5 Tory St, Te Aro, Wellington
Opens 8am; closes 9pm daily
Porridge $11, granola $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 hums more in the evenings, and certainly the menu seems fairly meat heavy. But there is both granola and porridge, which is unusual, as most eateries offer just one or the other according to the season. And you can also have fruit crumble with warm rhubarb, apple and plum – either for breakfast I guess, or as pudding in the evening.
My porridge was a generous serve and came nice and hot. It was made from smallish-grain rolled oats and was fairly chewy. It was served with two pieces of banana sliced lengthwise, one submerged in the porridge, the other lying above. Sprinkled over the top were toasted sliced almonds. They looked good, and were crispy, but when you toast almonds slices to a chocolate brown you have toasted out the taste. Good texture, but they might as well have been wood chips. The porridge came with a bowl of brown sugar and a jug of cream.
I’ve had mixed experiences with Americano coffee at Joe’s. The first time it had a very distinctive and interesting taste, as though it was single origin. I was offered a jug of hot water with it on this occasion too. It made me really keen to go back, but the second time it was pretty average or even less than average. And on the third, it was somewhere in between. Good that it was served in a mug each time though.
Based on three visits, I can confidently say you can get your choice of seat nearly any time during the morning on a weekday. There were about eight customers at 9.30 on the morning I was there for porridge. Plus a few coming in for takeway coffees. This included, in succession, a couple of firemen and a policeman, each taking advantage of the loading zone outside to park their vehicles. I guess there are not many cafés in Wellington with room to park a fire engine.
Modestly priced porridge with just enough frills to make it worth ordering, but I hope the almonds are not always so toasted. Comfortable, uncrowded environment and variable coffee. No newspapers, but this may be due to Covid restrictions.
Reviewed September 2020.
Menus, ingredients and opening hours may change. Check with eatery before you visit.