New Zealand cities have never quite had a church on every corner, but in the secular age of coffee worship it sometimes feels like there is a Mojos on every CBD block in Auckland and Wellington. Often they are in the ground floor of office towers, capitalising on the captive audience above and walk-ins from the street outside. This means they are usually closed on weekends when office-working customers vanish.
That’s the case with this one; it is open Monday to Friday only. And it is so invisible from the street that I wonder if its clientele is drawn entirely from its office tower. This building was the tallest in new Zealand when built in 1984 and was then known as the BNZ Building (or Darth Vader’s pencil case as some called it for the way its black featureless shape loomed over what was then a lower-rise city) and later the State Insurance Building.
The Aon Centre Mojos was very busy around 8.30 on a Friday morning when I dined, but service was efficient and I got my porridge in no time. And actually, I wished that they had been a bit slower with it, as the rolled oats were barely cooked. They had more of a bircher muesli texture than porridge. There is no way that they would have been accepted into the international Golden Spurtle competitions as porridge (even assuming this event allowed rolled oats, which they don’t.)
The porridge is advertised as banana and date porridge. You get banana bits cooked with the oats and also raw and diced banana on top. The date part is just the dollop of brown date paste you can see in the photo. And then there is a light sprinkling of toasted muesli over the top. You get a small jug of milk with it as well – oat milk I think.
I was so disappointed in the undercooking of the oats that I went and tried the same porridge at nearby Mojo Waterfront a couple of weeks later. It was proper porridge this time, so clearly a case of operator error at the Aon Centre. Interesting that there was no banana cooked with the oats here – just on top. Not much banana at all either, but you do get a flower and some syrup. So there is a bit of room for interpretation, or maybe you could call that a lack of precise instructions to staff across the Mojo empire on how to make the dish. Here is the Mojo Waterfront version:
And while I’m on about this, the porridge I had at Mojo Market Lane when I was first starting on this reviewing lark was a few streets ahead of what the various Mojo branches are serving up today. That was what I call a good porridge (and think of the care taken to make such a straight line of banana!):
Although the Aon Centre venue can be busy, I think a lot of customers are just queuing up for takeaway coffees. There seemed to be plenty of seats available. There are even two spots with long seat-arm chairs in the lobby that nobody uses. They are probably not under Mojo’s purview but you could certainly go and sit there with a coffee if you wanted a bit of quiet.
Finding the café is a little tricky. The plaza around the building has been modified over the years. Now the only way onto it seems to be in Willeston St, as pictured below. You can also enter through Kathmandu on Willis St when it is open. Note that the venue is called Mojo State on their website (as at June 2022). That’s out of date as State Insurance have since moved on and now insurance broker Aon have naming rights for the building.
If you can’t find the entrance, don’t worry. There is a similar Mojo outlet across the road in Willis St in the Spark building and the menu is the same. Photo below. And if you want real coffee, head down to their branch in 180 Lambton Quay (easier to find from Farmers Lane) called The Beanery, where there are always several single-origin filter options to choose from.
Undercooked porridge, but it may depend on who’s in the kitchen on the day. Even with properly cooked oats the result is fairly ordinary. However, the coffee is good, as always at Mojo. And while the environment is pleasant enough, it is not exactly a place to relax. You get newspapers though.
Reviewed May 2022.
Menus, ingredients and opening hours may change. Check with eatery before you visit.