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A Garden City icon: Spagalimis

In August 1978, ‘You’re the one that I want’ with Olivia Newton John and John Travolta was at the top of the charts, Rob Muldoon was our Prime Minister and we won five gold medals at the Commonwealth Games. It was also the year that we were blessed with the opening of Spagalimis Pizza – an iconic heritage brand in pizza in the Garden City.

Since 1978, Spagalimis has been bringing us pizzas to delight our taste buds, like the New Yorker, featuring authentic pepperoni with special sauce and cheese or the Cappricciosa, with mushrooms, fresh sliced tomatoes, capsicum and black olives.
Constantly providing quality pizzas that have had families, couples, work mates returning time and time again to sample from a range of vegetarian, beef, pork, seafood, lamb and chicken pizza.

Now situated on the heritage site of Ironside House on the corner of Salisbury and Montreal Streets built in 1899, there’s just nothing like having a classic pizza in such a nostalgic environment. Perhaps you want to sit outside with the al fresco dining and admire the Jubilee Clock, enjoy a beverage or two from the comprehensive wine list, or a cocktail or two with mates in the bar area.
With parking just off Montreal to make it easy for family groups, there’s plenty of great reasons to try the classic flavours of Spagalimis pizza in the Garden City today.

The Monday Room

Seasonal Sensations: The Monday Room

In mid-winter, sharing comfort food with great friends can be a wonderful experience. There’s no better place to do that than at The Monday Room at 161 High Street.

The Monday Room

A destination for any food and beverage lover, the new winter menu has some great options to tempt you in out of the cold, including Slow Roasted Beef Cheeks, Canterbury Duck and the seriously decadent 12-hour Braised Lamb shoulder – an incredibly succulent dish that must be tried to be appreciated. The restaurant doesn’t shy away from the hearty meat dishes, but there is something for everyone in this comprehensive new menu.

For fancy home cooked sharing plates, ‘Trust the Chef’ is an amazing concept. Chef Hannah has devised an amazing selection of plates to be shared for every type of palate for only $45 a head. What better way to celebrate together and create memories to last a lifetime than a banquet-style buffet from the centre of the table that is designed especially for group gatherings?
The Monday Room offers quality traditional food with a modern twist, amongst convivial surroundings, with the service and beverage to back it up. So why not sit back with a quality cocktail or boutique wine and enjoy the company of your best and closest friends? The Monday Room is comfort food at its finest.

No.4 Bar and Restaurant

Winter Warmers: No.4 Bar and Restaurant

No.4 Bar and Restaurant is a premium establishment in the heart of Merivale. Housed in a converted 1920’s villa, it offers exceptional indoor and outdoor dining and refreshments.

No.4 Bar and Restaurant

On these cooler evenings, the inside is cosy, warmed by a roaring fire, and the courtyards are heated. When the beautiful summer weather kicks in, what could be a more perfect end to the day than al fresco drinks with friends?.
And what would a friendly neighbourhood establishment be without a delicious and varied menu that caters to all tastes, including gluten-free meals? If there is a function on the horizon, it’s the perfect venue for a cocktail party, birthday, anniversary or corporate event with space and catering for all tastes.

Open seven days from breakfast ‘til late, the No.4 menu includes favourites such as chicken wings, turkey schnitzel, salads, shared platters and, of course, a range of prime Canterbury beef.
It’s comfort food time and beef cheeks in No.4’s wonderful madeira sauce or perhaps the pork belly, Malaysian kumara and apple curry or a Denver venison leg with a celeriac and juniper rosti, black pudding crumb, carrots and beetroot are great options to warm you up and give you something to enjoy amongst friends.

Renowned for its generous and varied platters, No.4 has gained a reputation for exceptional dining. Look out for daily specials, such as $12 Tacos on Tuesday, $10 cocktails on Thursday, the Boss’s shout on Friday and much more.
Drop into No.4 at 4 Mansfield Avenue, Merivale.
Visit for the full menu and other details.

Magnitude Café and Roastery

Culinary Magnitude: Magnitude Café and Roastery

Spoiler alert! Apologies to the early adopters wanting to keep this place on the down low, but this is a secret begging to be shared. Magnitude Café and Roastery is the hotspot your taste buds and seasonal hunger pangs should discover asap.

Magnitude Café and Roastery

The winter feature is the Signature Baked Potato. Made to order and eat in or take away – the selection changes daily as staff come up with genius flavour combos, but popular Mexican and Meatlovers are keepers.
The small breakfast menu is now joined by a new bagel menu. The choices include classic smoked salmon, plus the mouth-watering bacon, mushroom and blue cheese. Scones and muffins are made daily, while Hillyers Bakery supplies the pies plus breads, filled onsite with options that include vegie and gluten free.
Also new is the smoothie and protein shake menu – banana peanut butter is to-die-for. Happy hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays 11am to 12pm means regular hot drinks are just $2. Freshly roasted coffee includes the house blend which is French, plus six other roasts. Coffee is bagged available to buy as well.

Owned by David Humphrey of Stewarts Coffee Dunedin fame, Magnitude has a modern rustic feel and a golden glow that supports the toasty warmth. It’s beautifully spacious for anyone not keen on a crush and ideal for business meetings with its large tables, free Wi-Fi, and many plug points. Open Monday to Friday 7am to 3pm at 2/314 Tuam Street, off-street parking completes the package.

Casa De Sanchez

Sublime Spanish Tapas: Casa De Sanchez

There are plenty of reasons to stop and take a look at Casa De Sanchez on the main road just before Amberley. Its ambiance is soaked with a gorgeous Latina-American feel, the menu is full of the most sumptuous tapas and a range of treats and the team is friendly and knowledgeable.Casa De Sanchez

Feeling like I was having lunch at a gentlemen’s hacienda in Mexico, I savoured the ceviche – raw fish in lime juice – which is a must-try – and the polenta fries and jalapeño and queso croquetas; rich croquets with just enough kick.
It’s a definite must-see if you’re in the area or looking for an excuse to drive to North Canterbury. Using the finest of local produce and wine – and we all know the area is a cornucopia of epicurean delights – the menu by head chef Merv is bristling with things worth trying. Doc Sanchez, owner and Latin guitar aficionado says, “We want people to walk in and have great service, fantastic food and enjoy a wonderful environment”.

Well he doesn’t get that wrong, with cocktails served by bar manager Olivia, a Californian fluent in Spanish, to Toots and Woody, the rainbow lorikeets in the expansive garden area and live music on a Friday and Sunday.
Open from 11am until late, Casa De Sanchez is my pick for a great dining and entertainment experience. PS, you can drop in for huevos rancheros, a scrambled egg burrito and other wonderful breakfast options to take away from the food van parked out front from 7am-10.30am every day! Este es un restaurant de primera!

Cranford Ale House

Culinary Conviviality: Cranford Ale House

You just have to walk into the Cranford Ale House to sense its warmth and conviviality. Its tasteful decor is reminiscent of the best English pubs, with red plush velvet and green leather, along with carefully selected oak antiques and an eclectic collection of pictures adorning the walls.

Cranford Ale House

“We aimed to create a welcoming ambience for everyone, from whole families to couples or friends,” owner Andrew Norton says. “We want our customers to relax and enjoy themselves here, and to call the place their local.”
There is a real community feel about this bar and restaurant, with regular activities on the go. Monday night is Quiz Night starting from 7pm, with a great Quiz Master and over $100 worth of prizes each night. There are also special meal deals. Tuesday is ‘two for one’ Steak Night. Bookings are essential to take advantage of this offer as it is so popular.

Equally popular is the music on Sunday afternoons from 2pm to 5pm, with different artists entertaining as customers dine or sample drinks from the wide range of wines, spirits and beers.
“We have 14 beers on tap and food to appeal to adults and children alike. There is plenty of parking, so come and cosy up to the fire on these chilly winter days. If the sun should deign to make an appearance, we have a beautifully landscaped courtyard where people can soak up the precious rays.”

Open every day from 10am, phone
03-355 0218. Cranford Ale House also a loyalty programme.

Café Berlin

A culinary destination: Café Berlin

It feels like yesterday that it opened, but Café Berlin is fast approaching its third anniversary. During these three years, the deli and coffee shop in Normans Road has built up a top reputation for its German sausages, smallgoods and cakes, attracting migrants and locals, as well as tourists longing for familiar treats.

Café Berlin


While Currywurst, Sauerkraut, meatballs, Beesting and Black Forest Gateau have always been bestsellers, the café has over time become a sought-after place for European cheeses. Due to customer demand owner Anneke Molly has increased her offerings from two to nearly twenty kinds of cheese from the Netherlands, France, Switzerland, Denmark and Italy.
While she makes it clear that the typical German goods will remain a priority, she now promotes her shop as a destination for cheese lovers. The main reason for this is the impending closure of the famous Canterbury Cheesemongers at the Arts Centre. “It is a pity that they are closing as they are such an iconic institution in our city,” Molly says.
“But the end of their trading is not the end of European cheeses in Christchurch. We are an alternative and we intend to get more and more cheeses in. If someone asks for a certain cheese, I can provide it. We will also try to offer English cheeses soon.”
Anneke’s personal favourites are the mild Fol Epi and the Gouda with walnuts. “This Gouda is particularly tasty in winter, cut into cubes with a glass of red wine.”
No bread needed, it is pure cheese indulgence.


Route 72 Café Bar Emporium

Foodies’ Culinary route: Route 72 Café Bar Emporium

Route 72 Café Bar Emporium, in beautiful Cust, needs to be experienced to be believed! A relaxing 40-minute drive from Christchurch to this charming North Canterbury village is a pleasure – and the food served up here is legendary.

Route 72 Café Bar Emporium
Owned by Steve and Annette since 2006, the award-winning café just keeps getting better. It is understandably on the culinary route for many a foodie.
Breakfasts from 9am to 11:30am offer sumptuous specialities fit for a king. The Eggs Kiwiana is the classic Benedict with Route 72’s special twist – poached free- range eggs, kumara rosti, spinach, creamy mushrooms on wholesome seeduction bread with tarragon hollandaise, with a choice of smoked salmon or bacon. There’s light fluffy pancakes through to the extra filling farmer’s full-cooked breakfast and tender juicy steak with all the trimmings. There are plenty of equally delectable vegetarian and gluten-free options too.
The café offers a gorgeous setting in the winter with a toasty fire in the café’s downstairs dining area and the upstairs seating offers vistas over the snow-capped mountains. A bonus of dining here for breakfast, lunch, dinner, tasty snacks or great organic coffee, is the Aladdin’s cave of tempting treasures. Here you will find an eclectic emporium of perfect gifts, and unusual finds from jewellery and scarves to home décor.
Route 72 is located at 1697 Cust Road, in the heart of the village, phone 03-312 5595, or visit
Open Tuesday to Sunday 9am to 4pm and Friday nights.

Lawrence Harvey,

Delicious Offerings: Q&A with Kitchen Manager of Louis Champagne and Oyster Bar, Lawrence Harvey

Louis Champagne and Oyster Bar is one of the city’s most delicious offerings. Metropol talks to Kitchen Manager, Lawrence Harvey, about his culinary passion and what’s cooking at this hospitality hotspot.

Lawrence Harvey,

Where did your passion for cuisine come from?

I was fortunate enough to have a mother who was very creative and who loved to cook. Cooking is something I’ve always been drawn to, even from a young age.

Can you tell us about your career evolution and what you’re up to now?

I have worked in hospitality since I was 18 and been cooking for the last 16 years, starting off as a kitchen hand and working my way up to head chef. In April I was offered a fantastic opportunity to be kitchen manager with the team at Louis and soon to open You Hanoi Me.

What are some of the exciting offers on the menu at the moment?

We’ve just released our new winter menu to great response. A clear stand-out favourite dish would be the butter poached lobster, braised pork cheek and celeriac. Also our ocean plate is another dish that is proving to be popular; it gives our customers a chance to try scallops, bluff oysters, tuna and market fresh fish all as a tasting entrée.

What is the most enjoying or fulfilling part of what you do?

I love cooking for so many reasons; the process of making and creating food; turning raw ingredients into something special that brings people together. The people. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some unique individuals; in this setting you form bonds and relationships which are hard to explain especially if you haven’t been subjected to stressful kitchen life.
Chef life can be tough, it’s not for everyone, but for those who fall in love with the profession, it’s a lifelong relationship. That’s me.

What does the next 12 months have in store for you?

It’s going to be a busy 12 months. We are opening a new modern Vietnamese restaurant at the entrance to the Vicinity on Victoria Street in the next few months, as well as continuing to build on what we’ve created at Louis and Red Light District.

Quality Hotel Elms

Culinary quality: the Quality Hotel Elms holds impressive restaurant offering ‘Fig’

As the name suggests, Quality Hotel Elms at 456 Papanui Road, oozes quality. From the standard, superior and deluxe accommodation, to the smiling customer service of hotel staff, you would seldom find a better place to stay in Christchurch.

Quality Hotel Elms

However, if the idea of dining out takes your fancy, then the Elms restaurant and bar, Fig, should be your first port of call. Start by choosing from the selection of exquisite entrées like Lemon Pepper Calamari, Haloumi Grilled Tikka or a Classic Ceaser Salad.
Moving on to the mains, the Slow Braised Canterbury Lamb Shank is a treat and the Duck Leg Confit glazed in orange and thyme makes for a mouth-watering combination. A great selection of Grilled Lamb, Chicken and Angus Beef is also on offer with your choice of sauces and sides.
For dessert, having a Mocha Dark Chocolate Tart, Mango Sorbet or Butter Milk Pistachio Pannacotta, provides the perfect conclusion to your meal. Gluten Free and Vegan options are also available as is a stunning selection of the finest wines, from locally and abroad.
If your night out consists of more than your nearest and dearest, Quality Hotel Elms can also cater for functions. With four conference rooms available capable of fitting 80 to 200 people, and access to the delicious delicacies from Fig, the Elms makes for the definitive venue for your next seminar or large social event.