89 Willis St, Te Aro, Wellington
Opens 7am weekdays, 8am weekends; closes 4pm daily except 4.30pm Sat
Porridge $14, muesli $14,; Supreme coffee, t-leaf-T tea
Pandoro Panetteria is a family-run bakery that began in Wellington on the corner of Allen and Wakefield streets in 1996. It still operates there but now has branches in Willis St and Woodward St, as well as several in Auckland, and supplies baked goods to many other food outlets. Its breads and cakes have a well deserved reputation, but does this extend to its breakfast cereals?
I wouldn’t really say so regarding its porridge, though the muesli (at Allen St – see my review) is good. There is nothing much to the porridge. The most distinctive feature is that it seems to be made, in part at least, with cream. It is consequently quite yellowish and tastes , well, creamy. The oats are small-grain rolled oats and the texture is quite chewy. The porridge is topped with plain stewed apple. And that’s it. You get a small jug of milk to accompany it. Actually, I got two. Maybe one was for my coffee, though I asked for an Americano (i.e. black coffee). Or perhaps they didn’t have a larger jug. Strange.
It is pretty much serve yourself here. You order at the counter and every table already has a number on a stick. If you want water, there are plastic tumblers and a chilled water dispenser. Staff do bring the porridge and coffee to your table though.
My porridge and coffee were good and hot. Americano is served in a coffee cup though. And there are no newspapers, but maybe this was a precaution during the Covid level 2 in which I visited.
I often walk past the café on weekday mornings and later in the day on weekends. It is fairly popular at these times, both with people seated and those in for a takeaway coffee and a bakery item. On the Saturday morning I had the porridge just after opening at 8am it was very quiet though. I suspect it doesn’t get going until shops open, suggesting to me that it is more of a place for hungry passers-by or those wanting to take some baking home. As against being a deliberate brunch destination like nearby Neo or the Lido.
Speaking of the Lido, it too has wrap-around windows, so you get a good view of people passing by, as well as of the portrait of artist Rita Angus on the back of the Dominion building in Bond St.
The lighting within Pandoro is warm and bright. This makes it look quite and inviting space on a cold winters day, especially when you see all the bread loaves on display and the decor of wooden furniture and yellow painted walls. But one inside I could do without the harsh strip lights when there is so much natural daylight potentially available.
You can get better porridge for a couple of dollars less elsewhere. If the fruit was a little fancier (say spiced, or more than one sort), and if there was some sort of embellishment, like a sprinkling of nuts or muscovado sugar, then we might have a porridge worth paying for.
Reviewed September 2020.
Menus, ingredients and opening hours may change. Check with eatery before you visit.