14 Jessie St, Te Aro, Wellington
Opens 7am weekdays, 8am Sat; closes weekdays 2.30pm, Sat 3pm; closed Sun
Following the March-May Covid lockdown Prefab is currently closed Saturdays
Porridge $15; Muesli (granola) $15, Acme coffee (owners brand), Noble & Savage tea
Prefab is a large, purpose-built structure (prefabricated?) that has a less visible functions venue at the back. It is very popular for its quality food. This is served within a noisy, buzzy atmosphere produced by scores of diners in the barn-like, industrial-look space.
The porridge is made from steel-cut oats. It is a very whole grain version, with plenty to chew on. It also seems to have a slightly spicy and salty taste, but the former might have been just from the rhubarb and apple topping, which has a hint of cinnamon. This rhubarb and apple mix is the same that Prefab add to their granola and which, as I’ve commented in my granola review, lacks acid bite.
The rest of the topping was heavy on nuts, with macadamia, walnuts, hazelnut, pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Plus there were a couple of lumps of ‘granola crunch’ as described on the menu and two thick slides of banana. You get a jug of cream to pour over the bowl.
I thought the whole thing was pretty good, and would happily have eaten more. A colleague eating on another occasion was less impressed however. Her photo showed the same ingredients but less of the nuts and granola topping. On the other hand, a stumbled across an Instagram post from Sept 2019 of Prefab porridge which looks like it has plums and plum juice rather than rhubarb, as well as flowers and springs of mint. It looks amazing (it should have been rotated, so you need to tilt your head to the right to best appreciate).
A companion on my porridge visit had the hot sandwich with ‘tomato, mozzarella and basil’ for $12.50. It looked good to me, with oozing cheese and a crunchy crust, but she was disappointed that the tomato was in fact dried tomato. No complaints, but I would also add that the basil was actually basil pesto.
Said companion had long black coffee and was impressed by the elegant cup and spoon. I was too by the mug shaped cup in which my filter coffee was served. So wonderful to have a change from the ubiquitous, heavy coloured cups stacked on top of every espresso machine in Wellington. We thought the coffee was pretty good as well.
Given Prefab’s high reputation for food I thought I’d better see how well they do tea and cheese scones. Rather well it turned out, the tea in particular. You can see a report on this on my granola page.
I’ve tried many times to to turn up when it is not busy at Prefab so I can get some clear photos without people. The above is about the best I can do unless I try somewhere between 7 and about 7.15am, or in the half hour before closing in the afternoon. It is just full-on every other minute. Having said that, service is always quick and efficient, no matter how many people. And the food is very consistent – enabled by size I guess.
Pretty good steel-cut oats, though perhaps a little salty. Great nutty topping but stewed fruit a bit bland. Nevertheless, a porridge worth paying for. Coffee is very good and includes bottomless filter. Noise level uncomfortable.
Reviewed August 2020
Menus, ingredients and opening hours may change. Check with eatery before you visit.