Eating & Drinking

Here’s the inside word on Christchurch restaurants, cafés and bars. Whether you’re looking for a casual neighbourhood eatery or fine dining, a chilled-out café for Sunday brunch or a fast caffeine fix on the way to work, a cool wine bar or a happening bar where you can dance all night, we’ve got it (along with recipes, tips and the latest new gourmet foods to fill your pantry).

Cityscape Eating @
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Overlooking New Regent Street, Twenty Seven Steps, the new restaurant from co-owners Emma Mettrick and Chef Paul Howells (formerly of Little Bistro in Akaroa), is a reflection of what the proprietors personally love and how they like to dine. Head into the historic central city street and up the stairs to the simply-styled restaurant, and you’ll find a cosy and intimate space where food isn't frilly or over styled – don’t come looking for foams, smears or tweezer-placed adornments!   Theirs is a simple three-course approach and everything is made in-house or name checked, sourced from the best Emma and Paul can track down – independent, free range, ethical and organic suppliers are used whenever possible and the result is plenty of bold, robust and gutsy flavours. Standout dishes in the early running are the aged Canterbury beef fillet, with bone marrow crust, duck fat fondant potato, winter greens, horseradish...
Cityscape Gourmet Food
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A freshly-baked loaf of bread is a great winter warmer, but why settle for plain ol’ bread when you can chow down on the glory that is Totally Gluten Free Bakery’s heaven- sent Bacon, Cheese and Cracked Pepper loaf. Full of bacony joy, this savoury sensation is (as its maker’s name suggests) GF without losing flavour or bready goodness.   Launch things into the flavour stratosphere by adding NIH’s Cucumber and Chilli Chutney, a feisty, ol’ skool treat that goes with everything and can be found at the Ohoka and Lyttleton Farmers’ Markets.  (Tip: grab the one with the red ‘H’: Whole. Other. Level!)...
Cityscape Eating @
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There’s sense of occasion as you ascend the darkened stairs to Christchurch’s own love letter to the final frontier. Futuristic, sleek and slick, Stellar Restaurant & Bar literally takes fine dining in the city to new heights, perched atop 235 Riccarton Road. Combining an impressive menu with an open and airy dining room with a funky space-age fit out, it’s a venue designed to have its guests seeing stars (and not the faded, Shortland Street variety) with its out-of-this-world offering.Stellar fuses contemporary European fare with a Kiwi edge with a spectacular view of the night sky courtesy of the funky moon roof, and an onsite telescope(!) allows those interested to do some more serious stargazing. But it’s not all about night dining; in contrast, by day, with this many windows, the restaurant becomes a sun-drenched haven where a delicious respite via their legendary high-tea can be enjoyed on the balcony...
Cityscape Drinking @
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Image: Andre Glynn Photography Flanked by a towering cigar chomping, steel-eyed possible dictator or cartel runner mural on one wall and a stunning, tangerine "April Sun in Cuba"-style panorama on the opposite one, it’s clear we’re not in Christchurch anymore.With the aim of bringing a slice of Havana to the central city, the team behind Baretta have not only hit one out of the park with their spanking new cabana of cool that is The Cuban, but also seriously upped St Asaph Street’s swag in the process.The next level transformation of the now unrecognisable former St Asaph Street Kitchen & Stray Dog Bar features an epic covered courtyard studded with stand-around gas fire-cum-bar leaners for brisk winter arvos and evenings, with the option of raising the roof (or retracting, if we’re being technically correct) for hot spring/summer nights.Nailing effortless hip, a chunky ol’ skool wooden bar that could be straight...
Cityscape Foodie File
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Catering and hires business Continental has stepped things up a notch with the appointment of Simo Abbari as Executive Chef.If the name sounds familiar, it’s because it’s well known amongst foodies in the city – Moroccan-born Simo is the taste-maker behind delicatessen/cafe/cooking school Mosaic by Simo in Addington and pre-quake, Restaurant Simo’s at the Crowne Plaza. Simo has vast and diverse experience in the industry, having trained in classical French cuisine, worked in kitchens around Europe and North Africa, and overseeing first-class airline catering from Tripoli before moving to our neck of the woods 22 years ago and working at the Millennium Hotel, Christchurch Parkroyal, Convention Centre and Westpac Trust Centre before opening his own ventures, which quickly became local favourites.As Continental’s Executive Chef, Simo will be overseeing the cuisine direction all Continental’s food-based activities: Event Catering (weddings, private occasions, public and sporting events, corporate catering, conferencing and tradeshows); the Alff...
Cityscape Eating @
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It may be opening night, but things are already humming at new bar and restaurant Gas Monkey when Cityscape makes its way down to The Palms Arena to scope things out. Our eye is immediately caught by the King Kong-themed fish tank (and old gas heaters neatly repurposed as bar lighting); but cinema’s most famous simian is merely one of hundreds of his brethren in the warm, welcoming fit out – monkeys (and to get technical, apes) teem throughout the joint as sculptures, images and quirky objet d’art. They’re all over the menu, too (on the menu, but not on the menu – calm down, PETA), directing us to the wide range of tastiness available for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The conveniently compartmentalised food list offers a robust selection of burgers (pulled pork – yes please), and there’s even a devoted milkshake section for aficionados, including the magnificent creation that...
Cityscape Eating @
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“The menu is made for sharing and you’ll want to take a little taste from each of the Sumthin’s,” enthuses our waitress over the toe-tappingly raucous strains of Seth Hamilton and the Jimmy Rainy Quartet, which are saxing their way up to Orleans’ suitably broody mezzanine level.Strange's Lane’s first birthday is in full swing and Christchurch’s ragin’ Cajun quarter is channelling some serious Bourbon Street swagger. Tucked up an unassuming High Street alley, strings of hundreds of fairy lights lead to the balloon-strewn bohemian bricked courtyard, where a bangin’ DJ set is firing up revellers not adverse to the intermittent showers, while those who are swill killer prohibition-cool cocktails in the pimped-up industrial chic of neighbouring watering hole Strange & Co.We get our own party started with a round of Orleans’ cocktails; the classic Red Snapper ups the ante with a Creole spin on the classic Bloody Mary by adding...
Cityscape Eating & Drinking
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Big congratulations go to the winners in the 2015 Christchurch Hospitality Awards!    Cafe of the Year, Barista of the Year (Chris Penny) and Crew Member of the Year(Chris Penny): Hello Sunday Central City Establishment of the Year: King of SnakeBartender of the Year: Louis Dyer, Civil and NavalManager of the Year: Dale Palea'ae, C1 EspressoChef of the Year: Jonny Schwass, Harlequin Public House  Regional Establishment of the Year, Restaurant of the Year and Supreme Establishment of the Year: Roots Supreme Emerging Establishment: Boo Radley’s  Pop-Up Establishment of the Year: Tiki TacoBar of the Year: Dux Live Beverage Supplier and Supreme Supplier: Three Boys Brewery Specialty Supplier of the Year: Canterbury CheesemongersGoods & Services Wholesaler of the Year: Trents  ...
Cityscape Eating @
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We peruse the carefully-curated menu under the watchful gaze of a Bengal Tiger prowling the jungle undergrowth. The impressive mural features a stunning jewel-green tiled ceiling, just part of the stunning package at this excellent addition to St Asaph Street’s buzzing restaurant and bar scene that offers some of the city’s finest Indian cuisine.A love song to all things Bombay, local curry legend Amar Singh’s Coriander’s Ethnic Indian Restaurants’ mothership is housed in a beautiful, colonial-style building, resplendent in white. Ornate decorating and fancy murals join a movie-poster clad Bollywood room and sunny, undercover outdoor area perfect for lazy weekend lunches and early evening dining.Inside, a slick bar setup is a great place to grab a pre-dinner tipple if you’re waiting on your table (FYI: if you haven’t booked for dinner, a wait is pretty much a given), while well-placed kitchen windows allow diners to not only check out the...
Cityscape Coffee @
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Walk into Christchurch’s Pepperberry Café & Florist and you’re greeted by the intoxicating aromatic trifecta of home-baked goodies, freshly brewed coffee and fragrant, fresh-cut flowers. Perched on the busy corner of Bealey Avenue and Colombo Street, this sun-drenched hip café/florist hybrid is a veritable urban oasis where mother and daughter team Trish and Letty Hamilton have been combining their passions for killer café fare and coffee (Trish) and floristry (Letty) with a funky line of giftware since 2011. Now an institution on the city’s café scene (even Prime Minister John Key is a fan), it’s not uncommon to find those in the know queuing at Pepperberry for a precision-made Hummingbird Coffee to enjoy alongside one of Trish’s fresh-from-the-oven muffins, scones and slices, made on site. (FYI, the Rocky Road is next level decadence.) A perusal of the gourmet cabinet fare sees golden homemade Cornish pasties sitting alongside a selection of...