Single File

Archives New Zealand, 10 Mulgrave St, Pipitea, Wellington
7.30–3.30 weekdays
Muesli $10.50; Karamu coffee, Americano and long black $4, white $4.50; t Leaf teas

Single File (no website) is located in the Archives New Zealand building in the government centre area. It had quite a good reputation when it opened, but I think things must have gone downhill since. Archives will be shifting when a new building is constructed in nearby Aitken St. Be interesting to see what happens to the café.

The muesli is descibed on the menu as toasted, and I guess it is, but fairly lightly, so I’m leaving it out of the granola category. It was actually warm when served, so maybe they toasted it on the spot, or at least freshened it up. It had a sweet and cinnamon flavour, suggesting that some honey was melted through it before serving. It was a very generous helping of mostly large oat flakes. There was some dried fruit – raisins, apricot perhaps, and pawpaw, and a few pumpkin seeds and even fewer slivers of almond. So it was a very chewy dish. As you can see, it was topped with slivers of apple and pear.

As if the muesli wasn’t sweet enough on its own it was accompanied by a pot of yoghurt topped by a large amount of honey. The honey was fairly thick, so I managed to carefully scoop most of the yoghurt out from underneath it. Combined with the smallish jug of milk, this was enough to moisten the muesli adequately.

The Americano coffee was good and served in a thick mug. Thanks!

The appearance of the place is rather cafeteria-like, with plastic chairs and some soft orange bench seats on either side. It could be noisy with a crowd, but honestly, I don’t think many people go there except Archives visitors. There were about 4 or 5 people there around 9am, while just along the road at the National Library their café (‘Home’) was completely packed. Actually, there was a bit of unwelcome noise at Single File – commercial radio spilling out from the kitchen.

Conclusion

Generous serving of muesli comprised almost entirely of large, lightly toasted oat flakes. Far too much sweetening. Good coffee. The furniture is jizzy but it is not matched by the food or anything else really. I like my eateries fairly empty, but in this case it just feels tragic.

Reviewed August 2019

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