Little Bohemian

01:18, Nov 06 2012
Little Bohemian
COMPACT: Tawa's Little Bohemian has grown - not in size but in depth.

There are several ways to get your coffee fix in Tawa: street carts, cafes, bakeries. But if you like your coffee with a friendly smile, a casual atmosphere, a children's play area, free wi-fi and Wellington-made treats, Little Bohemian is the place to get it.

The compact 18-seater coffee shop is the epitome of a local, with everyone from high-school kids and students to preschoolers' parents and professionals popping in regularly.

And I speak from experience. Not a week goes by without my family stopping by at "Lil Boho" at least once - or twice.

Little Bohemian
YUM: Muffins and scones are on the menu.

It's like visiting a favourite eccentric aunt's house - if your aunt makes consistently delicious coffee, that is.

The decor is eclectic, a collection of memories: mismatched chairs and tables, New York skyline decals, a Tube map with famous people instead of stations, a framed Trash Can,  Sinatra's T-shirt and various quotes. A particularly appropriate one is the printed-out definition of the word communal: "used or shared in common by everyone in a group".

The coffee is the fair-trade Flight, the milk is the organic Zany Zeus and the range of drinks also reflects the owners' social values: Tea Total leaf teas, Foxton Fizz, and Allganics fruit juices.


The menu is small but solid, featuring friands, sweet and savoury muffins, scones and scrolls from Brooklyn Bread & Bagels in town, and macaroons from Creative Cooking in Lower Hutt. There are also retro jars of lollies and Molly Woppy cookies and biscotti, handmade fudge, marshmallow bricks, and gingerbread men (and women, dinosaurs, tiaras, cars and handbags)  from Totara Cottage in Upper Hutt.

The most expensive thing on this well-priced menu is a lunchtime baguette ($7.50), which co-owner Jules Smith has recently started serving. While our youngest digs into his usual fluffy and banana chocolate-chip muffin, my husband and I try both versions on this particular day - ham, cheese and pesto, and blue cheese, walnut and apple. They're fresh, tasty and brimming with filling.

The berry cheesecake brownie we have for "dessert" is so good we have to share it with the little man.

It might arguably be too good because, for once, our son takes no interest in the children's play area with its magnetised wall and basket of toys, and stays instead to share cheesecake as well as our conversation ...  so none of the usual grown-up time for us today.

In the year since Little Bohemian opened its doors, the tiny Tawa cafe has grown - not in size but in depth: new offerings keep appearing on the menu and counter, fresh items pop up on the walls.

Merseysiders Smith and Colin Ellis have undeniably succeeded in achieving their goal: creating a cool  little local hangout that just keeps getting better and better.

Address: 139 Main Rd, Tawa (no phone number)
Hours: Mon-Fri 7.30am-3.30pm, Sat 9am-2pm, Sun 10am-1pm
Coffee:Flight Coffee, Bomber blend (winner of the Best Ethically Traded Coffee category in the 2011-2012 New Zealand Coffee Awards)
Reading: Various current magazines and The Dominion Post
Music: Various
Clientele: Locals, parents with kids
One thing you should try: Berry cheesecake brownie with cream or yoghurt ($4)

The Dominion Post