54 Cuba St, Te Aro, Wellington
Opens 4pm Tues–Fri, 10am weekend; closes late Tue to Sat, 3pm Sun
Bircher muesli $16; Rich Coffee Co (filter & espresso coffee), Noble & Savage tea
Highwater Eatery is in lower Cuba St and opened in 2019. It has the appearance of a bar, with a long, thin shape and a single row of tables. Indeed it serves food and drink until late from Tuesday to Saturday. In fact, it used to open at 8am on weekdays but post-Covid lockdowns it has cut right back to being just an evening place in the week. What’s more the muesli has gone right off the brunch menu. Oh well, them’s the breaks with food reviewing: you pay your money and put some time into writing something up and then it becomes redundant. I will leave this page running in the hope Highwater returns to some sort of cereal dish in the future, because it is a good eatery.
The bircher muesli is unusual in that it isn’t the porridge of soaked oats typically served up in cafés, but something much closer to Bircher-Brenner’s original recipe of mostly apple and a small proportion of soaked oats. The apples here are organic what’s more, are grated. Mixed in are sugar-coated whole nuts (I detected almonds, macadamia and possibly peanuts). Broken sheets of linseeds are included and the dish is topped with several sheets of ‘fruit glass’.
There is no yoghurt (unless this is subtly combined in the mix) and accompanying milk is not necessary as the mixture is moist enough on its own. I think I would prefer the nuts without the sugar coating, but maybe that would be a dish too spartan for some people.
Coffee includes single origin filter coffee and this is served in a mug, which nicely reduces heat loss. My coffee wasn’t all that hot the first time I visited but plenty hot the second. Counter food is negligible (and that includes no cheese scones).
Service was great and the muesli appeared at my table very quickly, though there were only four other customers at 8.30 on a weekday morning. Low patronage in the morning seems usual when I walk by, but Highwater fills up in the evening. Newspapers were available (including both the Herald and Dominion Post) and I think there were magazines as well. There is a sustainability statement on the eatery’s website – a rare thing indeed as of 2019, but hopefully something we will see more of. Well done.
Something different from your average muesli. Drink includes filter coffee in a mug. Quiet, sophisticated atmosphere, fast service, and an environmental awareness philosophy.
Reviewed August 2019.
Menus, ingredients and opening hours may change. Check with eatery before you visit.