Clyde Quay Wharf, Oriental Bay, Wellington
Opens: 7:30am Mon, Wed-Fri, 8am weekend; closes 2:30pm weekdays, 4:30pm weekend
Muesli $9; Ripe coffee, Indonesian, English and green teas
Seroja has at last replaced Mojo Pōneke, which closed in early 2020. That was quite a classy version of the Mojo chain’s formula, with a wine list and evening meals, but somehow it can’t have made a go of the site. Rent too high? Too out of the way? Can the Indonesian-themed Seroja do any better?
I wasn’t expecting to get my muesli in glass, but looking at the menu again I see it does say ‘pineapple and coconut muesli cluster with layered Greek yoghurt and mango’. So the clue was there in the word ‘layered’. Indeed, it was a stratified affair with chopped fresh mango on top. I don’t recall coconut or pineapple though.
Despite the word ‘muesli’ in the description, the menu listing called it ‘granolla manggo’, extra consonants included. Corolla man à gogo? Whatever, it was a somewhat crunchy blend, with most of that crunch supplied by cornflakes. It could have been something at the light and tasty end of the spectrum dreamed up by Mr Kellogg. (Oh, two ‘l’s and two ‘g’s there, maybe that’s where the spelling came from?) But there wasn’t a lot of the muesli and overall I think this could better be described as a desert rather than a breakfast dish.
Now the odd coincidence is that in the very same space Mojo Pōneke also served a muesli in a glass (or jar). But that and some layering is where the similarity ended. Their muesli was the serious stuff, with plenty of weight and lots of nuts and seeds.
The space is done out with Indonesian decorations and furnishings, but not in an overwhelming way. This could be intentional but it may also be a necessity, with the glass, steel and concrete architecture hindering a complete ethnic make-over.
One thing I like is that the barrier between the two spaces has been partly opened up, as you can see in the above photo. Previously the back seating area was a dark space, with light only coming from the windows at one end. Now it spills over from the main area.
This venue has always had one problem: it is right by the water and looks onto the adjacent boat harbour. But, except in the very late afternoon, it lies in shade. It looks to expansive environments but is cut off from them. It’s like being in an expensive apartment that faces entirely south.
Muesli is a waste of time at Seroja unless you are thinking of a dessert. Coffee is ho-hum. And the space suffers an intrinsic orientation problem.
Reviewed March 2021.
Menus, ingredients and opening hours may change. Check with eatery before you visit.