Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Martha's Pantry, Cuba Street, Wellington

A week and a half ago a friend visited Wellington and given our shared interests in pretty, dainty treats Martha's Pantry was the destination of choice.

It's almost at the top end of Cuba Street and the whole store is super cute. We were there quite late in the afternoon, and I guess they were just about done for the day, but they were still very friendly and welcoming.

The decor reminded me a lot of the Cupcake Collection in Christchurch - my friend commented on this and they definitely have the same sort of cute factor going on; old fashioned tablecloths under glass tabletops, dainty teacups and saucers (though neither of us had tea so we didn't get those).

The cabinet still offered quite a few options despite the late hour, though I suspect we missed some options - and several items only had one or two servings left. The handwritten signs were pretty adorable, too.

The 'window' behind our table

We placed our orders at the counter then sat down, and before too long our food came out. First was my milkshake and my friend's cupcake. 

We loved the cup! The milkshake was really nice, too - and a generous serving. I really enjoyed this, and definitely recommend it - and the little touches like the cup and the doily make it seem special. 

The pear and ginger cupcake was really nicely presented (though my friend commented that the floral paper napkin detracted a little, and I have to agree - nothing wrong with paper napkins, but keep them simple unless you're going for the really fancy ones - this one looks quite cheap, in my opinion). I didn't get a review of the cupcake but the caramelised hazelnut on top definitely appealed!

My slice of cake followed shortly after. Now, forgive me for memory lapse but it was "Plum and [something] cake", but I can't recall the something at all! The waitress was a little confused and brought two slices - in fact, confusion seemed to be a bit of a feature - so I said, no, I had only ordered one (I had also only paid for one so not sure how that happened). This was a gluten free cake, but I am sorry to say I was disappointed; the cake was quite dry, and aside from visible bits of fruit the flavour was fairly indistinguishable. Sorry, Martha's Pantry, but this didn't cut the mustard! Also (and even though I wouldn't have wanted any more), I felt that this was a pretty slim slice for $4.50 - I'm all for dainty treats but most slices of cake I've had in cafes have been far more generous than this, and fall in the same price margin.

I had also ordered a mini chocolate melting moment, but somehow this had been forgotten. I asked the girl on the counter as we left if I could have it to take away instead and she gave me three instead of one, which was really kind.

They were super tiny - very cute:

(the battery was the nearest object I could find to show scale effectively). Sadly I found these quite bland and average as well.

All in all, based on this experience I don't think I'd go back to Martha's Pantry - it is certainly very cute, and if the surroundings (and a milkshake!) are enough to keep you happy it's all good - the service was very friendly even if it was a little disorganised - but I like my sweet treats, and felt that these were pretty average and not really worth the cost. However, I did have a lovely afternoon catching up with an old friend, and we weren't remotely rushed or pressured so that has to count for something!

Martha's Pantry is located at 276 Cuba Street, Wellington, ph 04 385 7228


  1. I do totally agree with your comments. The cupcake, although it did taste good, was pretty overtaken by the icing, it needed to be bigger really. Good intentions there but I don't think it really measured up. I think the Cupcake Collection in Chch wins hands down!

  2. I love Martha's Pantry for the dainty decor and their fantastic tea selection but haven't tried many of their cakes etc. Too bad yours was dissapointing. The milkshake does look adorable though... love the hundreds and thousands!

  3. I think sometimes I'm just too picky about cake! ;-) That milkshake was fantastic, though, and I loved the decor. As Anita says, the Cupcake Collection in Christchurch is also adorable (and their cupcakes are fantastic) so if you're ever down that way make sure you drop in!


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