Vic Books & Café

Vic Books - granola header image

1 Kelburn Parade, Easterfield Building, Kelburn, Wellington
Opens 7.45am weekdays, 9.30am Sat; café closes 4pm weekdays, 2.30pm Sat; closed Sunday
Granola $8; Supreme coffee (including filter), Libertine and Ritual teas

At the Victoria University Kelburn campus Vic Books has incorporated a café. There are tables within the bookstore area as well as many seating options in the covered ‘Hub’ that it faces. There is also a branch (open weekdays only) at the Pipitea campus, opposite the railway station, and this serves the same granola too. The Kelburn campus has other eateries as well, including The Lab and the more formal Milk & Honey. Here is a campus map to help you find your way around.

Vic Books - granola and coffee

The granola is described as ‘Maple granola w/ nuts, seeds, dried fruit, Greek yoghurt and seasonal compote’ on the menu. It is served in a small, deep bowl, so you have to eat your way through concentrated amounts of compote, banana and yoghurt to get to the ganola below. I’d prefer a wider bowl where you can access all components at once.

I have had the granola twice at this café, once in November 2019 and again in July 2021. It was almost identical on the two occasions. The shot above with the filter coffee, and the detail below, were taken in July 2021; the photo at the top of the page in 2019.

Vic Books - granola close up

The granola is definitely best described as such, as the oat flakes clump together in a way you don’t get with toasted muesli. It is also crisp and crunchy, as granola should be. I presume the maple means that the oats were baked with maple syrup and perhaps oil, but fortunately a sugary taste doesn’t dominate too much. I spied cranberries, whole almonds and coconut shred in amongst the oat flakes. The taste seemed a tiny bit burnt, suggesting that the mix had been over-roasted.

Vic Books - seating in open space

I wouldn’t call the yoghurt as Greek for it was not thick and creamy, but that was fine, as it had a nice tangy taste to counteract the sweetness of the very liberal serve of compote, which I found a bit too jam-like.

The coffee was good, both the Americano I had on my first visit (served in a cup) and filter the second time (in a mug). The granola was served with a tiny bottle of milk, and you can have plant-based varieties for an extra 70 cents. If you prefer bircher muesli to granola there is some in takeaway plastic containers (pity abut that) at the counter.

Vic Books - seating interior space

I feel a bit uncomfortable eating and drinking within a bookstore (how often are books stained here?), but there are plenty of other seating opportunities beyond the café right across the covered space to the Rankine Brown library building. Three copies of the Saturday Dominion Post were on hand for patrons – far more generous than some larger cafés.

Vic Books exterior
Conclusion

The granola is a bargain at the price (and you get far more fruit compote than at any other eatery). Coffee, on the other hand, costs pretty much the same as anywhere else. The environment is very open and informal. The low tables within the bookstore are a pleasant place to sit, but you have to be early to get one of those.

Reviewed November 2019 and July 2021.
Menus, ingredients and opening hours may change. Check with eatery before you visit.

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