|Name||Six Barrels Soda Co|
REVIEW: The space one floor up on the corner of Eva and Dixon streets will forever be in my mind the site of the original Eva Dixon's Place.
It was the kind of place where you'd hang out before a film-festival screening, or to read comics on a rainy afternoon, or for a giant breakfast-shaped hangover cure on a weekend morning. Smiley Eva beamed down, beckoning passers-by up the stairs to the sunniest spot this side of Oriental Bay.
Eva Dixon's has gone on to live in various incarnations and locations: Miramar, at the zoo and at the Capital Gateway centre.
The spot in Dixon St has been replaced by Eva Street Cafe, Evolution and, most recently, Bambalina's (a late 60s-decorated cafe complete with bright-orange feature wall, but with distinctly non-60s food: doorstops of lasagne, panini, curries and the odd gluten-free morsel).
That has since been taken over by the Six Barrel Soda Company, which has given the space an overhaul and ditched the groovy oranges of its predecessor for greens, ash, brick and chocolate-cushioned bar stools.
It makes the most of the light and seems much larger than earlier cafes that have resided here. This is helped in part by keeping seating to a bench along the front windows, and a large family-style table where individuals and groups can perch.
Brown bottles hang from pegs along the wall, some stuffed with lavender and others empty. Wire baskets hang beside the coffee machine, brimming with lemons and ginger. There's a pile of fading National Geographic magazines and two battered games of Scrabble to occupy your time - if looking out at Te Aro Park and the next-door strip club's billboard, complete with a giant semi-clad woman's backside, isn't enough to hold your interest.
The company is the baby of Joseph Slater, of Monterey fame. Its primary business is producing small-batch soda syrups. Raspberry and lemon, ginger, kola nut, cherry and pomegranate, lemon, and vanilla cream are on the menu right now, but more flavours are promised as different fruit come into season.
We tried kola nut and raspberry and lemon. One sip and we were sitting with furrowed brows trying to work out what we were tasting. Kola nut was for the sweet-of-tooth, a kind of bubblegum in a glass, while raspberry and lemon was heavy on the lemon, but not so much on the raspberry. Both were subtle flavours that left me feeling refreshed.
Because this place is all about the sodas, there isn't much on the food menu, but the menu itself, on a tiny wooden clipboard, is nice to look at.
There are snacks - olives, spicy nuts - but for real food, there are bagels three ways, and scrambled eggs for the weekend crew, and sliders with beef and cheese, halloumi or tofu. They are simple and tasty, but not enough for my active and hungry date. He claims to like our local fish-and-chip shop's burgers more than this. You don't get the view of a giant bum from our chippie, though.
Six Barrel Soda Co
Corner Eva and Dixon streets, Wellington.
Hours: Monday to Friday 8am-8pm, weekends 9am-8am.
Coffee:Luscious Peoples coffee, rich with delicious foam. Drip coffee is also available, cups served on a dinky piece of wood.
Sounds: Something 60s-ish.
Clientele: Like Logan's Run, it seems there's no-one here over 30. The large table was occupied by three young men all busy on laptops, iPads and smartphones.
Try this: Oreo cookies ($3). So that's what they're meant to taste like. Oh, and the sodas, of course.
- © Fairfax NZ News