170–172 Cuba St, Te Aro, Wellington
Opens 8.30 am Tue to Sun; closes late Tues to Sat, 2.30pm Sun
Bircher muesli $14, Porridge $14 (seasonal); Supreme coffee, t-Leaf-T tea
The long-running Wellington institution known for reliably good food Olive do bircher muesli year round as well as porridge in the winter. Post Covid lockdown, opening hours have changed from 8am to 8.30 opening, and closure on Mondays.
There was no-one dining when I arrived at 8.15 on a Saturday morning (in 2019) so I picked a window table in the side room that looked onto Cuba St and grabbed a paper. The coffee came well before the muesli so was a bit cold by the time I was ready to eat, but that was a lesson for me to always ask for the two to come together.
Unlike the bircher at CQ Hotel, there was a variety of fresh fruit (banana, kiwi fruit, orange, apple, pear) on top, as well as a dollop of yoghurt and a berry compote. Having decided to cut back on my sugar consumption, I could have done without the honey drizzle though. Why can’t I choose whether I have honey or not? Cafés don’t put sugar in the coffee or tea – that’s your choice – so why not with muesli?
I revisited Olive with a companion in July 2020 and the bircher has changed somewhat. I didn’t sample it, but this is what it looks like below. I forgot to ask how the bircher tasted, but I heard no complaints. I will do a taste test myself in due course and fully update this page.
I’ve also had a cheese, spinach and chilli scone and English breakfast tea at Olive. The scone was good but a bit doughy. If there was any chilli in the scone it certainly wasn’t dominant. The tea was in a pyramid tea bag (plastic?) in a small metal pot (not so good for heat loss and good for only about a cup and a half) with a missing lid button and brewed about right (not too strong or weak).
Olive seems to fill up fairly quickly from 8am whether weekday or weekend, so best to get in early. The side room shown above tends to be preferred by patrons, especially its front window, as the tables in the main room are in a thoroughfare from the door to the counter. But there is also a pleasant garden out the back with more seating than I’ve shown in the photo above.
Excellent bircher, coffee OK, good scones, nice surroundings. Tea is average or below.
Reviewed June 2019.
Menus, ingredients and opening hours may change. Check with eatery before you visit.