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A sumptuous spread: Purple Weka Cafe and Bar


It’s nearly the end of the decade – time to shout the team a well-earned Purple Weka spread.

 

 

Purple Weka Café and Bar is open and humming at 6am, so people can park outside the door to grab their catering order for get togethers in the boardroom or tradies’ toolbox shouts. It’s a great little licensed venue for functions too, seating up to 50.

Hands-on owner and foodie Stu has 20 years’ experience in the industry. He creates the best, from antipasto platters, egg ‘n’ bacon slices and sumptuous club sandwiches through to decadent scones with jam and cream. Purple Weka sells jars of its own homemade jam and marmalade too – a sweet as Christmas pressie!

Just like the café, it’s always wholesome, homestyle cooking for the popular catering service, Stu says. Around 36 hours’ notice is appreciated, but you can always ask.

Stu knows his customers and has high-protein fixes for an energy injection, like berry and banana high-protein shakes and a peanut butter and dark chocolate protein slice. Saintly yet sinful!

Those in the know also head for Purple Weka’s whitebait sammies at this time of year, which, subject to availability, are always a sell-out. It’s served Kiwi-style only – that’s between soft white bread with a squeeze of lemon.

To arrange catering – no order too large or too small – or to pre-order fabulous takeaway coffee, phone 03 366 0258, or visit www.purplewekacafe.co.nz for the catering menu. Pop down to Purple Weka on Fitzgerald Avenue, which is open seven days a week, if you haven’t already.

 

 


 

Cosy place to chill: Fig Restaurant and Bar


The English have their local pub – a cosy, casual place ideal to chill out with friends for a drink after work or for a more leisurely weekend catchup. It is possible to recreate that vibe here in our very own city and at Fig Restaurant and Bar they have succeeded in doing just that.

 

 

Central to the local pub concept is the very recent development of a stylish outside courtyard area. It has been created especially as an informal space for meeting to share a glass of wine or a beer, a chat and a few very tasty snacks.

There is plenty of room to gather around the benches or tables with the chairs all dressed in crisp blue and white cushions. This is not merely a warm weather spot – tall, powerful gas heaters keep it toasty and you can wrap yourself up in soft rugs. But of course it will be delightful in the lengthy summer evenings with its shade sails and protection from the wind.

The courtyard has its own extensive bar menu as well, totally in keeping with the casual atmosphere. There are spicy hot chicken wings, chicken satay skewers, devilled prawns, noodles and sliders, but that is only a sample. Add in salads, platters, mussels and wedges and you are really spoiled for choice.

If for some reason however, you aren’t tempted by this fare you can dine in the courtyard from the main restaurant’s à la carte or grill menu – an international modern bistro style menu. Fig Restaurant and Bar is in the Quality Hotel Elms on the corner of Papanui Road and Frank Street. Make it your local.

 


 

A majestic menu: The Majestic Indian Bistro & Tandoor


Using the freshest, locally sourced produce combined with authentic north Indian flavours, everything at The Majestic Indian Bistro & Tandoor is made onsite from scratch.

 

 

Owner Karandeep Singh took over the Ferrymead business in November last year, providing a full transformation – from the name to the menu. His team of two skilled chefs have over 20 years of experience each, including at 5-star hotels, and enjoy creating every dish to each customers’ taste. “Our food is very high quality; we really listen to our customers and love hearing their feedback afterwards as well.”

With a deck outside to enjoy al fresco dining and a beautiful view of the hills in the summer and a warm cosy atmosphere indoors during winter, The Majestic is a great choice for the entire family. There’s even a children’s menu they’ll love, featuring mini butter chicken or kid-sized chicken korma and naan bread stuffed with marshmallow or chocolate. “This is really popular with the little ones.”

The Onion Bhaji Rings are a true favourite, as well as the Chicken Tikka Masala, Tandoori Chicken and Lamb Rogan Josh – succulent pieces of lamb with garlic, ginger and aromatic-spiced gravy. For a truly traditional experience, try the Goat Curry dish that North India is famous for – cooked on the slow fire with secret spices, finished with coriander and red onion garnish.

With a $10 lunch menu, takeaway, as well as gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan options, you can’t go wrong with The Majestic. Deliveries within 6km are free for orders over $40. Visit www.themajesticfood.co.nz.

 


 

Wigram’s must-visit: Le Bakermen Cafe and Bakery


From classic Kiwi favourites to fresh, modern ideas with a twist, the impressive range of scrumptious options at Le Bakermen Café and Bakery in Wigram makes it well worth a visit.

 

 

Creating familiar dishes with an added flair, owner Will Leung opened the vibrant eatery in March and describes his baking as ‘using French techniques for Japanese-style delicacies, with a Kiwi kick.’ One of the most popular current dishes is the Motherclucker – French toast with crispy fried chicken – followed by the Pulled Pork or Eggs and Spinach on Waffles.

Everything is made fresh onsite daily – apart from the famous Fairlie Pies, sitting alongside the café’s own stunning pie range. Will also bakes a selection of delicious breads, including sourdough, beautiful baguettes and bagels baked in honey. The amazing cheese scones made with buttermilk are a sell-out by 11am every day and the Havana coffee is expertly made by Vii, a former Ara barista tutor.

Sarah bakes the ‘sweets with a spin’ such as sponge cake with lemon curd instead of jam, or lollie cake with pineapple lump marshmallow – along with traditional favourites such as banana loaf. Doughnut Friday is also a sell-out, with funky flavours attracting customers from all over the city, such as cereal-infused malt custard doughnuts topped with crunchy caramelised cornflakes or roasted balsamic strawberry doughnuts, topped with dulce de leche.

A selection of gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan options are also available. The café is also dog-friendly and parking is plentiful. Follow Le Bakermen on Instagram and Facebook.

 


 

 

Longhurst’s hottest spot: The Long Knight


The Long Knight is your local, family-run gastro pub, catering for everything from a quick bite to family dining and group functions.

 

 

The bar, restaurant and bottle shop offers up top-notch food and hospitality in the new Longhurst subdivision in Halswell.

Serving hearty, modern and contemporary fare, the most popular choices have got to be the chicken breast schnitzel, TLK cheeseburger, grass-fed steaks and house-made gnocchi which are all listed as crowd favourites.

Come the weekend, The Long Knight is a happening local venue. It’s the perfect place to head out for a meal with family and friends, or, with three large TV screens, you can either relax in a booth or reserve a leaner in the bar to watch all major sporting events.

During the week, there’s also plenty on the go. On Tuesday nights, they alternate between the ever-popular quiz nights and musical bingo events, all of which are promoted on Facebook, so be sure to head along one evening.

If you’re looking for new Christchurch hotspots to check out, The Long Knight needs to be added to your list. It’s the perfect place to gather with mates, or bring the family along on a sunny day to spend time in the beer garden enjoying a drink and platter while the kids explore the playground.

For more information, phone 03 322 1862 or check them out on Facebook and Instagram.

 


 

New Kids on the Culinary Block


A clutch of exceptional new eateries have stamped their mark on the city in the last year and we’ve rounded up some of the best, just for you.

 

 

1. EARL
A fine but casual dining atmosphere with a laid-back, buzzing vibe awaits at EARL, the city’s coolest little food-centric wine bar nestled in the heart of the CBD. Using exceptional ingredients, EARL takes a simple, pared-back approach to its coastal European-style dishes, perfectly pairing them with handpicked local and international wines. The Earl of Burger is a definite favourite – culinary royalty Nigella Lawson herself rated it ten out of ten!


2. Permit Room
Situated in one of Christchurch’s most iconic buildings, the former Isaac House, the Permit Room is a colonial-style restaurant that’s sure delight every one of your senses. Travel back in time to India’s 1940s alcohol prohibition days (rest assured – alcohol is definitely not prohibited here) and prepare to indulge in a feast of Southern Indian flavours. Top it all off with charming, unparalleled service and you’ve got yourself a culinary experience to remember!


3. Original Sin
An upbeat ambience and immaculate interior set the scene for an unforgettable dining experience at Original Sin, where you’ll encounter devour-able dishes that are created with unmatchable culinary expertise. Using seasonal, local produce, Original Sin caters to every taste and every diet – book a table and find out for yourself.


4. Burger Burger
On the hunt for a supreme burger? Burger Burger’s first South Island restaurant flung open its doors last month and we’re drooling over the line-up of mammoth burgers, alongside scrumptious sides (kumara fries, edamame beans, charred broccoli… the list goes on), old-fashioned shakes, cool cocktails and “really cold beers”.


5. Chiwahwah Mexican Cantina
Take your taste buds on a culinary adventure with Chiwahwah, the swanky Mexican cantina with a menu to die for. Perched overlooking the Avon river, this vibrant eatery serves up everything Mexican from tacos and quesadillas to ceviche and ensalada. Whether you’re after a cheeky margarita, a tapas-style banquet or a birthday dinner, head on down to the coolest Mexican joint in town.


6. Tuam Street Kitchen
Delivering hearty brunches and lunches to your table, Tuam Street Kitchen offers up a jam-packed menu that’s ‘designed to be fun, fast and diet-friendly’. Kick your weekend off with a breakfast cocktail or liqueur coffee and savour a Belgian Waffle Sandwich – banana slices, Nutella, Greek yoghurt and Oreo crumbs sandwiched between two waffles… need we say more?


7. The Yard
The hottest of hotspots, this boutique eatery offers a medley of international eats, including Parisian-style creperie Maison de Crepes, MOKOJI Korean Pancakes, hole-in-the-wall sandwich bar OTTO Delicatessen and more. Have a seat in the light-filled space and take your pick.


8. Story Restaurant
Food connoisseurs will be in their element at Story, where outstandingly delectable dishes reside. Bought to you by talented team behind Town Tonic, Story Restaurant offers up creative culinary creations that will satisfy even the fussiest of palates. Vegans and vegetarians – there’s plenty for you!


 

Classic nostalgic nosh: Purple Weka Cafe and Bar


Remember those traditional, tummy satisfying meals from childhood that made winter wickedly wonderful? Purple Weka Café & Bar is the place to go to reconnect with those delectable dishes we’ve all but forgotten.

 

 

For that perfect weekend treat, sip a wine while savouring old-time favourites like lamb’s fry and bacon with slow roasted tomato and red currant jelly; or Ma’s Mince (owner Stewart McDougall’s mother’s recipe), a combination of savoury mince topped with a soft poached egg and served with five grain toast; their Eggs Benedict – two poached eggs on toasted ciabatta with a choice of crispy bacon or smoked salmon, smothered in hollandaise sauce – is classic nostalgic nosh.

If it’s soup you crave then grab your friends or work-mates and hunker down over steaming bowls of homemade creamy mushroom soup, old-fashioned vegetable soup, or pumpkin and spinach soup – nutritious and delicious! Purple Weka’s Big Breakfast of streaky bacon, sausages, hash browns, sautéed mushrooms, grilled tomato and two eggs is a must, while their corn fritters, three egg omelette, and creamy mushrooms soothes those rumbling tums.

For a fast-fix breakfast, nothing beats their toast topped with the sweetest selection of homemade jams and marmalade, all of which are preservative and additive free; you can even buy a jar to gift to your mum, she’ll be well impressed! So, with loads of parking, what are you waiting for?

Find Purple Weka at 48 Fitzgerald Avenue, Christchurch Central. Open Monday to Friday 6am to 4pm, Saturday to Sunday 8am to 3pm, phone 03 366 0258.


 

Asian crème de la crème: Hoi An House


The flavours we crave now are fresh, tasty and exotic. Some of us are on a health kick, flexitarian, or looking for plant-based food, but all of us love the light, fragrant and just plain irresistible tastes of modern Asian cuisine.

 

 

Street food is currently king and there is nowhere better to get your hit than Commi. Located on the corner of Colombo and Somerfield Streets in Beckenham, families, locals and those from further away with a nose for the best in Vietnamese, Thai, Indian, Malaysian and Chinese head to this casual and cosy environment where every dish is under $20, there are sharing plates and no bookings are needed.

The latest Asian food trends tend to contain lots of vegetables and healthier sauces – it’s not just about being exotic and tasty but also about being lighter and healthier and that is what you’ll find in abundance at Commi, with choices to please every palate.

Hoi An House in Halswell Road is destination dining for all the very best in Vietnamese and Thai cuisine, in a fine and historic venue. Full service fine dining is complemented by the garden terrace and the function room that can be arranged in intimate spaces or for up to 80 guests. A lunch menu is available from Wednesday to Sunday for both dine in and takeaway.

The chefs at both Commi and Hoi An House have travelled to Christchurch from Thailand, Vietnam, the Philippines, and Malaysia to bring you the flavours of their home towns, prepared under fully compliant and sustainable business practices.

The quality of the ingredients used is the central tenet of both restaurants, with the crème of local vegetables combined with the very best of imported items such as bamboo shoots, baby corn, and water chestnut, to keep dishes authentic. The soy and oyster sauces used are gluten free, and most dishes can be made vegetarian with notice to the chef.

The Asian Garden Cooking School at Harewood completes the hat trick of excellence in Asian cuisine. Here you, friends, or colleagues can learn the techniques required to reproduce the authentic and delicious tastes from the restaurants in your kitchens at home.

Book your individual or group lessons at www.asiancookschool.co.nz.


 

Monday Room Magic


It’s been a very merry month of May at The Monday Room, for they are in a triumphant frame of mind and are intent on celebration right through to June!

 

 

With buildings coming down and new buildings rising around them post quakes, this valiant dining establishment has staunchly remained open for business, and now, with the projected reopening of the top end of High Street only days away, it’s definitely time to party.

“We really want to say a big thank you to Christchurch; thank you for your help and loyalty to us; thank you to all the amazing construction people around here who’ve been so considerate and cooperative; thank you to our patrons, not just for seeking us out and getting what we’re all about – which is to encourage a bit of fun and fantasy – but for spreading the good word, because the people just keep coming and we’re having a fantastic time!” co-owner Katy Mecchia says.

The Monday Room fans have much to look forward to in merry-making and mischief as Katy and her crew prepare their wonderland for the pursuit of pleasure. There will be sidewalk entertainment and the best in live music, with top-drawer guest performers enhancing your dining experience, which will go something like this…

 

 

As the White Rabbit fluffs out your napkin and Alice pours you a complimentary glass of champers, courtesy of Trust the Chef and Trust the Somm, you cast your eyes over the menu and ponder the feast that awaits. The item Degustations certainly sounds intriguing; it’s described as tastings of the small plate collection of autumn dishes (with bewitching names like Forbidden Fruit, Give Them Pumpkin to Talk About, Oh Deer! French Kiss and Six Beet Under), followed by tastings from the large plate collection (with noir names like The Silence of the Lambs, Three Little Pigs, Beauty and the Beef and The Black Eyed Peas).

For a bit of something-on-the-side, you’re truly tempted by tantalising side plates of Roasted Cauliflower, Lentils, Coconut Yoghurt; Salt Baked Parsnip and Fermented Parsnip; Smoked Potato, Burnt Leek; Crispy Autumn Root Skins, Smoked Mayonaise; Salad Greens, Pear, Almonds, and Maple Vinaigrette. Oh, how divinely decadent!

As you discreetly mop your drooling mouth, you catch sight of the sweet plates collection and look up to find the Cheshire Cat giving you his most wicked grin, while the Mad Hatter cackles his joy as he relieves you of your menu. “Will that be a bit of everything for you then, my dear?” he asks. You weakly nod your assent as your tummy rumbles. You sip your champers and succumb to the sweetest surrender you will ever know.

 

 

Find The Monday Room at 161 High Street, phone 03 377 5262 or visit www.themondayroom.nz.


 

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.