Food, New Zealand

Kowhai cafe in Wellington Botanic Gardens

On a bright, windy summer Sunday, AZ and I set out bright and early up the Wellington Cablecar to Carter Observatory and the Wellington botanic garden. As we had a good two hours to kill before we should enter the star observatory for the 2pm “We are Stars” show, we decided to have brunch at Kowhai cafe next to the top cable car station.


Although conveniently situated, it’s clearly a hug tourist driven cafe with rather high prices. Our brunch came down to about $30 for a muffin, a slice, a cake, and two coffees!

kowhai cafe savoury muffin, caramel slice, chocolate mud cake
Savoury muffin saved us from the overly sweet caramel slice, and the dense chocolate cake

Their savoury muffin is actually pretty good in terms of both flavour and texture. Have it served warm!

The chocolate cake was at times a little too crumby and dry, but was enjoyable on the whole. The icing was just the right thickness and sweetness to to top it off. An alternative fluffy and light chocolate cream that doesn’t collapse could certainly make this cake a little better though!

The slice. OMG it was way too sweet. I had not even 1/20th of that slice and I was done. What can you expect form a caramel slice though? Perhaps my palate is just too unrefined to appreciate the subtle flavors in such sweet delicacies…

kowhai cafe iced coffee and mocha
Iced coffee served in the tumblr, and mocha

Their coffee was rather average. I don’t know how much the coffees were individually, but neither stood out. The milk froth on the mocha was alright (not the bests but not bad either), but the coffee itself wasn’t great by any means.

The cafe’s primary selling point is definitely the view. Complementing the breathtaking city views, the bright interior and hanging decor certainly makes for a beautiful cafe setting. I wouldn’t have minded if this was my house! hehe

The views from our table
The views from our table

All in all, I would recommend buying your coffee on the way up the cablecar, and just trying some of their cabinet food while you soak up the views.

Kowhai Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato