Joe’s Garage

5 Tory St, Te Aro, Wellington
Opens 8am; closes 9pm daily
Granola $12.50, porridge $11, fruit crumble $12.50; Ozone coffee, T2 tea

Joe’s Garage is a franchise that began in Queenstown and now has 14 branches all over New Zealand, including almost half in and around Christchurch. I’ve always thought of it as a burger, chips and beer kind of place that functions more in the evenings, and certainly the menu seems fairly meat heavy at least (does this say something about the South Island?) But there is granola (they call it muesli), fruit crumble with oats, and porridge.

The granola is very nut rich and has no dried fruit at all (yay on both counts). It is surprisingly cheap for such a nut rich blend, especially given that the helping is generous. The menu says toasted macadamia nuts, cashews, oats, almonds and coconut. Yes, they are all there, as well as sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds. The oats are bound together in clumps with something a bit sticky like honey or syrup (which is why I’m calling it granola), and indeed, there was a fair amount of sugar dissolved in my milk when I got to the bottom of the bowl.

Missing from the listed menu ingredients in my bowl was yoghurt. I asked the waitress when I finished and had examined the menu again. She apologised. Its absence was an oversight. I really must memorise menu descriptions in future as this isn’t the first time significant ingredients have been left out of my café breakfasts. I was also disappointed at the small quantity of fresh fruit in the form of apple slices. With such a rich offering of roasted nuts you need something to balance them out which tastes fresh and, well, fruity.

Joes Garage - view down table

What I really enjoyed at Joe’s was the coffee. It had a very distinctive taste, and though an espresso-made Americano (served in a mug) it tasted as though it was a single origin filter coffee. I was also offered hot water at my table with it, but there was plenty of volume in the mug and its strength seemed good.

However, when I told a colleague about my interesting coffee experience she said she stopped going to Joe’s because the quality was very uneven and on one occasion was the worst cup she had ever had. Different staff I guess. So I went back a few weeks later and this time the coffee was perfectly fine, and again a generous serve, but didn’t seem anything remarkable.

Joes Garage - back wall

There were not very many people seated on a weekday morning around 8.45am, which did mean I could grab one of the comfy bench seats. No newspapers, but that may be a post-Covid hangover. Slightly annoying pop music was playing in the background.

Joes Garage - exterior

Best things: lots of nuts, generous serving, modest price, distinctive coffee, comfortable seats. Not so good: too much sugar, not enough fresh fruit, yoghurt omitted in error.

Reviewed June 2020.
Menus, ingredients and opening hours may change. Check with eatery before you visit.

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