17° & CLOUDY ON THURSDAY 30 MARCH IN WELLINGTON
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A Newtown cultural institution.

In the African savannah the baobab tree is known as the tree of life. It can provide shelter, clothing, food, and water for the animal and human inhabitants through the driest seasons of the region, storing up to 120,000 litres of water inside its trunk. Cafe Baobab, with its weekly Sunday live performances, a local art exhibition on its walls and a communal courtyard out back, is also the lifeblood of its community in Newtown.

I stopped by the cafe on a less-than-ideal miserably wet Tuesday for a halloumi rosti stack with grilled tomatoes, spinach, balsamic reduction & herb oil ($17). What I found inside were genuinely warm baristas and waiters who give each customer their time of day. The decor is cosy, warm terracotta walls, wooden table tops, those local artwork pieces and paper hanging lamps. It's easy to see why some of its customers prefer to spend hours hanging out at Baobab, it's just that kind of place. Especially during summer when the spacious and colourful back courtyard becomes useable again. Although the stack wasn't the best I've had in Wellington, it was homely, filling, and the atmosphere of Baobab more than made up for any lack in its food.

An hour earlier I had walked into Baobab feeling like a washed up castaway from Wellington's winter. But after a halloumi stack, a cappuccino and some laughs with the staff, I walked out feeling warm, filled up with decent food, and ready to face that Southerly all over again. Baobab is really the tree of life here in Newtown.

Published on June 26, 2014 by Laetitia Laubscher

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