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Loretta, upper Cuba St, is owned and run by the same people as Floriditas, a veritable Wellington institution a little further down Cuba St. I love Floriditas for their eggs and the brown-sugar pavlova they often have on the menu. Floriditas’ dinner menu is out of my price range, but, luckily for me, it’s Dad’s favourite restaurant, so I go with him when he’s in town.
Loretta opened earlier this year to much fanfare: everyone knew it was coming from the same people that do Floriditas, so it’s been pretty popular. The wait times have been kept to a minimum, presumably due to the sheer size of the joint. Seating runs all the way down to the back of the building with windows looking out onto Swan Lane.
Like Floriditas, it is clear lots of thought has gone into the aesthetic: the Nordic decor is tasteful and clean, with a lot of wood and clean lines softened with interesting light fittings and rustic pottery. The Paul Melser earthenware alone is worth the visit (for me, at least: I’m pretty passionate about nice crockery): you can even buy his stuff at Loretta.
Like all my favourite places to eat in Wellington, the menu changes frequently and makes the most of fresh produce. The menu is healthy and filled with grains and pulses: I wouldn’t recommend a salad if you’re only after a fatty indulgence, but the salads are extremely popular and tasty. When I first tried Loretta, the week after it opened, the wait time for food was long and the pasta I had wasn’t anything I couldn’t cook myself.
However, the excellent coffee alone was enough to tempt me back. I’m a fan of the Ethiopia Yirgacheffe drip coffee. The menu seems to have improved, and the service is efficient and friendly. Word from the inside is that the green eggs and bacon, as well as the croque madame, are consistently popular favourites. I normally prefer savoury food over sweet food at brunch, but I’m prepared to put that aside for the delicious waffles that are currently on offer.
Loretta is the place to go if you’re after somewhere for a tasty brunch that isn’t dripping with grease or hideously expensive. I’m yet to try their dinner menu yet, but I’ve heard it’s particularly popular on Friday and Saturday nights, so I’m picking it’d be a good place to try for a Thursday date night.