11 Egmont St, Te Aro, Wellington
Opens 7am weekdays, 8am Sat, 9am Sun; closes late Tue to Sat, 2pm Mon and Sun
Bircher $14, Granola $13; Coconut pudding $14; Eight-thirty coffee; Libertine teas
The Egmont St Eatery is easy to miss, being situated in a long lane running parallel to Eva and Leeds streets, and partly below pavement level. It is quite an up-market establishment though, with excellent service and catering more to lunch and dinner diners than those popping in for a takeaway coffee on the way to work.
I was expecting a bowl of fairly liquid mush when I ordered bircher muesli and was surprised to see the quite mix piled up as though it was granola. It was partly resting on a layer of yoghurt (Zany Zeus?) and had a wipe of brown apple butter on the other side. It was topped with stewed rhubarb, kiwifruit slices and chopped fresh pear, and the whole drizzled with honey. I really don’t know what was in the bircher. Sunflower seeds, almond slivers and a few cranberries for sure; maybe buckwheat groats, and traces of fresh fruit, but I’m not certain if there were any oats or grated apple.
The total effect was something quite pleasantly chewy and substantial. And if it wasn’t for the sugar in the honey and the sweet apple butter I would have come away feeling I’d eaten something pretty healthy. I was offered milk if I wanted it, and accepted, but it wasn’t necessary, so I left the ample jug untouched. The Americano coffee I had was OK.
As you can see from the photos the layout of the place is split level, with higher tables and stools in the pavement-level part and a row of regular tables and padded seats in the lower. The sense of being in a pit feels cosy in this second part. I counted five people when I arrived at 8am on a weekday, and this only grew to eight when three others joined the two guys you can see for a business meeting.
You can just see cheese scones piles on the corner of the counter in the photo above. They looked good so I came back to try one with a cup of tea. The tea was good (nice teapot too), but I would rate the scones pretty good but not excellent.
Though the place does have a fairly meat oriented menu there is a statement at the end of the lunch and dinner menus about making vegetables the hero, aiming for zero waste by using every part of each food item, making as much as possible in-house, only serving line-caught fish, stocking organic wines, and so on.
Yet another interesting variation on bircher muesli. The bircher itself was great but I would have preferred it without the drizzled honey. Nice atmosphere and very engaged service. I’ll be back to try something else.
Reviewed September 2019.
Menus, ingredients and opening hours may change. Check with eatery before you visit.