When I first moved into my flat in Wellington on Thompson St (the infamous #geekflat), the Wellington Bypass had already been completed, providing (depending on who you asked) an excellent improvement to Wellington’s roads or a major clusterfuck.
I still sit somewhere on the divide, whilst it makes travel from the Mt Victoria tunnel through to the Wellington Motorway (yes, we only have one ;-) much faster, it also contributed to slowing down and congesting traffic up and down Willis/Victoria Streets. If they had only sunk the road as a trenched motorway like originally proposed it would probably have been perfect.
As part of the bypass work, a number of heritage buildings were moved from their original locations and re-assembled in the upper Cuba St area, with the buildings getting fully refurbished, minus the interiors. The originals were quite rundown, but the refurbishment did wonders and left a number of beautiful buildings.
Sadly they then remained empty for years, from what I can tell there was a lot of processes and bureaucracy to go through to contact former land owners (if they even still exist!), determine if Iwi (Indigenous Maori) have interests/rights on the land and other tasks before they finally got released for use once again.
Depressingly most of the new renovated shops quickly filled up with hair and beauty shops at a rate that would have impressed gold mining boom towns, but 272 Cuba St remained empty for a while longer (There’s some pretty cool pictures and background into the building (which was originally 289 Cuba St) on Transit’s website that are worth a look).
Typically just after I end up leaving Wellington, it opened up as Arthur’s, a new cafe offering a vintage/classic style presentation with a great food menu offering the usual options with their own homely twist.
Upper Cuba St has really been lacking good cafes – there’s the well known Fidel’s, but it’s a victim of it’s own success being always packed and hard to find tables in, which doesn’t suit in the early morning when I want somewhere quiet to have a nice meal, coffee and chat with friends. Then there’s also the Southern Cross which is decent enough food, but doesn’t really have that much atmosphere for brunching.
Being in a 1900s heritage building, Arthurs has a nice style that differentiate it from most other places and they’ve really kept that up on the interior and even the food and coffee presentation.
I naturally had to try the big vegetarian breakfast option and wasn’t disappointed, with particular praises for their roast potatoes – I’d seriously just eat a giant plate of those alone if possible. ;-)
Being a vegetarian who doesn’t really like green vegetables, the cucumber and broccoli was interesting but not to my tastes, however I’m sure to someone with better tastes than I would enjoy it far more.
Overall I really enjoyed it and I would see it easily becoming one of my regular brunch location for weekends if I was still in Wellington, so well worth going and checking out.
In doing some research for this post, I also found a post about Arthurs on Foodie Gems of Wellie, that’s worth a read, looks like an interesting blog too.