My favourite table: Pip Adam

VEGAN WAY: Midnight Espresso in Cuba St caters for vegans like Pip Adam, as well as meat eaters.
VEGAN WAY: Midnight Espresso in Cuba St caters for vegans like Pip Adam, as well as meat eaters.

I'm a vegan. Midnight's been kind of a constant since I came to Wellington about 10 years ago. It's really nice vegan food. A lot of the other vegan food you find is fake meat and stuff like that, whereas here they do real nice wholefood kind of stuff.

My partner Brent and I had a big civil union party in the Thistle Hall up the road, and these guys made our cakes for us. And we were kind of expecting them to bring just the normal cakes, because they do really amazing vegan cakes. But instead they'd decorated them all up - they just looked really beautiful. It was very kind of them.

I started out being a vegetarian when I was about 14 years old, and I became vegan at about 20 years old. I just really believe in the rights of animals. I don't think we should eat animals and I also don't think we should own animals. I don't think any living being should be owned. I think to survive off the labour of another being, I just don't really believe in that.

It's an extreme view. My whole family's vegan - my partner and my daughter. It is a really extreme view, and we realise that, and we kind of also accept everyone's freedom to do what they want to do. But it just works for us.

What's the best vegan place in town? That's a tough question. I really like Aunty Mena's and I really like Nature out in the Hutt. But I really like this place because the variety's bigger. And it's kind of nice to come where everyone can get food - if you're with meat-eaters or vegetarians, they can get some food here as well.

I probably come down here about once a week. It's also good for my daughter - it's quite kid-friendly as well. I'm doing some work at the architecture school, so I'll come in here for a cup of tea or a sandwich.

I've got a friend that's come over from the States and he was saying there's a real culture over there of writing in cafes. Like, you can sit on a cup of coffee all day and just write. I've never done it. Maybe it's that New Zealand thing, it feels a little self- conscious - kind of like 'Oh, here I am'.

But I have read a lot in here. I think that's what I've done most of in here - read other people's work, like manuscripts for workshops and stuff like that.

I was a teenager in the 80s, and this feels a bit scungy. It kind of suits me, I feel comfortable here. I like the loud music. And you get to know a few people that are serving. It often reminds me a bit of Dunedin.

It's open late too - that's an awesome part about it. I was out the other night with some friends, and we were out really late, and then we got hungry, and we could get some vegan nachos, and it was really cool. Their nachos are massive, it's ridiculous.

As told to TOM FITZSIMONS

Pip Adam's short story collection, Everything We Hoped For won the best first book award for fiction at the 2011 NZ Post Book Awards last month.

The details:

Midnight Espresso 178 Cuba St

Phone: 04 384 7014

Hours: Monday to Friday: 7.30am-3am; Saturday and Sunday 8am-3am.

The Dominion Post