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Reviews by Mr_Reasonable:
Espresso Republic is located on Featherston Street, just opposite the Hotel Ibis.
I walked into the cafe at 11:40am accompanied and as there was no queue, went straight to the counter and ordered a Latte and a Panini. This was at 11:41am.
The coffee arrived 3 minutes and 26 seconds later.....
Hmm, colour was a bit on the thin side although the top looked creamy enough. First taste was a bit disappointing. It is all in the milk and this was clearly not up to the usual standard which is unusual for this particular cafe.
The nice throthy top covered a reasonable brew though and whilst a tad bitter very drinkable. Since I would actually drink coffee from the used bowl of a bulldog, not in itself a recommendation but not a bad cup nonetheless.
There is some great art on display. In front of me is a piece by Bill Burke (www.billburke.co.nz) and as there is access to CafeNet, I Google the artist to view his other works. This piece is of a woman on a beach and strangely makes me think about Caroline at Trivial Pursuit (http://morphess.org). Everything else about the cafe is classic simple decor, lots of suits meeting with suits and an absence of kids. Not one. Good, I think having spent two days with mine!
Coffee finished. A small aftertaste, again a bit bitter. This is my benchmark coffee and is sadly a rather weak 6 1/2 out of 10. I have had clear 10's here in the past so I am shocked. The panini was delicious though and the price for one latte, one Earl Gray Tea and the Panini was $16.00 which ain't bad. The delivery of the coffee was excellent and the food not long after. They clearly gear up for lunch with the aim of getting you in and out quickly. Just what you want really.
I'm ready to leave. My table has been cleared and I am guilty of taking up space with no food! I am amazed that everything on the technology side worked so well with CafeNet. I only had one issue when the wireless network from the Hotel Ibis rudely tried to take over my connection but in terms of speed and connectivity, this is almost as good as being at home.
This is an edited version of a review undertaken on 1st May 2006.
Tbe full version can be found here:
Review Date: 2nd May 2006 @ 11:51am
Alan [http://halfpie.net]: While Mr Reasonable wolfs his beef roll, I shall pontificate on Rise, the cafe of today.
Initial impressions were not that good: a coldly cavernous space; concrete floor; a bit dark and cold and lacking in ambience.
Coffee's not too bad though, and it arrived reasonably promptly, as did our rolls. I won't do a detailed description: that's up to Mr Reasonable. However, I thought my latte was a little bland to my taste, although well-constructed.
Over to Mr Reasonable....
MrR: Agree with Alan, it is cold and a bit unwelcoming. Coffee arrived in 5 minutes and 32 seconds (order time was 11:50am, pre lunchtime rush) and looked good. Initial taste was reasonable. Not fantastic though and a little short of some establishments about town. Beef roll was good and the bill, at $10.50, for roll and Latte was OK.
Second taste of coffee as expected - a perfectly good cup, nice mix of top and body, no aftertaste and very smoothe if not a bit weak. I could've ordered an extra shot and will know to do that next time.
The cafe is sparse, nice artwork but it is cold which means that we are going to eat, post and leave......
7 1/2 overall.
The connection to CafeNet at this location is FAST, much faster than I expected and faster than other portals I've used. Response times are as quick as my home connection through iHug at 2.5mbps and it is a pleasure to surf here. Sending a large photo file took way less than 1 minute. Impressive stuff. Cold though, damn cold.
Full review here: http://whisperinginferno.blogspot.com/2006/05/rise-cafe.html
Pod is supposed to be on CafeNet but I had trouble connecting but this might have been due to the fact that we were behind a large concrete wall. I did manage to connect to the web via a Telecom Hotspot but it was a very slow connection.
The Latte was good. Nice and strong, clearly fresh beans and very smoothe. There was no bitterness at all and all-in an excellent drop of black gold.
The food at Pod is very good, the service excellent and the environment clean, functional and discrete. There are lots of tables that can give privacy and it is easy to have a conversation without shouting, unlike some of the more cosy cafes about town. I have been to Pod many times and have never had a bad cup yet.
This has to be an 8.
Full review here: http://whisperinginferno.blogspot.com/2006/05/pod_03.html
Mojo is located at one end of The Old Bank Arcade. For those of you not in Wellington, this building is a piece of history. The tiled floor is simply amazing and it retains the atmosphere of an esteemed financial institution. Conversations occur in hushed tones and footsteps echo down the banking chamber as shoppers wander down past the boutiques.
Our coffee arrived very quickly and it was very very good. Great head and lovely body and in a tall glass. Some of the cafes in town superheat the glass in a small blast furnace prior to delivery to you which results in burnt fingers and it takes nearly 4 hours to drink. This one was perfectly hot to drink and easy to gulp with no skin scorched to the glass. As is usual from Mojo, a great flavour, with a smoothe creamy consistency.
There was one disappointment in that there does not appear to be a CafeNet or Telcom Hotspot connection. This is despite being smack in the middle of town. However, there is a Starbucks at the other end of the arcade and I would suggest that you buy your Mojo and then wander down there to connect,
if you must.
Despite the lack of connectivity, a great cafe and a neat place to sit and drink and watch the world go by. A firm 9/10 for coffee quality.
Full review here: http://whisperinginferno.blogspot.com/2006/05/mojo.html
Fresco is on Lambton Quay, located above The Body Shop and accessed via the escalator inside The Body Shop. It is always a busy cafe but there are plenty of tables and it is usually possible to get a seat even during the busy lunch rush.
The coffee is excellent, well made and presented with care. Service is fairly quick and drinks are hot. Food is good and they will make fresh sandwiches as required. Price for a panini and latte was $11.00 (as at 4th May 2006).
The connection to CafeNet is quite fast and makes for easy surfing.
Overall, the coffee rates as a 8 1\2 out of 10.
Pictures from Mr_Reasonable: