2 Manners St, Te Aro, Wellington
Opens 7am weekdays, 8am weekends; closes 3pm
Granola $15; Porridge; Havana coffee, leaf tea
Urban on Manners St is a café for the sort of people who want some reliable, straight-forward food with no pretensions. It is not on any foodie’s list of weekend brunch locations. But looks can deceive. A couple of years back I was surprised to see steel-cut oats porridge on the menu pasted to the window. That’s porridge as it is supposed to be made in case you don’t know and isn’t something you can whip up in a minute or two in a microwave. Porridge isn’t on the two-page all-day menu as I write this, but I was intrigued to see ‘six-nut granola’ instead.
Even more surprising, the granola turned out to be really quite good and better than offered by many a more fancy eatery. I’m not convinced there were actually six nuts, but there were both whole and half peanuts and a smallish quantity of walnuts. For seeds, there were plenty of pumpkin, but no sunflower seeds. And there was a good quantity of untoasted coconut shred as well. I’m calling it granola because the oat grains were highly toasted – possibly a little too much, as there was the very slightest burnt taste.
There was a small amount of dried fruit – pawpaw and goji berries for example, but not enough to add excessive sugar to the mix.
The granola rested on a fashionable swipe of natural, fairly runny yoghurt, and was accompanied by a sweetish multi-berry (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries perhaps) compote. And there was diced banana on top. Cow’s milk came in a small glass jar/bottle.
The café is right near the bus stop and there is no shortage of people to watch as they go past the front windows. Perhaps this high visibility location explained why the place was packed on the day of Matariki festivities when I visited. But most times I’ve walked past it is no more than half full.
In fact it was so busy on my visit that I was told there would be a wait time of 30 minutes or more. When I told the server I just wanted granola she said she could make that up herself, but she couldn’t guarantee it would be the way the chef would prepare it. So be warned – I could have received a special version that differs from the everyday.
This granola is way above what you would expect from the run-of-the-mill appearance of the café. Plenty of substance (and volume) without piles of cheap dried fruit or sugary toasted grains. Also, if granola is not what you are after the menu is as long as your arm. And eggs and meats are all free range.
Reviewed June 2022.
Menus, ingredients and opening hours may change. Check with eatery before you visit.