171 Willis St, Te Aro, Wellington
Opens 7am weekdays, 8.30am weekends; closes 3pm and reopens for dinner 5.30 Wed–Sat
Muesli $16; Red Rabbit coffee (incl filter); Libertine teas
Goldmine Co. is on the corner of Dixon and Willis streets in premises formerly occupied by the high-end sex shop D-Vice and just around the corner from one of my favourite cafes, Hangar. It features a wall-sized mirror facing the windows on Willis St (a left over from the sex shop?) which gives the illusion of the space being much bigger than it is. It changed hands since I first reviewed its muesli in October 2019, so I’ve updated this to the current, quite different offering.
The muesli is a highly toasted, nut rich mix, with burnt rice grains. It is toasted in cocoa powder I believe. The menu describes the dish as ‘coco toasted muesli’ containing oats, nuts, seeds, maple cream, fruit and plant or dairy milk. I don’t know about the maple cream (that seemed like coconut yoghurt on the top, but I could be wrong), and the fruit is stewed fruit, with pear, kiwifruit and strawberries. No fresh or dried fruit. The muesli had whole and broken almonds, hazel nuts and walnuts and was very crunchy. I had to ask for extra milk (which seemed to be soy milk, though I didn’t ask for that) to wet the mix sufficiently.
You may notice a difference in the muesli between the photo above and the one at the top. That’s because I’ve had it twice, the second time just to be sure the burnt grains of rice weren’t a mistake. They were in both but not so dominant in my second bowl. I raise the subject because I’m really not sure if the taste of burn grains is something to savour or put you off.
I had tea on another day. It was the Wellington organic brand Libertine (English Breakfast). I can’t say there was anything remarkable about it. The tea (in a tea bag) came in a good sized, iron Chinese tea pot which accommodated about two to three cups. It poured well. The cup was a coffee cup, but reasonably shaped for tea. The tea wasn’t very hot. I asked for more hot water, which seemed to cause a bit of consternation. It was given to me in a strange glass sort of beaker but was definitely hot enough to perk things up.
I also had a cheese scone at another time. It had kawakawa in it but I didn’t really pick that up very strongly, though there seemed to be a garlicy taste. Maybe that was the butter, which definitely did have some green leaves in it. It was a reasonably light scone, though not with a lot of cheese in it. I rate this quite a good scone, but if you want something really cheesy then this isn’t it.
The new owners had a large mural painted on one wall that depicts the 19th century packaging of Gowans and Sons’ Miners Soap, an odd choice of product for an eatery (and an American product at that). It is very well done though.
There is also a rather nice dog bed near the door. Well, I think that’s what it is, unless its a spot to lay a sleepy toddler to rest.
The music when I have been at Goldmine has been quite varied, but a little bit loud. However, the speakers are in the corner by the mirror (which might be the best seat) and above the counter, so you can always park yourself away from them. There used to be newspapers on offer, but they were stopped during Covid lockdown and a re-subscription has not currently been activated.
There were about 12 or so people present at 8am on each of the weekdays I visited and this number stayed steady for the next half hour. There is plenty of space, so this number still gave me room to spread out. However, I will say that when I walk past in the mornings it never gets more people than this, including on the weekends, while the nearby Hangar and Neo are always buzzing. In its previous incarnation I felt that the place lacked character and identity in its menu and décor. This has probably now been dealt with, especially by offering evening meals, yet still patronage seems low.
A very nutty muesli that is highly toasted. I didn’t really appreciate the addition of burnt rice grains, but they do give it a distinctive edge. Also, the stewed fruit seemed a bit bland and non-descript. A comfortable enough place to sit, with bench seats on the Dixon St side. Chemix filter coffee is offered at $8 but not cheaper filter options.
Reviewed November 2020.
Menus, ingredients and opening hours may change. Check with eatery before you visit.