WellingtonEat & Drink
A person with tongs goes to pick up a pastry from the counter in Glou Glou. There is a row of decadent pastries.

Just off Courtenay Place, Glou Glou’s relaxed feel is a welcome contrast to the busy city. Sit at the high tables or tuck yourself into a cosy banquette. Enjoy a coffee from Supreme or colourful tea, matcha, or ube latte, and a warm atmosphere to match.

The café serves crumpets with sweet and savoury seasonal toppings on weekdays. On Fridays and weekends, it brings out the stars of the show — the pastries. If you’re lucky enough to nab some (they often sell out), take your time enjoying them — it took them six months to get here.

Everything at Glou Glou is a labour of love, but the pastries are something special. The almost perfect creation sitting on your plate is a result of half a year of painstaking trials and testing by head pastry chef Blair Son alongside owners Mike Ny and Taz McAuley.

Unable to render element

“We thought ‘what should a croissant taste like?’” says Mike. “We tested every single ingredient — every single butter that’s in the market, different ratios, different flours, different methods, everything.”

Now comes the equally time-consuming process of making each one by hand. The process from measuring ingredients to the finished product in front of you takes three days. Proofing, waiting, baking, and presenting, everything done to perfection.  

“Everything at Glou Glou needs to be perfect. If the coffees aren’t perfect, we won’t serve them. If the pastries aren’t perfect, we won’t serve them. What they’re served on, how they’re presented. We set the bar pretty high.”

Blair is from South Korea. After learning to bake at home with her mother, she came to Wellington’s Le Cordon Bleu to train to be a pastry chef. Also a perfectionist, she likes to keep her recipes simple, drawing out flavours from seasonal ingredients.

A person cuts a round pastry with a squiggle of cream on top. It sits on a black plate on a green tile table.

While the selection will often change, you’ll usually find classics like pain au chocolate, or variations of the in-vogue ‘cube’ — a beautiful square of pastry piped with a creamy filling. Take note of the almond croissants. Each almond has been carefully placed upright, rather than the usual presentation of laying them flat. Why? “To make it more beautiful,” says Blair.

Glou Glou (pronounced ‘glue glue’) is a French onomatopoeia. It translates to ‘glug glug’, reflecting the sound of a drink (usually wine) being poured, and it being gulped down by the drinker. The team wanted something that would make sense for both a café and a wine bar — a plan that’s in the pipeline for Glou Glou.

Every detail is thought through. From the beautiful takeaway boxes to the photo-worthy cascading plant wall, each element is by design. The team’s first venture into bricks and mortar hospitality, they wanted to get it right.

It’s hard to believe that the light-filled space that the café occupies was once a hallway. Part of The Exchange, it’s a co-working, events, retail, and hospitality space. With its street front spot, Glou Glou welcomes you into a building with pops of green and warm woods.