Review: Midnight Espresso Cafe, off Cuba Street in Wellington, New Zealand By Rika Huang

 

I find it a bit frustrating when a vegan-friendly restaurant does not have a website or an online menu, especially if you are new to Wellington or not a local. I’ve seen a few food pictures from some random bloggers, but not the menu itself. Midnight Espresso is probably one of my top cafe/restaurants I’ve been to in Wellington, New Zealand.

Location & Hours

  • 178 Cuba St, Te Aro 6011, New Zealand. It was on the most prominent streets in Wellington, the Cuba Street.
  • 7.30am-3am Mon-Fri, 8am-3am Sat & Sun
  • You are probably looking at $10-20 per meal if you are from the U.S. Save plenty of money if you plan to go there!
  • Plenty of local Kiwis with curiousity and questions. I had few men asking me what I do and if I was writing for an article, hehe.
  • I love sitting with the front windows open. It’s actually a calming setting for a restaurant food reviewer and food photographer.


Midnight Expresso Bar



Midnight Expresso Bar



Interior



Interior


Menu

While there’s no visible menu online, I’ve photographed their menu which was written in colourful chalk. There were few vegan meals on the menu, and also on the special menus. You should also keep an eye out on these today’s snacks/meals that were displayed in glass section near the cashier (they usually have few vegan snacks out there randomly such as vegan lasagna or cake).

Here are some vegan dishes from the chalk menu I’ve written down for you just in case if you cannot see the picture clearly below (keep in mind that the menu items may change variably):

  • Vegan Hash Stack (with mushrooms, tomato, toast, spinach, hash browns, avocado and vegan mayo)- $16,50
  • Garlic Mushrooms on Toast (can be made Vegan) – $11
  • Vegan Mayo Side – $3
  • $4 Side Dishes (You need to ask the staff to make it Vegan) – 2 Hash Browns, Grilled Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Spinach, Avocado, Marinated Tofu or Hummus
  • Gluten-Free Bread – $2
  • Scrambled Tofu tossed in Seasonal Veggies and Sweet Chili Sauce – $12
  • Vegan Nacho (with bean mix and vegan mayo, avocado, salsa and hummus) – Large $18
  • Hummus & Pita, ask to make it vegan (with Kalamata olives and veggies) – $9
  • Tossed Garden Salad with Marinated Tofu & ask to make it vegan – $12,50
  • Stir-Fried Veggies cooked in Thai Coconut Sauce – $12

They do offer fresh juices, soy milk shakes as well as coffee/espresso with soy milk options.


Vegan Snacks at the bar



Bar Area



Bar Area



Interiors






Dishes I’ve Tried

Dish #1: Vegan Hash Stack (with mushrooms, tomato, toast, spinach, hash browns, avocado and vegan mayo) – $16,50

It was one of my favourite dishes at Midnight Espresso. It is actually amazing how a New Zealand cafe can make vegan mayo because that is a plus to the dish. These hash browns are like potato fritters in such buttery chive flavour. I love everything on the dish.


Vegan Potato Fritters



Vegan Potato Fritters


Dish #2: Special Tempeh Burger & Delicious – $13

It was on their special chalk menu. But $13 was pretty high for a small tempeh burger unfortunately. It was a plain tempeh with vegan pesto sauce and veggies in the burger. I don’t see any vegan mayo. It was a light burger, but I wouldn’t try it again for the price. It’s nice to see a vegan local tempeh burger in Wellington.


Tempeh Burger



YUM!


Dish #3: Vegan Banana-Maple-Coconut Cake – $6. I’m not sure about the price, errr.

It was actually an interesting looking cake! The frosting wasn’t too heavy. I tasted a lot of bananas in it, but not much coconut in it. I would try it again. But I wouldn’t dare touch a vegan chocolate cake. I’m not a huge chocolate cake eater. Please pardon my photos since they were taken with a smaller digital camera in the late evening.


Vegan Banana Maple Cake






Dish #4: Scrambled Tofu tossed in Seasonal Veggies and Sweet Chili Sauce – $12

I was hungry for a huge breakfast meal since I didn’t had dinner that other night. The tofu scramble was in fact too sweet for my taste due to the sweet chili sauce. The veggies were plain, but I sadly have to admit it was a plain tofu scramble with sweet chili sauce. I probably prefer something spicier or yeast-like. It was actually a big plate, great for two!


Scrambled Tofu



Scrambled Tofu



Scrambled Tofu


Dish #5: Side Dish for 2 Hash Browns (Made Vegan) – $4

After I liked my Vegan Hash Stack plate the other day, I wanted to try these vegan hash browns. But they tasted a bit different and disappointing, perhaps they need a vegan mayo side dish for another $3. Seems a bit ridiculous for $4 two small vegan hashbrowns and $3 vegan mayo = $7 plate. Maybe it was cooked by a different chef that day. I don’t know why, but it tasted greasy potatoes with no chives or flavour in it.


Hash Browns










Dish #6: Vegan Tofu Bun – $6

I’ve to admit I made the right choice, picking that lonely vegan tofu bun off the display area (that was off their chalk menu). It was made fresh that day for $6 compared to a small $13 tempeh burger that other night. It was a very good tofu burger with wild rocket salad and vegan pesto. It is claimed vegan according to a staff. I really hope to see this tofu burger again.


Tofu Burger



Tofu Burger






International-based fashion editorial photographer Rika Huang travels around the world (from Southeast Asia to Australia to Europe to across the U.S.A.) and photographs everything she consumes. She researches and writes everything from vegan groceries to restaurants to products to home cooking which she documents on her blog Veganmiam. Rika has been a vegan since late 2006 and has been addicted to food photography.

  • LisaVeeler

    Ah Wow!!! All these dishes look delicious! I envy you getting to travel and eating all the best vegan food around! 

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  • http://www.veganmiam.com ✈ Rika Ⓥ veganmiam (@veganmiam)

    Thanks for your comment, Lisa! X