
Reviewed October 2019.