Archive for the ‘Cafes & Restaurants’ Category

We met for coffee at Curious Palate.  This is a new cafe in Durham Street, opposite the Provincial Council Chambers.  It’s not well-known yet, and had few customers while we were there.  The service was excellent, but the noise from the talking of the three staff members was distracting, so we moved outside.  When we told the waitress why we’d moved she said they are hoping to do something to the ceiling to improve the acoustics.  My hot chocolate was fine, but my cheese scone was rather heavy and I didn’t finish it.

“I hope that they can lift their game
this cafe with the curious name.”


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We were enticed by a Grab One voucher to have dinner at Boteco.   This cafe is just around the corner from home, and we enjoyed breakfast there when it first opened eighteen months ago.  Later they reduced their kitchen hours so that breakfast was no longer an option.   Stephen didn’t like the beer they served, and we hadn’t been back for months.  Recently they’ve changed into a Mexican cafe, and become BYO only.

Our voucher, which cost $38, was for a Mediterranean Chargrill Platter for two.  This was promoted as having three shish kebabs per person, 6 chicken wings to share, and roasted vegetables to share.  The meat was nicely cooked, with sauces provided, but the roasted vegetables were a disappointment, consisting of a meagre serving of capsicum.  There was a tiny salad garnish as well.

The corkage charge for our bottle of wine was ten dollars, which seemed outrageous to me, especially as I had none, and Stephen had only one glass.  They didn’t even need to open it.  It’s years (?decades) since we’ve been to a BYO restaurant.  Maybe this kind of corkage charge is usual these days?

It’s a pity when this cafe is so close and the outside area is sheltered and attractive, but I doubt we’ll go there again.  One feature of the courtyard was a convolvulus plant growing up a string of fairy lights.

Convolvulus display

“We found Boteco not the best
and definitely were not impressed.”


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We chose the Black and White Coffee House for refreshment this morning, and I liked the ambience.  It’s a tiny place, opposite the Central Bus Exchange in Lichfield Street.  They say they can seat thirty people, but some of those would need to be out on the footpath.  One wall is covered in pictures, mainly portraits.

On the other wall is an eclectic collection of bric-a-brac on shelves that look like tables.

On our table there were two tiny coffee cups, each hostng a small plant.  I succumbed to the enticement of a Tiramasu Doughnut, and was surprised when it arrived on a board with a knife and fork.

I’ve never used cutlery to eat a doughnut before, but then it’s many years since I’ve eaten a doughnut at all.  It was rather rich, enjoyable, but I’d prefer a cheese scone.  I was told the doughnuts came from the Cake Eating Company.  There certainly wouldn’t be space at the Coffee House for them to prepare such delicacies.

A ‘Press’ was provided and I finished the cryptic crossword all except one clue, before we headed across the road to get a bus home.

“It’s good to try somewhere that’s new
a quirky place that’s diff’rent too.”

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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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