35 Ghuznee St, Te Aro, Wellington
Opens 7.30am weekdays, 8.30am weekends; closes 4pm
Muesli $12.50; filter coffee, Ritual tea
Milk Crate is small café mostly known for its coffee. People call in on the way to work for a takeaway; sit on the seats outside; or people watch from the stools along a bench where the folding windows may be thrown open on a good day. There is one long table and a few small ones inside. A small amount of ready-to-eat food is on display at the counter but the cafe does not offer dishes that require preparation. Except muesli. It’s not listed anywhere so you have to be in the know to ask for it. A reader sent me a photo of a bowl covered in fresh fruits, including pomegranate, so I had to give it a try.
Well, my dish did look similar to the reader’s, which is good, as consistency is the thing when you make the sort of judgments I do here. I always worry that I have hit an eatery on a good or bad day, and my findings might not be a very reliable guide for your visit.
Anyway, apple was in common in the two occasions, but where there was kiwifruit and pomegranate and lashings of compote on hers there was orange, peach and a small helping of compote on mine. And I missed out on the pomegranate, but that is a very seasonal fruit, so I’m not pointing the finger. I was disappointed at the smaller quantity of raspberry compote though, as it was really delicious.
Also yummy was the muesli itself. It was crisp and crunchy without being a granola. It was nutty too, with pumpkin seeds, almonds, hazel nuts and cashews. And there was a small amount of dried raisins and cranberries. There was no sugary taste in the residual milk when I’d about finished, so that was a plus. The only thing that was wanting was plain quantity, again both in the reader’s and my case. Give me more! I’d happily pay a couple of dollars extra for a larger serve.
I was keen to try the tea on another occasion, as it is Ritual Tea brand, one of my favourites. It was fine, with a decent volume contained in a well-pouring pot. However, it was served in a coffee cup and without extra hot water offered as a matter of course. Still, that’s doing better than some places.
I had a very nice filter coffee with the muesli (sorry I didn’t get the brand, but one that is not common). However, Customs, a more recent café next door that is also minimalist and focuses more so on single-origin filter coffee, might be giving Milk Crate a run for their money. Certainly the filter coffee I had at Customs was pretty darn good, and it has more choice in this field.
Excellent muesli with ample fresh fruit, but just not enough of the muesli itself, and the fruit looked like it was simply thrown on the bowl. Maybe that was intentional – some sort of hipster nonchalance – but I can do that myself without even trying. When I pay for muesli it’s partly for what I can’t do at home – making food look nice.
Reviewed March 2020.