|Gluten Free Options||Yes|
Cafe: Still, there's a time and a place for a humble toastie, and it's nice to know Gasoline serves them.
Gasoline is one of the few cafes on the Terrace that have the kind of edgy atmosphere you would expect to find somewhere else, like the Cuba Quarter. The interior is mostly black, with a canopy-like green mesh across the ceiling and some burlap coffee sacks lining the back wall.
The staff are boisterous, in a friendly way: shouting out hellos and thank-yous, joking with regulars, running coffees and food at a breakneck pace. And it's loud, with beat-heavy music pumping at a volume your grandmother wouldn't approve of.
Gasoline runs at a fast-paced, well-orchestrated tempo, kept moving along by the loud beats and high turnover of coffees and customers.
Co-owner and manager Candice Tolo exudes an air of effortless confidence. You can tell she's in charge, although not afraid to have fun. All the staff seem to have adopted this attitude. They seem energetic but not highly strung. They are confident in their roles, whether taking orders, making coffees or running food.
Gasoline has no kitchen, so the food offerings are relatively simple, mostly brought in from either Arobake or Ti Kouka Cafe in Willis St.
A modest-sized cabinet is stocked with savoury and sweet counter food, and a small blackboard menu offers toasted sandwiches (a choice of three fillings, $7.50), salads (chicken, salmon, avocado; all about $11), a soup of the day ($9.50) and a few toast-and-spread options for breakfast.
Gasoline roasts its own exclusive blend of coffee under the brand Crude Coffee – with Candice's partner and Gasoline co-owner Leon Stothart at the helm of the coffee side of the business. It's strong and intense, and seems to do the trick for the steady flow of suits lining up for a takeaway coffee.
On the day we visit, there are two soups of the day, and I'm torn: roasted jerusalem artichoke or honey-glazed butternut? I ask the guy taking orders, who replies without skipping a beat: "I'd say the artichoke", but then he glances over at Candice: "But, she'd say the butternut". I hesitate. "The artichoke's got a kick to it," says Candice, "with chipotle."
I'm sold. I go for the jerusalem artichoke soup, which arrives with a few smallish pieces of toast on the side. It's thick, with that earthy creaminess I love so much in jerusalem artichokes.
It does have a decent chilli kick, although I can't detect much of the smokiness of chipotle and I find it needs a bit more salt.
My friend picks a toasted sandwich with ham, cheese and pineapple on wholegrain bread. It's a modest serving – by no means massive or out of the ordinary.
Still, there's a time and a place for a humble toastie, and it's nice to know Gasoline serves them.
The rhubarb custard tart ($4.50) we share is a bit light on rhubarb, and the custard is more thickly set than I'd like. I prefer the louise slice ($4), a thick, sweet, down-home version of the classic shortbread slice topped with raspberry jam, coconut and a smidgen of crusty meringue.
Gasoline is a cafe that eschews the staid, corporate stereotype of the Terrace for something a bit louder, a bit edgier.
While the food may not be overly exciting, the fast-paced service and the infectiously upbeat attitude of the staff create a refreshing change from the office.
93 The Terrace, Wellington
Phone: 04 499 7440
Hours: Mon-Fri, 7am-4pm
Coffee: Gasoline's house-roasted blend, Crude Coffee. Flat whites ($4) were rather strong – the better to keep the office workers going. 4/5.
Sounds: Loud and energetic – a mix of hip-hop and more relaxed beats.
Mags: New Zealand Geographic, sporting/car magazines, plenty of Dominion Posts to go around.
Clientele: It's the Terrace – so, unsurprisingly, mostly suits.
Try this: Moroccan chicken pie ($10 with salad), soup of the day ($9.50).
- © Fairfax NZ News