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The Earls of East Block: Earl Restaurant

Restaurateur Tom Newfield and business partner, Chef Sam Campbell, opened Welles Street in 2017. Now they’re the Earls of a new culinary kingdom at 128 Lichfield Street in the city. We caught up with Tom to find out about Earl.



You haven’t even been open for six months, but you’ve had Nigella Lawson and the Prime Minister dining in, how does it feel to get that level of kudos?
I’m super proud of what my team and I have created, we are just excited to share it with everyone. Of course, rather humbled to host these two guests in particular, both of whom were extremely lovely, in fact I was more nervous of my 10 year old nephew’s review on the same dish that Nigella ate; he can be a harsh critic – but in the end they both agreed, the Earl of Burger is a ten out ten.

What drew you to hospitality?
The people, the energy, the round the clock sense of fun… and of course, the food.

How did you see Earl standing out against other culinary options in the city?
I see it more as complementing the other offerings here in Christchurch; all these unique, individual passionate operators doing their own thing, beating to their own drum, creates an eclectic and vibrant hospitality fabric for the city which gives our customers so much choice, appealing to everyone’s taste. Earl will appeal to those diners geared towards great wine, conversation and simple food done well.

How would you describe Earl’s vibe and your culinary offering?
Earl serves as a canvas for produce-driven dishes synonymous with the flavour, energy and relaxed vibe inspired by the coastal European culture. Our food philosophy is to take simple and traditional dishes and execute them using exceptional ingredients, whilst having some fun. This presents a skilful yet still unpretentious blend of cuisines and ideas. The vibe is casual yet refined – like an understated bistro you find in neighbourhoods of big metropolitan cities, but right here in the SALT district of our own inner city.

What does the next 12 months have in store for you?
Lots, but also more of the same, as I think consistency is the key. As an emerging lifestyle hospitality brand, we are basing our foundations on accessibility and informality, so with any new venture (which you may see open in the next 12 months), you can expect nothing less than our all-inclusive hospitality to be on offer where fun and flavour go hand in hand.


Funky new culinary quarters: Earl

You pretty much know you’ve made it when a celebrity cook, like the luscious and lovely Nigella Lawson, graces your premises for lunch and gives her stamp of approval.



Earl, a new food-centric bistro/wine bar located in the heart of the funky and very cool SALT (St Asaph-Lichfield-Tuam Streets) district, has certainly wasted no time in getting noticed. The menu is Coastal European, inspired by the energy and vibrancy that restaurateur/owner Tom Newfield found when travelling through coastal cities, such as Italy and Portugal. With dining seating for 65, plus casual seating for those wanting something lighter, this is the perfect place to kick-back, sip a wine at the wrap-around bar and enjoy the ambience. “What we provide is a laid-back feel, but with an around-the-clock sense of occasion,” Tom says.


The design and décor of this bistro is largely thanks to Tom. “I wanted to create a light-filled, timeless space, and break down the barriers between the kitchen and the customer – chefs dressed in crisp white and navy, passionately working in an open kitchen, which is centred as the focal point.” Earl serves as a canvas for produce-driven dishes for diners who love great wine and conversation. “Our food philosophy is to take simple and traditional dishes and execute them using exceptional ingredients, whilst having some fun.”


Located at the base of a new mixed-use building and sitting on Butchers Lane, which will eventually connect the area with a walkway to the city’s proposed new stadium, Tom views this locale as the best place to be. “We’re at the foot of One Central, which will eventually see over 900 residential apartments here; there’s the beautiful Rauora Park right across the road, and we’re surrounded by fantastic cafés, bars, boutique designer shops and theatres. The potential for this area is huge, and we’re so excited to be part of it!”

Find Earl at 128 Lichfield Street (close to corner Lichfield and Manchester Streets). Phone 03 365 1147, email, visit or find them on Facebook @earlbistro.