181 Cuba St, Te Aro, Wellington
Opens 9am Tues, 7am Wed to Fri, 8am weekends; closes 10pm Tue to Sat, 8.30pm Sun
Bircher $15.50; granola $14.50; coconut puffs $13.50; Supreme coffee (incl filter), Tea Total tea
Loretta is a relatively new place that could be described as a cafe/restaurant and is known for its fine food. It is also spacious inside, so you don’t need to worry about it being crowded early in the morning.
I had the granola here a while back and was very disappointed. It was mostly puffed grains, dried fruit, no fresh fruit, and no yoghurt. Very disappointed. I hadn’t thought of developing this website at the time, so didn’t take a photo. However, I wasn’t completely put off, as the service and environment is nice, and they serve filter coffee. So I gave the bircher muesli a go, and that was better.
The generous portion of muesli seemed about 50/50 oats and finely grated apple (Granny Smith I would guess). There weren’t any nuts or seeds, but it was topped with nicely cooked rhubarb – slightly acid, firm and with a hint of rose water(?) The fejoa topping of the menu was absent, but I would allow for substitutions like this according to season and availability. The menu says the oats are soaked in apple juice, but there may have been milk in there too.
Loretta serves filter coffee and mine came in a mug with its own wooden tray (to prevent heat stains on the nice new tables?) It was at a decent temperature and tasted good. I read that you could get bottomless cups but this isn’t advertised.
I had a cup of Irish Blend tea (English Breakfast not available) on another occasion with a cheese scone. The tea tasted really good. It was leaf tea and came in a large cast iron pot that had about 3 cups worth in it. Pouring was without spillage. The only negative is that the cup was a coffee cup, but thankfully not a coloured one.
The cheese scone was OK, but really needed more cheese in it. I’d rate it six out of ten. It came with what I think you could call whipped butter. It was almost whipped cream, but not quite and was very salty.
Speaking of nice tables above, I guess you would call the design contemporary Scandinavian. Clean lines, light-coloured wood, precise.
The earthy bowls, mugs and plates are made by Wairarapa potter Paul Melser.
I’ve included three shots to show you the main seating areas, from the most popular street-side (above), through the long hall with its single row of tables (further above), to a room at the back with coloured glass where people tend not to go, but which is definitely the nicest. Not sure if the latter is only for the cool people or something. But it can be booked for groups at times.
The tables are a bit high relative to the seats – your elbows have to bend upwards to get your hands on the table, as though you have suddenly become a child again.
Despite being large inside, the street frontage is small and not very obvious. However, just look out for the more distinct Cuba Street landmark Slow Boat Records next door.
Bircher muesli is OK but nothing too special. Coffee includes good single origin filter, the tea is good and kombucha is available. Environment is very pleasant. Approach the granola with caution.
Reviewed August 2019