Archive for the ‘Cafes & Restaurants’ Category

We thoroughly enjoyed our five-course degustation dinner at Baretta.  At $39 each it was excellent value.  The small plates were beautifully presented and extremely tasty.

The ambiance was elegant and attractive.  Our five courses were: Cauliflower and bacon soup; pulled pork croquettes with horseradish cream; prawn and swordfish bouillabaisse; lamb rump on pumpkin puree with red wine jus; cookies and cream bavarois.  Doesn’t it all sound delicious?  Although the restaurant is promoted as being Italian, what we ate was more classic European.  We’ve had a degustation meal before and we love it.  No need to make any decisions, and five small plates are more than enough to satisfy.  On Tuesday evening we were one of just three couples dining, and there were no later bookings.  I do wonder how even a restaurant as good as this can survive in central Christchurch at present.  We will certainly go there again.

It would be hard to find a better
meal than this one at Baretta.

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Eliza’s Manor on Bealey Avenue is an attractive landmark, and we had never been inside.  When their GrabOne voucher appeared in my inbox I was pleased, and this morning we went there for breakfast.

Eliza’s Manor

The interior is a Victorian delight:

Foyer with beautiful woodwork

Velvet buttoned dining chairs in the cafe

We were the only customers, the service was impeccable, and the food delicious, well-presented and served on warmed plates.

Our breakfast

Stephen had the Bacon Benedict, and I had Creamy Mushrooms with pesto.  My only quibble would be that my tea (weak Earl Grey made with leaves) was served in a thick coffee cup.  I guess they keep the bone china cups for their signature high teas.

Eliza’s cater mainly for functions and their cafe opened just last week (7.30am-2.00pm).  As more people learn about it it’s bound to be popular.  At present they have a special deal of tea/coffee with a slice for $5.  The ambience is superb  and there’s parking available.  We did notice one garden plot was overrun with convolvulus, and the Manager assured us her husband was coming to deal with that very soon.  There must have been a tremendous amount of work to do with earthquake repairs, and the result is stunning.

Let me be your tea adviser
go and visit with Eliza

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With the sun shining, a drive out of town appealed and we headed to Tai Tapu.  There’s an excellent cafe and store there where we planned to have brunch.  The first thing to catch our eye was this domestic goddess at the door.

Domestic Goddess

Next we saw a table with two dozen women, many wearing sparkly pink hats.  I thought at first they might be Red Hatters, then realised they were there for a Pink Ribbon Breakfast, in aid of the Breast Cancer Foundation.  The Store @ Tai Tapu, which has supported this cause for several years, had really entered into the swing of things.  They even had a chocolate log in the cabinet which was decorated with edible pink ribbons.  Some staff wore mouseketeer-type pink ears, and the man behind the counter had bright pink glasses and a pink bow tie.

Pink decorations at The Store

There was a raffle and a ‘count the pink jellybeans in the jar’ competition to raise funds, which I was pleased to contribute to.

We chose an outside table in the sheltered courtyard where there were a large number of Middle Aged Men in Lycra (actually mainly older men in lycra, the average age of this group is 72), with bicycles parked all around.  They meet here every Wednesday, some cycling considerable distances.  They’ve been doing this for years, and in the corner there was a statue in memory of Ross Bush, a devoted cyclist, who died on 22 February 2011, when his car was crushed by falling debris during the earthquake.

In memory of Ross Bush

Stephen chose eggs on toast with bacon , and I would have had something similar until I turned the menu page and discovered they serve mushroom crêpes.  Both our meals were excellent, the crêpes a generous serving which meant I didn’t need a hot chocolate afterwards.

Our brunch at The Store (with pink napkins)

The Store is obviously popular, and well worth a visit.

At Tai Tapu there is a Store
which serves a scrumptious meal and more.

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Most of the Tannery shops were closed for Anzac Day.  We were happy to gaze in the windows, but glad to find Mitchelli’s was open, and doing a good trade.

Their decor has Italian touches, and there was an Italian dictionary among the magazines for browsing.  On the upper right hand side of this photo you can see a window with shutters and a window box, which appealed to me.   Our early lunch comprised bacon and eggs for Stephen and I had a tasty salmon bake.  The hot chocolate was good and hot.  On the drinks menu they offered a side of cream or milk for 20 cents, something I’ve not come across before.

It’s always a pleasure to visit the beautiful Tannery, and we were pleased to linger.

When some shops had preferred to close
Mitchelli’s was the place we chose.


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To celebrate Stephen’s birthday we dined at Tutto Bene in Merivale, somewhere we hadn’t been before.  Our usual Italian restaurant of choice is Venuti, but we thought we’d try somewhere different, and Tutto Bene definitely has that genuine Italian flavour.  They have some parking available behind the restaurant, but that was full, and we were pleased to find a spot on Mansfield Avenue.

Stephen enjoying Veal Parmigiana

We sat outside in their leafy courtyard, at a good-sized table.  So often a table for two is small and cramped, but not here.  We shared a dish of olives, then Stephen had Veal Parmigiana and I had fresh groper served on a cauliflower puree.  Both meals were delicious.  By coincidence a group of us had been discussing the fate of bobby calves the previous evening, and remarked that you don’t see veal for sale these days.  Perhaps it all goes to restaurants?  Stephen couldn’t quite finish his generous portion, but still managed to share some of my decadent chocolate cake dessert.  I had a bottle of limonata, which I’d last enjoyed in Rome.  The staff were pleasant and friendly and we appreciated the fact that there were several small children dining with their families.  A group at a table near us  were also celebrating a birthday, and as their cake was delivered the staff joined with them to sing “Happy Birthday” – a extra bonus for Stephen.

After we’d finished we left through the back entrance which borders onto the St Albans Stream, and found the restaurant manager feeding the local ducks.  There were also healthy eels in the stream and a friendly cat on the bridge.  All in all, a most enjoyable evening.  Many thanks to the distant daughter who shouted this birthday treat.

Stream behind Tutto Bene

We recommend this restaurant
when it’s a special meal you want.



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A new cafe in the Oxford Terrace Baptist Church has been open for a few weeks now, but not completely.  Their name Pillars Cafe is written on the front window.  Pillars is appropriate as the pillars from the porch of the old church are displayed there, but for me the name immediately evokes an organisation that supports the families of prisoners.

We stopped by for morning tea and were the only customers at 10.30am on Wednesday morning.  The only food options were a herb scone and two kinds of slices.  The friendly young manager told us they are only ‘softly’ open and are awaiting delivery of their food cabinet.  Once this arrives they will have a wider selection of food, and may eventually offer light meals.

The outside tables were welcoming on such a warm day, and there was a good deal of passing foot traffic.  Presumably they will do more promotion once they are fully open.

‘Another cafe in the ‘hood
will have to work hard to make good.’

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We lunched on homemade pies from Penelope’s.  Stephen had a spicy Mexican, while I had chicken and leek, which also contained mushroom.  They were good, served with chilli sauce and garnish.  At $6.90 each this was a cheap lunch.  We were given water, and able to sit outside in New Regent Street and watch passing tourists and trams.

‘A cheap and tasty lunching option
I recommend it for adoption.’

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