5 Courtenay Place, Te Aro, Wellington
Opens: 8am daily; closes 9.30pm
Muesli $10.50; Supreme coffee, t-leaf T tea
Sweet Mother’s Kitchen styles itself as a Cajun-Creole-Mexican street food eatery. You can have burritos and tortillas for breakfast, as well as toasted baguettes with bacon, eggs, sausage or tomato. For eggs on toast expect to get accompaniments of potato hash and beans. How a Swiss-origin dish like muesli fits in with all this I’m not sure, but it’s on the menu so I had to see if there was any Southern/Mexican variation offered (wrapped in a tortilla?) Short answer: no.
The muesli was pretty bog standard in fact, and might just as well have come out of a commercial catering pack. It had no nuts at all except some sunflower seeds. It was mostly (honey) toasted whole grain oats, with some dried apricots and sultanas and coconut shred. Very basic and cheap to make.
The compote was OK, but not startling. It had strawberries, blueberries and perhaps some boysenberry. It wasn’t overly sweet. The yoghurt was fairly runny and nicely tangy (= good). So not your café standard of Zany Zeus Greek yoghurt.
The Americano coffee was average. I was disappointed it didn’t come in a mug when my breakfast companion got her flat white in one, though she did order a large.
I had English Breakfast tea on another occasion. This is the only eatery I’ve ever seen with a tea cosy on the teapot! Fantastic, even if it was ill-fitting and a bit grungy. The pot held a good volume and poured well. And there was a real tea cup. Top marks then for the equipment. Pity the tea was in a tea bag and overly strong. I’m not even convinced it was the purported t-Leaf-T brand going by the appearance of the bag.
I tried fish tacos with the tea, and goat cheese quesadillas on other visit. Perfectly OK, and good value for money at about $13.50 each, but really nothing special. You might possibly be better off with the more elaborate evening menu.
The décor is worth a visit to experience. It’s mostly a whole lot of cheap Mexican stuff but it looks great. And at night, with the strings of lights all lit up and many glowing fabric lampshades, the place looks like a fairy grotto. That’s why my last photo was taken at night. It doesn’t quite do it justice, but a daytime view looks far more bland.
There were not too many people at 8.30am on a grey spring Saturday, but the place does become extremely popular later in the day and it can be had to get a seat. I guess it is because the food is modestly priced, is ethnic in a predictable way most people can cope with, and the décor has real character. There is some sort of hipster quotient in there too that is echoed in the comfortably casual sort of service and junk-shop aesthetic.
Very ordinary muesli indeed, which is a pity, given that SMK is such an attractive and laid back place to eat at.
Reviewed November 2020.
Menus, ingredients and opening hours may change. Check with eatery before you visit.