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Archive for the ‘Cafes & Restaurants’ Category

Going to a show at the Isaac Theatre Royal we often have a meal beforehand at the Sampan Noodle House.  This time we went to Straits Cafe in the Rendezvous Hotel in Gloucester Street.  This hotel (formerly the Marque) which was completed in 2010, re-opened in March 2013 after earthquake repairs.

We both had the Canterbury Lamb Rump which was succulent and perfectly cooked – one of the best restaurant meals I’ve eaten recently.   These mains were priced at $36 each, but we had a Grab One Voucher which gave two mains for $43.

 

Straits Cafe

The dining room’s not large, but they were very efficient.  It was obvious that many early diners, like us, were heading to the show across the road.  On one wall they had projected a video of a blazing open fire.  Not quite sure what the point of this is, but I guess it helps people to feel warm?  I can definitely recommend this inner city dining room, especially the lamb rump.

“To get a good pre-theatre meal
the Straits Cafe is just ideal.”

 

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We were impressed with Good Habit, a new cafe that’s just opened in the old Anglican convent building on the corner of St Asaph and Barbadoes Streets.   On Friday morning we had to go to Ferry Road to find a car park, but they will soon have parking available next door in St Asaph Street.  It’s lovely to see the old Convent of the Sacred Name beautifully refurbished.  The original Deaconess House (a Mountfort design) now houses the Home and Family Trust, and I understand the nuns still inhabit (!) their Retreat House on the site.  The cafe is on the St Asaph Street side, with an attractive garden and sunny outside seats.  On a frosty morning we chose to have our breakfast inside, and thoroughly enjoyed it.  There’s plenty of space in the two main rooms, and the cabinet food, including custard donuts, looked enticing.

 

I chose Eggspresso, two poached eggs on a herby hash with spinach and hollandaise sauce for $18.50, plus I added a side of mushrooms ($5.50).  This was perfectly done.  The hash was generous, and more to my taste than the usual toast or (horrors) English muffin.  Stephen opted for the Big Breakfast, and managed to eat it all, although he said it was more than he needed and another time he would probably choose the Eggspresso.

On the wall was an iconic photo of a familiar nun cycling past the convent wall, which had been graffitied with an Anarchy sign.  The inner room has a portrait of Jesus above the door.  It’s great to know this Category 1 Historic building has been saved and I’m sure the cafe will be popular.  I understand there is to be a museum on the site documenting the convent’s history.

“A place which once housed pious nuns
now offers tasty custard buns.”

 

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I’d often heard of events being staged at the Space Academy in St Asaph Street, but never been there.  This week I went, but during the daytime when the Academy becomes Kadett Cafe (Tuesday-Saturday, 8am-4pm).  After 4pm the room becomes a bar and entertainment venue.

Kadett Cafe at Space Academy

They have a small but interesting menu.  My cheese scone was served with butter and relish, and together with a hot chocolate cost just $8.  The teas come in Japanese-style pottery cups.  The room is spacious and quiet, so excellent for a lunchtime meeting.  If you’re down that end of town (between Barbadoes Street and Fitzgerald Avenue) it’s definitely worth a visit.

“I recommend Cafe Kadett
go, if you haven’t tried it yet.”

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Coffee this morning was at Miro, which is the reincarnation of Caffe Roma  in the refurbished Midland Club building.  It’s opened recently, and is surrounded by roadworks and fences, so not easy to get to.  A sign on the Worcester Street Bridge reassured us that access was possible, but it was convoluted.

Sign on Worcester Street Bridge (with graffiti)

The trek was worth while, and we were pleased to find Miro was being well patronised despite the difficult access.  The old Midland Club building has been beautifully restored.

Midland Club building

Inside there was a blazing log fire.  This is one of only three heritage buildings in Christchurch which are permitted to have open fires.  The other two are the Christchurch Club and the Canterbury Club.  There is also an original radiator system, powered by a diesel boiler, all of which date back to the building’s construction in the 1930s.  They serve a good hot chocolate, but no scones or muffins, the only food is from the menu.

We sat by a real fire

There were cacti in glass containers, and bunches of dried flowers.  I guess real flowers would not survive the heat of the fire.    In the drawer of the coffee table were a pack of cards, and dominoes.  I was intrigued that one table had an egg timer, and the waiter confirmed this was to ensure a pot of tea (made with leaves, of course) was infused for the correct length of time.

At present Miro is open only for breakfast and lunch, but it should be a good place for dinner once the river area is finally completed.

“We visited the new Miro
and sat beside the fire aglow.”

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It’s rare for me to be faced with more mushrooms than I can eat, but that’s what happened at breakfast this morning.

Mushroom breakfast

We planned to go to Pepperberry, on the corner of Bealey Avenue and Colombo Street, and found that they are under new management and have become Affogato Cafe.  They’ve expanded into the small florist that used to be next door.  My mushrooms in creamy thyme sauce were delectable, but the serving was too generous, and I couldn’t quite finish them.  Stephen was more than happy with his Eggs Benedict with bacon.

Affogato Cafe

I was pleased they offered tea made with leaves, but they didn’t quite manage to follow my request for no more than 1/4 teaspoon of leaves, and the first cup I poured was too strong.  However the barista willingly removed the leaf basked, and twice gave me more hot water.

“Mushrooms at Affogato were
just a few more than I prefer.”

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On a beautiful autumn day we headed for Kaiapoi Lakes.   Online information suggested this was a 30 minute walk, perfect for bird watching.   The lake was peaceful with lovely autumn trees.

Part of the path was an excellent boardwalk presumably provided by the developers of the nearby Sovereign Palms subdivision.  It was strange to turn around from the tranquil lake and see brand new houses flanked by tall phoenix palms.

There were ducks, canada geese, black swans, and, to our surprise, coots, easily identified by their white beaks and loud krark.

This was the first time we’d seen coots in New Zealand, and I discovered they are Australian Coots who first bred here in 1958.  They are a diving duck, like our scaup.

We had expected that the track would go right around the lake, and were surprised when it came to an abrupt end, so we simply retraced our steps.  Another time we might try the lake on the west side of the main road.  There were a couple of people fishing there, and it looked as though a track might go right around.  Afterwards we enjoyed a pleasant lunch at Red Eight Cafe in Kaiapoi, and visited the new New World Supermarket at Prestons.

“We were surprised to see the coot
as we walked on the lakeside route.”

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Lil’Ruby is a cafe inside the Fresh Choice Supermarket at The Crossing.  It offers a good range of cabinet food, and the opportunity to sit at long tables, something I like because it means you can interact with other customers.

Ruth at Lil’Ruby

I was concerned that their food was served on paper plates, with a plastic knife and plastic butter container.  On inquiry, the staff member assured me it was all recycled, but I wonder….

Plastic knife and butter container, and paper plate

I wanted to check their pile of reading matter, and to do this I needed to go through the Supermarket door.  I then found I had to go past the checkouts to get back to my seat on the other side of the table.  Lil’Ruby staff squeezed between the table and wall, which wasn’t easy.  The reading matter, apart from today’s “Press” consisted a range of glossy cook books.  Stephen was glad to use the camera to capture a couple of recipes.  This cafe, with its view of the attractive supermarket, is a lively place, and the scone tasted good.

“Lil’Ruby’s a fun place to go
with lots to see both to and fro.”

 

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