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The bubble tea craze: Ben Gong’s Queen Tea

If you love your tea and you are looking for a comfortable place to enjoy your authentic Chinese Royal tea, then make your way to Ben Gong’s Queen Tea at 380 Riccarton Road.



Using their own freshly made sugar cane syrup with freshly handmade pearl, the team at Ben Gong’s Queen Tea has selected only the best tea for their amazing infusions and uses only the freshest New Zealand milk. Brown Sugar Bubble Milk, Milk Foam Brew Tea, The Forbidden City Series and the Aurora series are teas worth exploring if you are looking for fresh, natural ingredients that are prepared by professional staff who want you to experience truly great tea.

The team has swapped the traditional powdered milk for fresh milk because, although powdered has a strong taste, it’s not as healthy. Ben Gong’s believes they have the freshest, heathiest and tastiest bubble milk tea in Christchurch.

With a dedication to quality that’s both healthy and tasty, you can try the unique taste that is Ben Gong’s Queen Tea. The elegance of the east and the wonders of the west are deliciously combined for a refined taste. Each cup is carefully prepared to create a wonderous blend of infusions and freshness.

If you haven’t tried bubble tea before, there is no better place to experience its unique flavours than at Ben Gong’s Queen Tea at 380 Riccarton Road.




Seven Café

Tempting High Tea Treats: Seven Café

Seven Café is a relaxing retreat in the heart of the hustle and bustle of Church Corner. With plenty of parking and a pretty, sequestered interior, it is a nice alternative to the frantic atmosphere of the mall.


Seven Café


On the menu at Seven is a tempting array of brunch items including smashed avocado, the café’s famous eggs benedict, and the even more popular Sticky Pork Sandwich – slow roasted pork belly with bacon, hashbrown, brie, lettuce and a homemade apple chutney. It’s also served with fries.

The staff are really friendly, in keeping with the casual but efficient style of the eatery. It is open seven days a week, is fully licensed, and has a diverse menu to suit everyone, including a children’s menu and toys to entertain the little ones.

Gift vouchers are available so you can give the experience to someone to enjoy, you can text your coffee order for convenience (see the website All the food is sourced fresh and caters to various dietary requirements. There are also catering, and private function facilities.

The High Tea at Seven is very popular. Whether a baby shower, a significant birthday, hen’s do, or a quiet celebration, it is served daily at 2:30. Club sandwiches, quiche, scones, chicken wraps, and other delights served with the choice of tea, coffee or juice.  A booking is essential, and all the information you need is on the website. Or you can contact the staff to discuss your event on  03 348 1886.



A leafy elixir

A leafy elixir

The “meet up for coffee?” might soon be replaced here with a very-British “how about we talk over a cup of tea?” – if the increasing tea trend strengthens.


A leafy elixir


Spice traders first seduced Brits with the leafy elixir in the 1700s. However, it has increasingly crept onto café countertops here, as real competition to coffee. Tea has a comforting aroma and uplifting health properties, as quality blends seduce hot-drink addicts. The caffeine amount in tea varies with brew and blend, but it is around a third to half that of a cup of coffee.

The question then arises, black, green or white? Black tea has been reinvented by the industry, boutique New Zealand businesses included, by blending additional ingredients – which read like poetry. Rosebuds and black tea is marriage in a teapot.
Green tea can be infused with the likes of orange or mint to seduce newcomers to its natural benefits. White tea comes from young, minimally processed leaves. China White is a Christchurch company that jazzes up this delicate flavour with ginger or jasmine.

Some specialist teas are of unique origins, such as Darjeeling from West Bengal or Oolong from China. Try a sip first, before adding milk and sugar.  To convert the traditional ‘gumboot’ tea drinker, offer the fancier stuff and they’ll likely ask for a second cup. Cafés often present a loose-leaf in a teapot experience – and it’s all about presentation.

Tea cups of fine-white bone china or gilded vintage floral, make an afternoon tea gathering quite something. Meanwhile, chilled fruit-infused tea is beautiful served in a wine glass. The nice thing about meeting up over a pot of tea for two, is that a pot lasts longer than a fast-cooling flat white – and so then can the conversation.



Japanz Bakery

A sweet favourite: Japanz Bakery

If you think the name Japanz Bakery sounds familiar, then you would be right. The quality baked eats with a Japanese flavour and friendly customer service you’ll find here have made it a firm favourite in Christchurch for years.


Japanz Bakery


Four years ago, Japanz Bakery moved from the original central CBD location to SouthCity Centre at 555 Colombo Street, where it continues to thrive thanks to a loyal customer base and the selection of delicious delectable delights. Always popular are the croissants, gingerbread men and cream donuts. There are four flavours of donut to choose from; Custard, ChocoCustard, Redbeans and CoffeeCream. Plus, $15.50 gets you a box of six donuts to share.


Japanz Bakery

Japanz also specialises in a range of beautifully prepared gift boxes and made to order cakes. With the festive season well and truly upon us, now is the perfect time to order one. There’s a choice of three flavours: green tea, fruit and of course, chocolate, each a mouth-watering offering and beautifully prepared. With a range of styles and sizes, Japanz’s cookie gift bags are a must, with gingerbread men and assorted flavoured cookies becoming the perfect stocking filler. So rest assured, your favourite bakery with a Japanese flavour is still alive and kicking, giving you lovingly baked delights made fresh each day.



earl grey tea truffles

Tea inspired truffles: this recipe for Dilmah earl grey tea truffles is divine

Tea is on the rise and not just to be consumed in the most traditional of ways, with tea ‘bars’ popping up globally, the increasing profile of tea cocktails and now it seems we have an increasing appetite for tea as an ingredient, adding a new dimension of taste, texture and flavour to our foods.

earl grey tea truffles


  • 2/3 cup (160ml) thickened cream
  • 40g unsalted butter, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons loose Dilmah Exceptional Elegant Earl Grey tea leaves
  • 170g fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), finely chopped
  • 100g feuilletine
  • Murray River pink salt, to decorate


Combine cream and butter in a small saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil. Remove from heat. Add the Elegant Earl Grey tea leaves and stir to combine. Set aside for 5 minutes to infuse.
Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Pour hot cream through a fine sieve over the chocolate, pressing with the back of a spoon to squeeze as much cream as possible through. Stir until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 2 hours or until firm.
Line an oven tray with baking paper. Place the feuilletine in a bowl. Roll a teaspoon of chocolate mixture into balls and roll in the feuilletine to coat. Note, when rolling your truffles, ensure your hands are cool and wear rubber gloves so the truffles don’t melt. Place on the lined tray. Repeat with remaining chocolate mixture. Top truffles with pink salt to serve. Makes 30.

High Tea at The Crowne Plaza Christchurch

A ‘high’ honour: treat mum this mother’s day to a High Tea at The Crowne Plaza Christchurch

You know your mum is a queen – so make sure you treat her like royalty this Mother’s Day with an indulgent high tea in Market Place Restaurant at Crowne Plaza Christchurch!

High Tea at The Crowne Plaza Christchurch

This Mother’s Day, the cosmopolitan Market Place Restaurant will be looking especially stylish, dressed with white tablecloths and filled with beautiful blooms from Bourbon Rose Florist. Music by resident pianist Peter Lewis will complete the superb ambience of the special day.
In addition to a range of sweet and savoury classics gorgeously presented on tiered stands, specialist stations around the restaurant will offer delicious treats including a selection from Cakes By Anna, affogato and iced coffee, a chocolate fountain and a range of T2 teas.
Hotel General Manager Reinier Eulink is upbeat about hosting the first Mother’s Day. “Since opening, Crowne Plaza has been popular with locals celebrating special occasions and we’re excited to add Mother’s Day to our calendar.”
For $49 per person you receive high tea, including a glass of bubbly on arrival, and unlimited coffee and T2 tea, making this deluxe experience the best gift you’ve given mum yet!
There are two afternoon options: 12-1:30pm, or 3-4:30pm and bookings are essential – email to secure your Mother’s Day spot.


Tea-totaller: the re-emergence of the cuppa as a drink of choice

New Zealand once led the world in cups of tea consumed per person. So it seems somewhat strange to have to put one’s hat in the ring to defend the humble cuppa.


But despite the seemingly all-encompassing nature of the Kiwi coffee culture, tea drinking is on the rise. And not just in the most traditional of ways.
While sales of herbal and green tea continue to rise for home consumption, it’s the number of tea ‘bars’ popping up that is catching attention on a global scale.
Locally, Poplar Social Club cocktail maestro Charles Gillet has been using Dilmah Tea in his cocktails. Dilmah features some clever cocktail and mocktail recipes on its website, ranging from Colombo Ice Cream Soda, to Mango Tango and Fruit Volcano.
Not a new concept by any means, there’s historical precedent for tea in our tipples, with tea an ingredient used in our early punches. Now, we’re starting to think of tea with the same reverence as coffee.

Majestic Tea Bar

Sumptuous selection: the old world charm of Barrington’s Majestic Tea Bar

It’s said we eat first with our eyes. They attract us to beautifully presented food and activate our taste buds. That’s the effect of the sumptuous display in the food cabinet at the Majestic Tea Bar, Barrington.

Majestic Tea Bar

The Majestic Tea Bar is a premium café offering the very best to its customers – the best food, the best teas, the best coffee and the best hot chocolate – along with an ambience and decor that speaks of yesteryear, with its comfortable armchairs and unique crockery.
The ever-changing cabinet presentation is freshly made each day by the café’s three chefs who delight in being creative, devising treats to appeal to all tastes. But the cabinet is just a tempter to the full kitchen menu on offer. There are all day breakfast favourites from Eggs Benedict Royale, to Creamy Mushrooms and Omelettes, not forgetting the fluffy pancakes.
Lunch is a varied offering – anything from an open grilled sandwich or a carbonara or wedges. Then of course there are sweet treats, including signature cakes, slices and handcrafted chocolates.
“We love cooking,” says Head Chef Mark. “Our food is passion on a plate. It’s fresh and wholesome with a real homemade feel, as well as a new twist on some classic dishes. Every dish is made to order and for us only top quality in ingredients and presentation is good enough. We set ourselves high standards and put our heart and soul into everything we make.”
Located in the Barrington Mall, open seven days – with the kitchen menu available until 3pm daily.