Tuatua

Waterfront, beneath Frank Kitts Park, Wellington
Opens 8am; closes around 4pm but both times are weather dependent
Granola $8.50; Celcius coffee

Tuatua has an enviable location as a literal hole-in-the-wall under Frank Kitts Park in front of the promenade between Te Papa and Queen’s Wharf. It has outside seating and also a small cavern for days when the weather is less favourable. It’s a minimal operation, often staffed by just one person with a lot of balls (or is that plates?) to juggle.

The granola is served in paper plates, so not a flash experience. But perhaps there is no running water in the kitchen for washing up. Anyway, I was attracted by the low $8.50 price and was hoping I could declare this place great value for money, but I’m afraid you simply get what you pay for. The granola was fairly dry (good, as this probably means it hasn’t been toasted in heaps of sugar and oil), but it was also very fine grained, as though it was the dregs at the bottom of the pack. I’m not sure how this was achieved. Too much stirring while roasting? I could see sunflower seeds, slivered almonds, coconut and dates in the granola, but oat flakes were hard to spot, though I’m sure comprised the bulk of the mix.

The granola came with a decent enough berry compote and some pretty runny yoghurt. Neither were enough to moisten all the granola through and its powdery nature meant I had to ask for some milk, which was duly poured over the top in the kitchen.

The coffee seemed a bit bland but it is organic and fair trade. Indeed the café says it is socially and environmentally conscious, using organic products as well as SPCA approved free-range bacon and eggs, and composting all food waste. It belongs to Conscious Consumers.

In the photo above you can catch a glimpse of the bit with covered seating at left, though when I was there it was mostly filled with a piano. This often gets wheeled out onto the promenade for passers-by to give it a play. I guess it was a bit early in the morning when I was there and there were other things to attend to. Or maybe it is a two person job.

Around 8am on a weekday there are streams of people going to work passing by, and lunchtime is pretty chocka too. Ditto in the weekends when the weather is fine. So your dining can be fairly public. But when numbers drop back you have the privilege of the harbour as your dining space. Just make sure its not a windy Wellington day.

Conclusion

Great location but sadly the food and coffee weren’t up to it. Find something else on the menu though, and pick a calm day when the waterfront is not too busy, and it might be a real winner for you.

Reviewed September 2019

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