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).

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Looking to get your Flintstones on, cooking a slab of meat to your liking on a scorching hunk of rock? Then you can’t go passed spending a winter’s afternoon or evening stone-grilling your heart out fireside in the comfy surrounds of Belfast’s Styx and Stone. Think leather couches and a cosy/moody ambience, peppered with antiques (ramping up the nostalgic funk), while Monteiths on tap and a stellar Kiwi wine available alongside a glittering display of top shelf tipples. Hit them up on the weekend when the tables are moved after the dinner service to make way for the dance floor and the party really gets started – yabba dabba doo! www.styxandstone.co.nz...
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A pleasant wee culinary ripple has hit the city throughout July as Cloudy Bay Wines works with five top chefs in Christchurch for the 4th international Cloudy Bay Pinot & Duck Tasting Trail, giving gourmands the chance to feast on fowl. Local favourites King of Snake (local Canter Valley duck leg, marinated, steamed, boned, pressed, crisp-fried and served with wok fried greens and plum sauce), The Monday Room (their entry is still under wraps), JDV (Sichuan spiced crispy duck, steamed bread, daikon, cucumber and hoisin, pictured above) Baretta (duo of roast Canterbury duck breast and orange anise braised duck leg with hazelnut gnocchi, pomegranate molasses and apple, pictured below), Bloody Mary’s (duo of Canterbury duck with pickled mushrooms, pomme sauté and cherry jus) and Aikmans (two choices: confit duck with tamarillo and chocolate ravioli and a wild mushroom medley and smoked duck breast supreme on a bed of spinach, roasted carrot...
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Sick of not being able to source the fancy ingredients to pull off a slick cocktail or jazz up your dinner party? Swing by the epicureans at Decant in Riccarton where a huge range of French and European wines sits alongside more than 20 varieties of French cheese (think Bleau d'Auvergne and Comte) and escargots, foie gras, caviar, and Confit de Canard (duck in a can). This gourmand’s go-to not only takes the ‘hard to get’ out of ‘hard to get wine’, but also stocks a tastebud-tickling selection of exotic liqueurs and spirits the likes of Calvados, Armagnac, Martin Millers, Pineau de Charentes, Pommeau, Ratafia, Pastis and Gentiane while an on-site café supplies instant gratification. Decant 61 Mandeville Street, Riccarton 03 343 1945 www.decantwine.co.nz...
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Cityscape taps into the so-hot-right-now paleo/cave man diet with Mint Health & Fitness’ Clinical Nutritionist Di McCauley. What’s the deal with paleo? The research and theory behind the paleo diet is based on the presumed diet of Paleolithic humans which existed prior to the dawn of agriculture around 15,000 years ago. Given that human genetics have scarcely changed since that time, we remain adapted to the diets of this period. The paleo diet therefore fits with our genetic make-up keeping us lean, strong and energetic. This is in stark contrast to our modern diet full of refined foods, trans fats and sugars, proving to be the root of degenerative diseases such as; obesity, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, depression and infertility. Archaeological and anthropological data indicate our pre-agricultural ancestors were largely free from these modern afflictions of Westernised cultures. What’s on the menu? The paleo diet consists mainly of fish,...
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Cityscape does the truffle shuffle with Limestone Hills’ Gareth Renowden. How did you become a truffle farmer? Back in the mid-90s I saw a real estate ad for a property outside Christchurch that came with 450 truffle oaks. I hadn’t realised until then that truffles might be something you could grow in NZ, so I started doing some research... How important is location and how long from plant to plate? We came up to Waipara and bought our small farm because the valley was one of the first places in New Zealand where truffle trees were planted in the late 80s. You need limestone-rich, high pH soil and a warm climate, and Limestone Hills has all that – and is a great place to live. We now grow three kinds of truffles, olives and have a small vineyard producing very drinkable pinot noir and syrah wines. We planted our first truffle...
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Cityscape twists the arms of The Dragon’s Den Social Lounge’s owner Andrew Brown and mixologist Jamie Andrew Lawton for the recipe for their bodacious Figural Effect cocktail which they matched to killer nibbles honey roasted figs with soft feta, toasted macadamia and Serrano ham – you’re welcome! FIXIN’S 30mls London Dry Gin 1/2 a honey roasted fig* chopped 20mls lemon juice 10mls Beach Tree Honey ¼ Rosemary sprig 30mls Pink grapefruit juice 1 Egg white Soda to top Rosemary sprig for garnish METHOD Take your roasted fig and honey and muddle in a shaker till pulp. Add gin, rosemary, lemon, grapefruit and egg white. Shake without ice, then add ice and shake hard. Double strain into long glass filled with ice and top with soda and Rosemary garnish. *FOR THE HONEY ROASTED FIGS 450g figs 2 tbsp red wine 1 tbsp brown sugar 2 tbsp honey 2 tsp lemon zest Preheat...
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There’s a delicious irony in our mid-week escape to Clink – Sumner’s bounty of Kiwi-Euro fusion, (serial) killer cocktails and cosy seaside dining. Sharing the same name and location of a former holding pen for mutineers back in the late 1700’s, it’s likely thoughts of escape back then would be somewhat different to ours. A lot changes over the centuries and the former gruel-slinging, draughty pokey has been replaced by an intimate and stylish dining den and bar resplendent in buttery leather couches, guttering candle-light and glittering glassware. A cosy (courtesy of a roaring open fire) rabbit’s warren of interconnected rooms affords dining privacy, but doesn’t cut you off from a buzzing bar scene where craft beers and boutique wines are expertly dispensed alongside an array of outrageous outlaw-labelled cocktails. We order the gangster/Mad Men hybrid the Al Capone (a spirited whiskey old-fashioned) and the intriguing Hillside Strangler (a Tia...
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The SOMO district continues to blossom with the arrival of Town Tonic, the latest offering from the folks behind Passengers & Co and Taste Events / The Christchurch Farmers’ Market. Slotted neatly into the bottom floor of the new Moore Stephens Markhams building on the corner of Lincoln Road and Bernard Street, Town Tonic paints a picture of sleek modern cool and meticulous precision with its clean lines and dark wood and fabrics, gleaming black tiles, and a splash of lime to set things off. If you’re peckish you can tuck into some of their sophisticated, elegantly-constructed sharing plates (the Grecian charms of their braised lamb shoulder with green olive, pistachio, tabbouleh and yoghurt is the Cityscape favourite), but the bar is reason enough to visit on its own. You’ll find a choice range of boutique beers (and cider) on tap (and in bottles), as well as an excellent selection...
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Anyone serious about their dining and drinking will have already spent some major time trawling Christchurch’s über nightlife hotspot, putting in some quality hours at the likes of Smash Palace, Carlton (not technically in Victoria St, but well within range), Cruz Bar, King of Snake, Mexicano’s, Tequila Mockingbird, Harlequin Public House (just out of the Victoria St line on the corner of Salisbury and Montreal Streets), and Mashina Lounge. Bar and restaurant owners aren't content to rest on their laurels, though – the options for your night out along Vic Street just keep increasing. The reborn The Bog is now back on the scene (after its quake-imposed hiatus) bigger and better than ever, joining the cocktail-cool of The Dirty Land from Tony Astle. Mr Astle is also set to re-open his pre-quake Thai favourite Chinwag, again down – you guessed it – Victoria Street. Getting from one end of this inner-city hospitality highway to the other in just one evening is...
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Christchurch’s little slice of Italy, Baretta bar and restaurant, is all set to go troppo when it moonlights as the Havana Club Embassy Bar over two coming weekends. From Thursday 27 March, and then again the following weekend from Thursday 3 April, Baretta party goers are set to experience a little Latin fever with an offering that Fidel himself would be proud of. Things kick off with the launch party on Thursday (27 March) at 6pm featuring a feisty mix of Latin music from the Doc Sanchez Trio, Cuban canapés, and (of course) lashings of Mojitos and other Havana Club cocktail specials. (Mmm, we love us some Mojitos.) The Embassy Bar will continue to rock out over the rest of the weekend, so bust out that white linen suit or slinky cocktail dress and head down to stand coolly by the bar and live out your James Bond or Bond Girl...