119 Dixon St, Te Aro, Wellington
Opens 8am daily; closes 3pm (post-Covid hours)
Porridge $14, granola; Flight coffee (incl filter and cold); Tea Drop (black teas) and Libertine (herbal and green) teas
Hangar has a place in my heart. It was there that I was introduced to the pleasure of filter coffee by a friendly and helpful barista. I suddenly understood that the cappuccinos I had been drinking for so long conveyed little of the subtle tastes of coffee. And the delicious and amazing looking muesli I was served (not photographed unfortunately) made me think that maybe I should start sampling café mueslis.
You would expect with summer that porridge would be swapped to muesli on the menu. That’s what tends to happen at other eateries. Instead, the porridge I reviewed at Hangar in June (see below) was just replaced with this new version. But that’s fine, because this is pretty good porridge I’m pleased to say. Even better, perhaps.
Both old and new porridge dishes came in a shallow dish. This could be a recipe for going cold quickly, but the bowls had clearly been well pre-heated and the porridge stayed warm down to the last spoonful.
The new porridge was creamy but not so much as the old one. There was plenty of small, whole-grain rolled oats to chew on. But the porridge wasn’t so much the feature for this dish, and more its base, a foil for the fruit toppings. These included berry compote with well cooked strawberries, blackberries (I think) and blueberries. It came with lots of sweet juice that created ponds over the top of the porridge. This was over the top of a more viscous passionfruit syrup. A splodge of yoghurt was thinly dusted with nutmeg.
Now for the old porridge. I’m covering it here too because it was interesting, and they might always bring it back. It was cooked with milk and cream and was very rich, but pleasantly so. On the top was an apple and rhubarb compote that was neither too sour nor sweet, and beneath this quite a tart and runny yoghurt. And there was a sprinkling of cinnamon over the porridge. The menu did describe it as spiced porridge, but the dusting of cinnamon was so light it barely warranted the name.
OK, porridge galore here, because they do keep changing it. The above photo shows what I had in March 2021. It was listed on the menu as creamy porridge with blueberry compote, grilled almonds, natural yoghurt and maple syrup. It wasn’t quite made to spec. No sight of blueberries. And the porridge was cooked with sliced banana, so you really should call it a banana porridge. It was creamy (cooked with some milk), the yoghurt was coconut yoghurt, and there were freeze dried raspberries on top, plus the maple syrup. I had to ask for milk to go with it.
I also asked why granola was off the menu and why the porridge was different from what I had only 6 months ago. Not much demand for the granola apparently. And the previous porridge was a summer sort and this was more a winter porridge. Fair enough, and it was perfectly fine, but I preferred the more fruity summer one.
I had great service on the second occasion I visited. There were no newspapers to read, but the waitress went out and bought me one. And the last cup of the currently promoted Monteverde (Colombia) batch filter coffee I ordered turned out to have been delivered to another customer, so I was given a gratis cup of Parami single origin from Timor-Leste while a new batch of the Monteverde was brewed. The Parami was quite fruity, and so perhaps not the best foil for this particular porridge, but delicious nevertheless, and may be my future coffee of choice.
Patronage seems good in this post-Covid lockdown period, with the place about a third or even half full on weekday mornings but packed out around midday in the weekend. I always wonder if Hangar gets spill-over from the hotel opposite in the mornings as guest seek something better than a standard hotel breakfast.
The summer porridge presents very attractively, with the red of the compote juice contrasting with the yellow of the passionfruit and its black seeds. And the yellow daisies are a finishing touch that lift the appearance from nice to wow! As far as taste goes, the whole is fairly liquid, sweet and fruity. A plus at Hangar is always great filter coffee and free sparkling water.
Reviewed June & October 2020 and March 2021.
Menus, ingredients and opening hours may change. Check with eatery before you visit.