14 Jessie St, Te Aro, Wellington
Opens 7am weekdays; closed Sat, Sun
Muesli (granola) $15, porridge $15; Acme coffee (owners brand), Noble & Savage tea
Prefab has announced that it is will not be re-opening again following the Covid-19 lockdowns of August and September 2021.
Prefab is a large, barn-like, purpose-built structure (prefabricated?) that has a less visible functions venue at the back. It is very popular for its quality food, but if you don’t get a buzz from being in a noisy space with scores of people then this may not be the place for you.
I turned up on a Saturday morning bang on opening time I thought (8am) and already there were half a dozen people inside and the place was noisy! – mostly from the staff and music actually. I guess they were in pre-opening mood.
The dish was labelled muesli on the menu but was definitely well roasted, so I’m calling it granola. It was a very paleo mix, seemingly devoid of grains and entirely consisting of nuts, seeds and dried fruit. It was delicious. Unfortunately it was topped with that bland Zany Zeus yoghurt so beloved of cafés and restaurants, and equally bland rhubarb. Sliced banana was the other topping. Ample milk was served with it.
Given Prefab’s high reputation for food I thought I’d better see how well they do tea and cheese scones. Pretty well it turned out, the tea in particular. It was leaf tea served in a good sized pot (probably making 3 cups) that poured well. The cup was a stylish purpose-made tea cup, not a repurposed coffee cup. The strength was spot on and the taste of Noble and Savage’s English Breakfast was good. No hot water was supplied, so that was the only negative.
As for the scones, they are quite dense, as though made on a griddle. I asked for my scone heated of course, and enquired if this would be in a microwave. ‘Oh no’, was the reply, ‘there is not a microwave in the place’. Excellent. I think my scone must have been cut before heating (would speed things up in an oven) as the cut surfaces were quite crusty. You get a little bowl of sweet chilli sauce, not jam, with your scone. I would call these scones a bit unusual, and not to everyone’s taste, but they were certainly cheesy and crusty, key aspects of a good cheese scone in my view.
I’m writing this up from my notes some time after I visited and I’m afraid I didn’t record what sort of coffee I ordered. It would have been filter or an Americano, but I do remember being pleased that it came in a mug, as you can see in the photo above. I did go back a few days later at about 8.15 on a weekday morning but already it was pretty chocker. Don’t these people have jobs to go to? Or are they in fact at work? So many hip-looking types (out of frame) seemed to be tapping away on laptops that I wondered if this was a prelude to some sort of techie conference. But no, turns out it is like this every day.
Fantastic granola but not supported by yoghurt or rhubarb. Coffee very good and tea not bad. Noise level uncomfortable.
Reviewed June 2019.
Menus, ingredients and opening hours may change. Check with eatery before you visit.