What makes Wellington’s cafe scene unique? We love the quirky decor, themes and interesting twists on classic dishes. Many of our beloved cafés are slightly hidden away, so you have to research or be given the ‘inside word’ by a local.
What is the trend right now? Other milks for those with dietary preferences (such as almond, rice or soy), with a few health enhancers such as turmeric popping up sometimes. But the vast majority of coffee drunk in Wellington (and New Zealand, for that matter) is more about the purity of the coffee and the flavour notes of each roast.
How has the scene evolved over the decade? We’ve seen significant growth in the number of local artisans and coffee roasters, many regularly winning NZ awards with their particular discipline. There’s also been a resurgence of filter coffees, via modern methods such as V60, Chemex, cold drip and slow drip. Steampunk and nitro coffee are making a small appearance here and there too.
Tip from Cutfield: The little ones don’t have to miss out on the café experience. Ask for a fluffy: it’s steamed milk and froth sprinkled with chocolate and served in a demitasse, with a marshmallow on the side. The drink was developed in cafes at least 20 years ago; my daughters drank fluffys since they were toddlers and loved it.
Where to get your coffee fix
“Pickle & Pie is a New York-style cafe making pies, pickles, meals and sweets. Egmont St. Eatery (below) serves modern food in a cute laneway. Leeds Street Bakery offers fantastic coffee with bread meals that showcase other artisans in the city’s main food laneway.”
“Midnight Espresso is the first modern cafe in Wellington with oodles of vegan, vegetarian, and allergy-free food with pinball funk. Sweet Mother’s Kitchen is another Wellington institution with more quirks than you can poke a stick at, serving South American-style casual food.”
“Olive Cafe is a cute old villa in the heart of Cuba Street serving vegetarian and vegan-leaning food, with a gorgeous courtyard out the back to escape the world. Floriditas has a lovely bakery supplying just its own cafe with light, fresh, flavourful, modern dishes and excellent baked goods.”
“Cafes that roast their own coffee beans on-site are a breed apart. Caffe Astoria does its roasting in the early hours and is renowned for its coffee, food and vibe at the corporate end of town. Flight Coffee Hangar is an urban chic cafe where you can have a flight of three flat whites with different types of coffee (main photo).”
“Beach Babylon is a family-style cafe overlooking Oriental Parade. Chocolate Fish is renowned in Wellington for producing nearly all of its food off BBQ grills, its very relaxed slightly-away-from-the- city vibe, and fantastic water views.”
PHOTO EGMONT ST. EATERY
This article was originally published by Singapore Press Holdings.