It looks pretty average from the street, but Plum Cafe in the heart of Cuba Mall is all about food and location.
Open daily from 7am, and five nights for dinner, too, the cafe has an extensive lunch and dinner menu.
Dishes like Plumster eggs ($18) are on the menu, and there's a nod to the Wairarapa with delights like the Martinborough steak sandwich ($20) and the Wairarapa bacon sandwich ($18).
There's also a good selection of counter food, along with alcoholic drinks.
Plum Cafe ... is a great spot to sit in sunny Cuba Mall and people watch as you eat and sip your coffee. It's a central hub, and a good place to rest tired legs and take a break from Christmas shopping.
The interior is ... basic but comfortable. Plum doesn't have the wow factor of other cafes, but you're probably there for other reasons. A wall of mirrors opens the place up a bit and they're handy if you need to touch up your lipstick. It's a wee bit drab and could do with white paint on the walls to freshen the place up. The real beauty is sitting at one of the tables outside, which we occupied, being invigorated by the colour of Cuba St.
The overall feeling of the place is ... low-key cool. Most of the people here are groups of twenty-somethings, along with a couple of young mums with prams.
I'm tempted by the ... pan-fried haloumi with asparagus, green olive paste and smoked paprika oil ($15). I'm pretty hungry so anything tastes good but the haloumi and asparagus are perfectly cooked, and the smoked paprika oil gives it a bite. It's on the small side, and I also order a green side salad to bump it up.
My friend orders ... avocado and tomato with grilled lemon and basil ($15). My 12-year-old has finished school for the year and she's famished after packing up her school books and farewelling friends. The avocado is spread on five-grain bread which is perfectly filling, and she declares the dish delicious.
The service is ... stand-out. The staff are attentive and friendly. For a central Cuba St cafe, they're not too cool for school. The American waitress brings out water, while our waiter comes back and forth to check we're happy with our orders.
The sounds are ... hard to hear from outside. In fact, we listen to the swish of the bucket fountain, and laughter of kids on the dinosaur slide beside us. Three busking tap dancers further up Cuba Mall add to the character that's Cuba St.
The coffee is ... Supreme. My take-out latte is really good. Perfect temperature with the right bite. (9/10).
I can read ... today's Dominion Post, along with copies of the Property Press and a couple of magazines.
We're surrounded by ... happy, cruisy twenty-somethings who look as though they could sit in the sun all daily - like us. That's the outside crowd though.
If I went back again, I'd try the ... Paprika Roasted Pumpkin Salad. Paprika roasted pumpkin with fresh salad greens, spanish onion, kalamata olives, feta and a herb vinaigrette ($11.50).
Plum Cafe, 103 Cuba St, Wellington
Hours: Open daily from 7am; dinner from 5pm, Tuesday to Saturday.
Phone: 04 384 8881.
- The Dominion Post