Modern urban architectural design is the driving force behind the development of Wanaka’s contemporary retail and hospitality complex The Precinct and the recent opening of designer coffee shop and milk bar Wee Tart is a welcome addition.
The café is the brainchild of The Precinct’s brand and retail manager Mel Norman reflecting her nostalgia for 1950s rural Kiwi milk bars.
“Creating a space that is interesting, comfortable and unique where people can connect is something I love doing and combining that with good food and drinks is a winner. I have a background in marketing and hospitality having started two cafés in Dunedin so it’s wonderful to be back in that social space.”
“The café interior is minimalist and clean with soft Bohemian styling giving a nod to old fashioned sweet stores and New York milk bars – it fits perfectly with The Precinct aesthetic.”
Wee Tart specialises in quintessential Kiwi style foods such as lamingtons, cinnamon oysters, brandy snaps, club sandwiches and cheese rolls.
“There is a small but cohesive menu that steers away from the current health food trend and focuses on traditional wholefoods like cream, butter, bread, sugar and eggs. We offer mixed cabinet salads, hot sandwiches of the day and USA diner staples such as fried chicken, poutine, designer hot dogs and donuts.”
Mel’s love for this type of food harks back to baking with her mother as a child.
“One of my first memories is making cups of coffee with whipped cream and cinnamon on top for my parents. Mum had a cookbook I was obsessed with showing colourful pictures of classics like Eton Mess, Baked Alaska lemon meringue pie and crepes which I learnt to make by heart.”
“The drinks selection includes our barista coffee, classic milk shakes, hard shakes, house made sodas, iced coffees, smoothies and fresh juices. Cocktails, beer and wine are available and with an amazing rooftop garden and courtyard we can cater for all types of events in a special setting.”
The Wee Tart Coffee Shop & Milk baris fully licensed and open from 8.00am until 10.00pm.
Cakes to Impress
Clare Pennell’s influence on New Zealand’s ‘cake world’ is significant. Her stylish designer cakes are sought after by celebrities and brides around the country and her boutique cake store at The Precinct is a drawcard for cake lovers.
“I wanted to offer our customers something a little different and create a memorable everyday enjoyment. I felt Wanaka was ready for a destination specialty cake shop and the interior is lovely featuring an Italian Casa Mia mural, warm ivory tiles and wooden floors.”
A chef by trade with over 30 years’ experience, Clare loves sharing her cake products with everyone, not just brides and wedding guests.
“We offer a huge range of sweet treats, biscuits, cake slices, tarts and pastries along with a good range of local retail products and we create cakes for all occasions. Our daily buttermilk scones with clotted cream are super popular as are Sunday high teas that are also available for home entertaining. Our famous Express cakes are available daily and we do next day cake orders. However for custom designed cakes we recommend prior orders of one to weeks.”