THE TEN BEST BRUNCH CAFES IN WELLINGTON
Brunch. Honestly, what a meal.
Whoever came up with the concept of taking all the best parts of all the other meals of the day, and combining them as acceptable options between the hours of 9am and 4pm, all weekend, is an absolute genius. Whether you're in the mood for a classic eggs benny and flat white; or a grain bowl with a sprinkle of crispy kale and a green juice; or even a greasy burger, fries and 3x mimosas, thank you very much - brunch has something for everyone.
If your upcoming weekend in Wellington is sorely missing brunch plans, or if you have plans but are unsure on where to go, look no further... you have stumbled upon the only guide you will ever need.
Caffe L’Affare is a Wellington institution, and for good reason. The baked eggs, cooked on spicy bed of tomatoes and cannellini beans, sprinkled with hazelnut dukkah, and served with two slices of toasted Turkish bread ($15.50) are out of this world, and will put a spring in the step of even the weariest Saturday morning battler.
While it’s hard to compete with the view at Coene’s Provisions, the food comes a close second. The hot smoked salmon with miso glaze, served with a crispy potato rosti, avocado and dill yoghurt ($18) is amazing; while if you’re after something sweeter, it’s hard to go past the brioche French toast burger (yes, burger), with banana, bacon and crème fraiche ($19). With its enviable spot on Oriental Parade, Coene’s is the perfect seaside destination for lazy Sunday morning hangs with the squad.
If your Saturday morning is of the less-hungover variety and you’re feeling a wee bit fancy, Field and Green should be your first stop for some more upmarket fare. The menu changes weekly, and takes advantage of the freshest seasonal produce. They also have a few staples such as the much-hyped cheese scones ($6) and a selection of housemade ice cream (ice cream at brunch should definitely be a thing).
The hip, Nordic, younger sister of (the also great) Floriditas, Loretta is a beaut space to start the weekend, sunny side up. Not only is the mood sunny here though, so are the eggs, and they’re covered in chervil, parsley and chives ($13). Depending what time you arrive, you’ll either be treated to the breakfast or brunch menu – both are great, so don’t let a slow start stop you. There is plenty for those with a sweet tooth, including a pretty tidy selection of crumpet options.
Cool, new kid on the block, Egmont Street Eatery, is fast becoming a local favourite. The slick fit out is livened up by the indoor plants and typically on-point terrariums. It’s conveniently situated right behind Les Mills, and is the perfect spot to grab a bite to eat after some Sat morning pump class, if you’re into that sort of thing. Aside from the hip interior, they also happen to do food pretty damn well. Both the cornbread with house beans, avocado, rocket and herb crema ($16) and the smoked potato hash, with broken pork and fennel sausage, slow egg and chilli ($18) are fab, with the rest of the menu looking similarly enticing.
Olive’s courtyard is just delightful, guys. Once seated among the leafy fronds it is highly unlikely you’ll be wanting to leave the culinary oasis in any hurry. Which is just as well, as you can feast on some pretty next level brunch options, such as the spiced pumpkin pancakes, maple apples and mascarpone ($16); the golden and red beetroot, goats curd, grain crisps and snow pea tendrils ($18); and the pulled pork ciabatta roll with fennel slaw and roast butternut squash ($15).
Surely the most popular café in Wellington, Prefab has a loyal following, and you are bound to see someone you know on any given Saturday (note: they aren’t open Sundays). The menu is full of classic brunch fare. If you’re feeling particularly greasy the potato gratin, bratwurst, bacon, poached egg and hollandaise ($20) always goes down a treat. There are also plenty of fresher options, including the haloumi, tomato and avocado with fresh baguette ($19), and the ACME muesli, fruit and coconut yoghurt ($12). Nab a sunny seat outside and spend a lazy morning people watching, with a hot mug of bottomless filter coffee ($3.50).
Definitely get the sautéed mushrooms, with lemon, feta and sorrel pesto on perfectly toasted baguette ($17) at Poneke. But maybe get all the other things on the menu as well, such as the 12-hour beef cheek mince and poached egg on sourdough ($17), or the scrambled eggs with Huffman’s hot sauce ($17) if you like your eggs with a bit of a kick.
Once perched at a table with the Sunday paper, a fresh coffee, and the sun beaming over the harbour and through the windows, it’s the sort of spot that just makes you feel like you are nailing life. Even better, with its convenient position on Clyde Quay Wharf, a Sunday trip to Poneke can be virtuously combined with a walk along Oriental Bay and a handy visit to the bustling waterfront markets to stock up on your weekly brussel sprouts and kale requirements. Well done you. Well done Poneke.
It should come as no surprise to most that Duke Carvell’s makes the list. The food is exceptional, the eclectic space comfortably familiar and the staff welcome you in like an old friend. The smashed peas, rosti, watercress and poached eggs served with shaved parmesan and hollandaise sauce ($17) is is everything your hungover or otherwise body has been craving; while Duke’s double cheeseburger in a steamed milk bun with pickles, mustard and chips ($20) might just be Wellington’s best burger, and is sure to cure even the worst hangover. Duke’s also has board games and an extensive range of brunch cocktails. Board games. Brunch. Cocktails. Go on.
Nikau is, in my humble opinion, the best café in Wellington. The space has a modern, Scandi feel, with plenty of light inside; while the sunny courtyard is sheltered from that all too familiar Wellington breeze. It’s is a dreamy spot to spend a couple of hours with the crew.
The real reason to come to Nikau, though, is the food. These guys are absolute pros. The sage fried eggs ($10.50) elevate the simple egg to something else entirely, anything that incorporates the produce that is grown on the rooftop garden is bound to be exceptional, and there is always an amazing selection of freshly baked treats in the cabinet.
Combine it with a visit to the attached City Gallery, and you have yourself one of the best weekend morning lineups Wellington has to offer.