You may be wandering along the waterfront later in the year when a crowd of large gentlemen in colourful cotton knit shirts may ask for directions to something called the “RWC Party Zone”. And therefore, as a polite host wanting only the best for guests to our city, you may direct them to Cuckoo, this latest destination for Real Wellington Coffee.
No doubt you will already know Cuckoo in its nighttime variant: it is another establishment in Mr J Mckenzie’s burgeoning empire, and is to be found around the back of the much larger Foxglove near Queen’s Wharf. It is certainly a small, though perfectly formed, Party Zone.
But now during the day, baristi Mr A Macauley (formerly of Memphis Belle) and Mr A Smith (formerly of Mojo), have set up in Cuckoo and are providing for passers-by in need of RWC and snacks. Like many other baristi at our favourite coffee bars Messrs Macauley and Smith provide not only espresso-based drinks but also single-origin pourover styled coffee. In addition, they have reportedly been experimenting on their espresso, adding tinctures such as saline to “bring out and complement flavours in our coffee” (we are assured this is optional), and offering espresso-based cocktails.
Having visited Cuckoo at lunch a number of times now this Wellingtonista may report that the coffee is indeed very very good. The Nekisse beans in a Chemex coffeemaker were the best I have tasted so far, including that at the Wellington home of this bean, Customs Brew Bar (apologies to Mr R Jenner). And the food, while not of diverse choice, is of good quality.
But perhaps the best aspects of Cuckoo are the comfortable armchairs, which on a sunny day may be placed outside in the sun, allowing one to enjoy food, drink, and a good book over a quiet lunch hour.
Long may this be so. And perhaps, on reflection, it is best we direct any large gentlemen looking for a “RWC party zone” to Shed 5 and points further south… and retain Cuckoo for ourselves.