14 Leeds St, Te Aro, Wellington
Opens 8am weekdays, 9am weekends; closes 2.30, closed Mondays
Granola $14; Flight Coffee incl filter; Ritual Tea Co leaf tea (2019)
Update March 2022: this place has eliminated most of its seating and the à la carte menu has gone. Only counter food is now served. I hope they still do their excellent hot cross buns near Easter.
The Leeds St Bakery is down a lane that joins into Eva St to connect Ghuznee and Dixon streets. It’s in an area of artisan industries, including the Wellington Chocolate Factory, where you can also have a coffee or tea as well as chocolate, and Fix & Fogg peanut butter makers, where you can buy jars of the stuff, filter coffee, toast and even porridge at the factory window.
The Leeds St Bakery is primarily a bakery with a café attached. You can buy their excellent bread at the bakery door in the adjoining café but it is mostly sold through other outlets. They are also connected to Ti Kouka café, which I have reviewed under the muesli page.
The granola was fairly straight-forward, consisting of toasted oats, sunflower seeds and coconut flake plus dried raisins, dates and cranberries. Though an unusual thing was coated peanuts. The coating had an slightly Indian spicy taste and was fairly sweet. Then there were poached pears and a thick yoghurt that seemed to have a slightly sheep/goat milk taste, so perhaps real Greek yoghurt, though it might just have been my imagination. The toasting of the granola didn’t seem to be heavily oil and sweetener based, but nevertheless a very sweet milk was left in the bottom of my bowl when I had finished. Maybe that had soaked off the peanuts.
The granola came with ample milk and the filter coffee was both hot and a generous serve in a mug. I suspect this place is favoured by those who like their coffee and maybe a sweet treat to go with it.
The menu isn’t extensive and neither, I have to say, was the range of counter food. The website doesn’t have the menu, so I’m sharing it here. Naturally, most of the food includes bread one way or the other. Maybe they could make more of a feature of their core product though. I’d happily pay for a slice of bread fresh out of the oven with Fix & Fog peanut butter and a cup of tea or coffee.
Having said, that, I have tried both their hot cross buns and cheese scones with tea. The hot cross buns are a bit different from your average, but in my view are the best you can buy in Wellington. The cheese scones are not bad either, though could do with more cheese. There is more than one version you can select. But the really great thing is that when it comes to heating them they don’t put them in a sandwich press (ugh!, squashed scone) or microwave (soggy crust, toughened dough) but in an oven. It takes longer, but you get a scone as though it has just come out of the oven.
They also do the tea well by steeping it for 3 minutes before it comes to your table and then taking the leaf tea in the strainer out of the pot so it doesn’t stew further and get stronger. And you get ample in a well pouring pot and a cup that is better shaped for tea than your average coffee cup. The only thing missing was a pot of extra hot water. A work mate and I both found the brew a bit strong for our liking.
The café wasn’t very busy when I was there on a weekday at about 8am, which is just as well, as it is pretty small. A number of people stopped by to get a takeaway coffee or buy bread though.
OK granola, though nothing very special. Excellent coffee, good tea and baking, and a nice hideaway location without too many comings and goings or noisy espresso machines.
Reviewed September 2019.
Menus, ingredients and opening hours may change. Check with eatery before you visit.