106 Oriental Parade, Oriental Bay, Wellington
Opens 7am daily; closes 6pm Sun to Thurs, 10pm Fri, Sat
Granola $15; Havana coffee, Harney & Sons tea
The curiously named Lola Stays used to be known as the long-running Vista eatery, favoured by the well-heeled boat shoe set (Royal Port Nicholson Yacht Club is opposite and Wellington’s mini-Riviera further down the road). It still feels posh, if a tad less starchy, and the image on the eatery’s website of granola looks fantastic: alternating strips of granola, chia seeds, sliced strawberries and banana over a pink base of something semi-liquid (strawberry yoghurt?, bircher muesli?).
Lets start with the negative. What I got looked NOTHING like the picture on the website. OK, eateries entirely reserve the right to change dishes, and strawberries were not in season, but the granola I had did not even bear a family resemblance to the beautifully presented bowl on the Lola website. So I was disappointed and grumpy from the outset and that just coloured my whole experience.
That’s not to say that the granola I was served didn’t look nice. But the taste wasn’t anything too special. The granola was highly toasted (too much?) and not overly sweet. It was topped with a nicely acidic yoghurt, so not too much sugar there either.
The dish had milk chocolate-coated poached pears on top. Now, I like chocolate was much as the next person, but I get tired of it being stuck in or on everything these days (the chocolate-coated Girl Guide biscuits were a travesty and a shameful way for them to go out). And so the problem here is that I can’t avoid the chocolate getting mixed in with the yoghurt and granola as I eat it. Please, lets keep museli and granola as the last chocolate-free bastion.
Soy, almond and coconut milks were available and served in a decently sized pot for the granola. The Americano coffee was fine and served in a cup. My companion had toasted cinnamon bread and English Breakfast tea, and felt the bread was under toasted but the tea was good (Harney and Sons tea bag), though served in a coffee cup.
Lola Stays does provide a nice environment, with light wood tables and chairs, French doors opening out on the pavement (just don’t sit near the door on a breezy day), and a light-filled interior. It is near the waterfront, and you get a sense of that even though you can’t actually see the sea. The road outside is busy, so sitting outside is not necessarily a great experience.
As for the name Lola Stays, David Burton’s restaurant review nails it when he says it is risible [laughable, ludicrous] and grammatically ugly, but that it does at least stick in the mind.
Granola OK, if a bit over toasted. Yoghurt tangy, unfortunate pears, excellent presentation. Great environment. But misrepresentation of the dish on the website leaves me irritated.
Reviewed August 2019
Menus, ingredients and opening hours may change. Check with eatery before you visit.