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Archive for the ‘Cafes & Restaurants’ Category

An old friend from Auckland was in town briefly, so four of us had dinner at the Carlton.

This pub, which has been completely rebuilt since the earthquakes, was the first in New Zealand to serve beer on tap and the first to have a beer garden.  Almost all the other diners were men.  Is this because the Carlton specialises in steaks?

Di and I have been friends since the early 1970s, and it’s very rarely I spend time with someone I’ve known that long.

“It’s great when an old friend appears
someone I’ve known for forty years.”

 

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We couldn’t resist stopping at Dispense Espresso for coffee and hot chocolate (and a tasty scone).

Situated beside a pharmacy, it would be the ideal spot to spend time waiting for a prescription.  We wondered about the water dispenser which had no drainage.  Would any drips go to the plant below, and thence to the dog bowl?  Have they dispensed (sic) with any drainage?

The next door stationers had a window display exhorting people to shop locally.  While I totally agree with the sentiment, I thought it would either be preaching to the converted, or likely to send others scurrying back to their own local shops.

We visited the Mitre 10 Mega for garden supplies, and new plants are now safely bedded.

“We’ve been to visit Ferrymead
returning with some plants we need.”

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Last night we dined at Clink in Sumner.  The building with its old stone walls is reputed to have been a prison for mutineers early in the 19th century – hence the restaurant name.

We had the five course ‘Trust the Chef’ dining experience.  Usually $65 per person, I’d bought a Grab One voucher which gave us two experiences for $65.  I liked the idea of surprises and not having to make decisions.  The five small courses were superb, and beautifully presented.  Paying the full price would be beyond our modest budget, and we were delighted with the value we got.  They had Guiness on tap for Stephen, and I enjoyed an Aspall’s cyder.  This is certainly somewhere we’d come for a special occasion.

“Five luscious courses and a drink
we certainly dined well at Clink.”

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In days gone by, even for a while after the earthquakes, our favourite place for a special dinner was Tiffany’s.  It had a wonderful situation beside the river and excellent food.   Sadly it changed hands some years ago, and with all the demolition and roadworks the replacement Regatta is struggling.   We had a platter there in 2014, and were not particularly impressed.  Recently they offered a Devonshire Tea for two for $10 on ‘Grab One’, so we thought we’d try again.

Bookings were requested, but we were walking into town and unsure when we’d get there, so waited until we reached the Container Mall to phone.   I was told that the scones weren’t ready yet (at 11am – presumably no-one else had come for morning tea), but that we could have slices instead if we wanted to come then.  Crossing Durham Street was a challenge with cones and fences, but we made it.  Regatta displayed a cabinet of food with no sign of any other customers.  We sat outside and enjoyed the river view, together with chocolate brownies and hot drinks.

Good value for $10, but sad to see how much the restaurant has declined.  Obviously they will be hoping for better times when more of the rebuild is complete, and they probably get some custom from people visiting the Memorial Wall.  I just wonder whether they will survive.

“This restaurant has passed its prime
and now waits for a better time.”

 

 

 

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I’ve now been twice to Cafe 1851 in the new Crowne Plaza building (formerly Bob Jones House).  The cafe is spacious, and a welcome addition to this end of town.

Their prices are standard, but sadly they don’t serve scones.  The first time I went I had a tiramisu cake – how could I resist?  The second time I had a small fruit doughnut.  The first time my hot chocolate was served in a glass, not my preference, but the second time I was offered the choice of a cup.

There are outside tables, which would be pleasant on a sunny day.  However the outlook is not attractive at present.  Victoria Square is in the midst of a lengthy revamp, and across Armagh Street there’s a depressingly rough car park.  Cafe 1851 is convenient for anyone visiting The Piano, and I’m sure they’ll get lots of custom as they get better known.

“The business has just begun
at Cafe eighteen-fifty-one.”

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A shopping trip on a bitterly cold morning required a stop for hot drinks and snacks.  Station One in Papanui Road was our choice, and it was a good one.

This cafe has a friendly character, and all food is made on the premises, including traditional baking.  They even offer discount to Super Gold Card holders, although we didn’t discover that until later.  There’s plenty of cosy space, and the decor is interesting, with cathedral and cat pictures on the walls.

“Ideal for coffee and a bun
suggest that you try Station One.”

 

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Casamassima in Salisbury Street is definitely worth a visit.  We went for morning tea and were impressed by the fact that they had small Danish pastries at small prices, plus their crockery was bright and different.

They have a large range of Italian delicatessen items, all very tempting.  If we want anything of this kind we usually go to the Mediterranean Food Company, and this new store is another option.

There were three other groups in the cafe while we were there, all men.  This is unusual, perhaps it’s an Italian custom for men to go out for coffee together?  There were two very cute dogs tied up outside waiting patiently.

“It seems a place that men frequent
that’s who was there the day we went.”

 

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