53 Waiapu Rd, Karori, Wellington
Opens 9am daily; closes 3pm weekdays, 5pm weekends
Muesli $14; Flight coffee, t-Leaf-T teas
Rātā Café is located at Zealandia, the ecosanctuary at the edge of the Wellington suburb Karori. Zealandia is popular with tourists, but also with locals, especially family groups. You have to pay to enter Zealandia but entry to the café is free.
As befits its status as the café of a wildlife sanctuary Rātā has a strong environmental philosophy. They grow some of their own produce (organically), get the rest from organic, free range and sustainable sources, and compost as much waste as possible. What does this mean for their muesli?
Perhaps it doesn’t mean a lot directly. I guess the ingredients could be organic. And you do seem to get an option to choose your milk type, but the yoghurt is cows milk. I notice meat in various dishes in the menu, so you could argue they are not going the whole distance in environmental responsibility.
Still, I have few complaints about the muesli. It comprises very lightly toasted whole grain oats with almond slivers, walnuts, sunflower seeds and a extremely fine coconut shred. I wasn’t that keen on the latter as it adds a floury texture. But I did like the absence of dried fruit. And loved the topping of blueberry compote that did not seem to be at all sweetened. There was honey drizzled over the natural yoghurt, but not a lot, and it added visual appeal. Overall the dish was very low in sugar. The volume of milk, which you could have hot or cold, was huge.
I turned up at about 9.15 am on a Saturday and there were only a handful of people present. The space is quite acoustically lively and there was quite a lot of noise from the kitchen, especially the coffee machine, bouncing around. By the time I was leaving, family groups were coming in the door. I can imagine on a weekend lunchtime or afternoon the place could be pretty hectic, with kids sprawled everywhere. The outer space facing the sanctuary might offer some relief though. It has transparent blinds, which were pulled down on the chill autumn morning I was there.
The Americano coffee was fine and the service good (unlike complaints on the Zomato website from some years back). The menu is not online, so you can check it out here.
Well presented, nice tasting, healthy muesli. Congratulations! Environment is pretty cafeteria-ish and patrons either tourists or family groups. Could be nice on a summer’s morning sitting on the part-covered balcony, but note that it would not get the sun until the middle of the day.
Reviewed May 2020.
Menus, ingredients and opening hours may change. Check with eatery before you visit.