81 Victoria St (on corner with Wakefield St), Te Aro, Wellington
Opens: 7.30am weekdays; 8am Sat; 9am Sun. Closes: late, Tue to Sat; 3.30pm Mon; 4pm Sun
Muesli $15, Porridge $15, Chia pudding $15; L’Affare coffee; t-leaf T tea
The Lido is a Wellington eating institution that has been going for almost thirty years now (and before that as the Dolphin). It is in a location to die for – on a high visibility corner with floor-to-ceiling curved windows in a heritage building built in 1961 for the NZ Racing Conference organisation. I enjoyed the porridge I had at the Lido some time back, so I have always been interested to know what their muesli might be like.
I’ve had muesli at Comes and Goes and Two Grey recently, where the dishes have dozens of components and are very carefully arranged. This one didn’t take much putting together though: a dollop of stewed fruit, one of yoghurt, and a pour of muesli. Hey presto, ready to eat in under 30 seconds. But we shouldn’t let appearances influence our taste experience. The back doris plum and berry compote was delicious and there was plenty of it. And the thick Greek yoghurt was also nicely acid.
But the highly toasted muesli was a bit of a let down. There wasn’t an awful lot to start with, and it was packed with big lumps of dried fruit, including cheap and sweet stuff like pineapple. I detected apple, dates, kiwifruit and apricot, but none of the usual cranberries, so if you are a cranberry hater this might be the muesli for you. The other ingredients were almond slices, roasted coconut shred, and sunflower and pumpkin seeds, as well as oats. I’m saying it is not granola because there are no crunchy lumps, though the mixture is well toasted. It may have been toasted with something sugary, as the soaked milk at the end was fairly sweet, though not as bad as some eateries.
I ordered tea rather than my usual coffee, as I sampled the coffee when I last had porridge here. I’m not a big fan of t-leaf-T, but I have to say the English Breakfast was quite good. So much has to do with freshness I think. The cup was a large coffee cup and the pot filled it twice with no dribbling. Strength was spot-on.
The environment was pleasant, with padded mid-century design chairs, some couch seating, and plenty of light. The architectural report I’ve linked to above summarises the environment nicely: “The overall effect of the curved building elements is to create a comfortable, transparent space that is somewhat akin to both a cave and fishbowl.” On the other hand, recent renovations have rendered the counter and the walls behind as a style disaster quite out of keeping with the modernist architecture of the building and its heritage value.
I was surprised how popular the place was at 8am on a weekday morning. By 9.30 there were at least 20 people and it had become quite noisy, drowning the background music well out.
Great plum compote and good yoghurt. Muesli itself a bit average and rather over freighted with dried fruit. Good tea and pleasant environment but you need to arrive early to get a window seat.
Reviewed October 2020.
Menus, ingredients and opening hours may change. Check with eatery before you visit.