2 Manners St, Te Aro, Wellington
Opens 7.30am weekdays, closes 4pm; 9.30 am weekends; closes 3pm
Porridge $10; Havana coffee, leaf tea
Urban on Manners St is the sort of place you walk past, as I have done countless times. Why? I think it lacks a distinctive identity. The name itself says nothing. I think it was previously a Vietnamese restaurant and Perretts Corner Café and Bar for some years before that – neither of which ever made an impact. There may be a problem with the location or maybe it is the street frontage of uninviting aluminium joinery. Or perhaps the current signage shouts cafeteria. Despite this, I did one day examine the menu stuck to the door and was surprised to find they served a rarity I had to sample, porridge made with steel-cut oats.
As you can see, the offering is fairly simple. You get a fairly stiff mix of porridge in an attractive pottery bowl with some berry compote on top. And it is served with milk, sugar and syrup on the side. The porridge was quite chewy and perhaps not cooked as much as I would like, but that’s a matter of taste. Likewise I found the compote rather sweet, but I’m sure many like it that way.
By the time I received my Americano coffee and an accompanying jug of hot water I had quite an array of bowls, jugs, cups and bottles on my table. Kind of charming, but the only accessory I drew from was the milk jug. The porridge was dense and stiff enough to need most of it.
The café is right near the bus stop and there is no shortage of people to watch as they go past the front windows. It is aparently a bit warmer at the back on a cold day though, and it is certainly quite an attractive space back there, even though there are no windows. Given the fairly low patronage and the distance you can sit there from the counter and front door, this café could be quite a suitable spot for a discreet meeting, if that’s what you are looking for.
There is no website so click the link for a copy of the menu I photographed in July 2020.
Nothing very startling about the cafe, but the seating is quite pleasant and the place is certainly quiet. Porridge is a stiff mix of steel-cut oats with nothing complicated about it. This may well appeal to staunch porridge eaters. The coffee was perfectly good.
Reviewed July 2020.
Menus, ingredients and opening hours may change. Check with eatery before you visit.