Swimsuit Coffee – Miramar
Willy Bridewell-Roberts and Tait Burge are both under 30 years old, but they’ve been making coffee for 22 years between them. They opened Swimsuit’s first iteration three years ago, a dark blue, white-accented corner spot on Dixon Street – just off Cuba Street. They decided to take it to the ‘burbs at the end of 2021 when a former People’s Coffee outlet came up for lease in Miramar. Burge lives in Seatoun along the foreshore with a view of the beach, and the second Swimsuit is a couple of kilometres from his home.
The duo’s focus is on coffee – Burge even won the top award for Wellington’s Outstanding Barista at the 2021 Felix Wellington Hospitality Awards. Using organic and fair-trade People’s beans, they serve filter and specialty brews, plus standard pours such as flat whites. Swimsuit has become something of a community hub on Dixon Street, and its Miramar location has followed suit, drawing Wētā Workshop contractors (the company has its base nearby), parents and their babies, and more. “We found a lot of people were working from home and there’s a thriving community on the Miramar Peninsula, so we thought, ‘Why not?’” says Bridewell-Roberts. The fit-out is simple but has a good vibe – customers sit around wooden tables in the brick-walled space and tap into Swimsuit’s wi-fi.
Food-wise, they serve baguettes, pastries and toasted sandwiches, and plant-based options such as vegan watercress scones
91B Park Road, Miramar
Myrtle – Mount Victoria
Owned by chef Jacob Brown and his partner Sarah Bullock, Myrtle opened in January. Named after Bullock’s grandmother (who she says was renowned for her baking), the lofty Kent Terrace space is just along from the famous Embassy Theatre and has a high ceiling and large windows. In the generous kitchen out the back, loaves of bread, pastries and scones are crafted and baked by Brown and co-baker Zoe Paris.
Brown and Bullock also own the top restaurant, The Larder, which opened in Miramar 12 years ago. Known for pushing the envelope with his nose-to-tail menus, and for his love of foraging, Brown began his career in fine-dining but says he had always wanted to open a bakery. Paris also started her cheffing journey at The Larder, and thanks to their combined talents Myrtle’s quality is impeccable and the flavours often inventive.
Along with buttery croissants and cinnamon rolls sprinkled with pistachio pieces, there are several types of bread – sourdough, ciabatta, baguettes and sandwich loaves. There are also original creations such as aged cheddar and thyme loaves, danishes topped with pineapple, rum and lime, along with sandwiches, doughnuts, cookies, and scones. Sit at one of the low block seats out the front with a coffee, matcha, chai, or lemon honey ginger – or grab something to take away. Swipe a flower bouquet from the small selection for sale while you’re at it.
23 Kent Terrace, Mount Victoria
Fred’s – Cuba Street
For those who think sandwiches are boring, you haven’t tried Fred’s – Wellington’s newest sando spot. Victoria McDowall and Harry McArthur previously lived in Melbourne and had been planning on opening a sandwich shop there, before Covid put an end to their plans in 2020. Having moved back to Christchurch, they spotted the Cuba Street site that Fred’s now occupies on a road trip through the North Island. The light, bright interior has white walls and upbeat orange seating along one side of the room, with a few small tables and stools at the front window.
Their sammies are served on locally made breads from Wellington Sourdough, Shelly Bay Baker, and Dough Bakery. The classics are worthy, such as egg, cheese and bacon, as are fillings such as panko chicken schnitzel with iceberg lettuce, mustard and pickle mayo. Along with head chef Aidan Coveny, the duo also creates weekly specials. You could be in for a braised chicken sandwich on focaccia with harissa and green herbs, pecorino and aioli – dialled up with the genius addition of a salty and sweet peanut praline. The emphasis, says McDowall, is on fresh and flavoursome sandwiches, with plenty of sauce.
149 Cuba Street, Te Aro
Flùr – Cuba Street
Wellington’s newest boutique pastry and coffee shop Flùr opened last month and is the brainchild of pastry chef Sarah Mackenzie. With patisserie training from Le Cordon Bleu cooking school and experience from some of the capital’s best eateries (Rita, Nikau, Gramercy Bakery and Floriditas), Mackenzie creates sweet and savoury treats according to her preferences and seasonality. She bakes the day’s goods in her home kitchen, a kilometre away.
You won’t find a single plain croissant at Flùr – instead, there are danishes filled with her home-preserved fruits, melt-in-the-mouth buttery morning pastries coated with icing, and olive and feta tarts. “I make the pastries I enjoy rather than what someone else thinks will sell,” she says.
With its light green counter and limited seating, it’s the type of place you’d swing by for a takeaway treat or perch on one of the streetside stools with a cup of Supreme coffee.
275 Cuba Street, Te Aro