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