Archive for the ‘Cafes & Restaurants’ Category

It’s hard to find a restaurant open when you want to celebrate your birthday and the date is a public holiday. I yearn for the pre-earthquake days of the Octagon and its live music. We decided to go to Salt on the Pier at New Brighton, where we’d not been before, and it was a good choice. From the first floor the view is spectacular. You see the children’s playground, and the new hot pools/He Puna Taimoana, as well as sea and surf. There was a kaleidoscope of people on the nearby promenade and flocks of seagulls soaring in the air.

It’s just as well there was plenty to observe and comment on, because the service was slow. Perhaps they have difficulty recruiting sufficient staff in these uncertain times? The menu was a standard one and I was happy to have the Catch of the Day which was John Dory. I forgot to ask the busy waiter to take our photo, so attempted a selfie – not very successfully – and never thought to snap the view outside which might have made a more attractive illustration.

Selfie @ Salt on the Pier

We didn’t bother to wait for dessert, but went home and savoured some birthday chocolates – Marich Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Caramels, most enjoyable!

‘Twas good to eat at somewhere new
which had a magnificent view

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Seeking somewhere different to go for morning tea we decided on The Tannery. It’s well over a year since we’ve been there, and it is definitely the most elegant shopping area in Christchurch. Just after 10am there were plenty of car parks available, with several chargers for electric vehicles, and most of the shops were open, despite the holidays. Many of them had signs saying Vaccine Passes not required, but I was surprised to find a couple of retail stores that did require passes. These were places where I might have browsed, but couldn’t be bothered when I needed to show a pass as well as sign in. The only thing I bought was a card at Cosi Fan Tutte.

We chose to stop at Penny Black Victorian Tearoom. It took a while for our order to arrive because staff were being careful to sanitise between each service, but we were happy to sit in the atrium and watch the passers-by.

Penny Black Victorian Tearoom

I chose to have a scone, which was served warm with a small jar of jam and a dish of cream – absolutely delicious. I was pleased to be asked whether I wanted cream and marshmallows on my hot chocolate, which I declined, and it was very good without these.

This place is ideal, for the ambience and the food, and we will go there again.

We really relished Penny Black
and are most likely to go back

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Our car was due for its annual warrant and service, and we booked it in to Armagh Automotive at 8am this morning. Both the nearby cafés are closed on Mondays, so we walked down to Belle on the corner of New Regent Street to get breakfast. They open at 7am on weekdays, serve delicious food, and the weather was warm enough to sit outside. We savoured our breakfast while watching others hurrying to work.

Breakfast at Belle

The endangered black-billed gulls which have nested in this area the last few years have been moved along, but there are still some red-billed gulls, and these swooped the moment we left our table. One grabbed a piece of bread and others crowded round trying to snatch it away.

Gulls squabbling over bread

We walked home along the Cambridge Terrace side of the river. From the Manchester Street bridge the poplar reflections were beautiful.

Poplars reflected

Several piwakawaka darted among the trees but they were too quick for me to be able to get a photograph. Just past Madras Street someone was offering free sunflower seedlings and I was pleased to pick up a pottle with six plants in it.

Free sunflowers

I’m not sure just where I’ll put them as they will need sun and water, but I’ll probably find them a spot outside the fence. Further on we spied a family of ducklings, always a delight to see.


I’m writing this outside in the swing seat at midday, and the temperature in the shade is 20°. Summer is definitely making its appearance, with bees buzzing in the flowers.

Out in the balmy summer air
with flowers blooming everywhere

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An errand took us out early on Friday morning and we decided to have breakfast in Fendalton Village. It’s no wonder Fendalton is often referred to as a leafy suburb. The mature trees there are magnificent, especially at this time of year.

We went to Crisp Café which opens at 7am on weekdays. This is somewhere I often lunched after writing classes at Fendalton Library. They also sell gifts and specialist groceries with a focus on catering for keto diets. My poached eggs on toast with mushrooms was fine, but the fact the plates weren’t heated meant the food cooled quickly.

Crisp Café and Gifts

As our weekly shopping list was short we thought we’d just go to the adjacent Super Value Supermarket. We were disappointed that they had neither a cauliflower nor paleo bread. so we ended up going to New World on our way home to procure these. Super Value did have the Kapiti Boysenberry mini-ice-creams which are our treat of choice and which are not stocked at New World Durham Street (although I haven’t requested them there, and could). I also sought Twinings Earl Grey tea leaves which are now a deleted line at New World, but Super Value didn’t have them either. I may have to request a special shipment from a U.K. daughter, or maybe I’ll consider switching to green tea.

Some things we sought were just not there
and so we had to go elsewhere

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Hereford Street was quiet at lunchtime today. As I walked down I noted a mural by Cracked Ink which has been there since 2017.

Mural in Hereford Street

It depicts a wave of stories playing out across an undulating wave of characters, and is one of ten murals which are illuminated at night by sustainable solar power.

I met a friend for lunch at Therapy, on the corner of Hereford Street and Oxford Terrace, somewhere I’ve not been before.

Therapy outside
Therapy inside

The café was quiet, and I was glad to be supporting a local business during these difficult times. I had a very tasty roast vegetable frittata and a berry smoothie, then strolled home in the sunshine, with a stop at Turanga to collect library books.

I had not been to Therapy
and recommend it happily

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On our second day of comparative freedom we headed out to do a few errands. Warehouse Stationery printing department is offering only reduced services so printing my chapbook will have to wait for Level One, which may be next week, or may be weeks away.

I wanted to buy another reusable face mask. Last year I bought two each for Stephen and me, and I’ve worn one whenever I’ve taken public transport since. The other one I carefully put away in a safe place, but it’s not where I thought it was, and I need another one now I have to wear a mask every day. I can see that it would be useful to have several as masks are likely to be required for the forseeable future, and I’ll be on the lookout for ones with interesting patterns (flamingoes? cats?). Our local pharmacy had no reusable ones in stock, but a friend had seen them at St Albans Pharmacy, so I went there. I got an Untouched World black woven cotton pleat mask, made in N.Z., for $26. The package said: “Please refer to Mask Use and Care Instructions before opening this packet”, but there was no sign of such instructions, and I can’t see anything on the Untouched World website. This new mask is thinner than my other one, and possibly more comfortable to breathe through.

We stopped by Turanga so I could return library books. This involved lining up, signing in, and exiting on the other side of the block, but no queuing today.

Parked at The Crossing we went down to Coffee Culture for a snack. There was no sign-in sheet obvious, and when asked, the staff were uncertain about this saying there had been one the previous day. Eventually someone went away to ask the manager and returned with slips of paper and one pen. Some places have containers of clean and dirty pens, but not here.

Coffee Culture – socially distanced

Tables were carefully distanced and tables and chairs wiped down when people left. We enjoyed watching people walk by, almost all were carefully masked.

After a stroll around Cashel Mall we picked up some mandarins at Fresh Choice. These had been unavailable when we placed our weekly online Countdown order.

This was the first proper outing we’d had since lockdown began three weeks ago and we felt quite exhausted when we eventually returned home. It seems freedom, with masks, may take a little getting used to. I keep thinking of our friends in Auckland, still in Level Four, and likely to be there for some time yet.

Most people now are carefully masked
and doing just what they’ve
been asked

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Although the morning was cloudy I optimistically hung the washing on the line before we headed west to Lincoln. The Market there had a good selection of vegetables but nothing to tempt us. We explored the shops, lamenting the fact that there was no interesting junk shop, then went to look at the Art Gallery, where the custodian was keen to discuss the last book in Lucinda Riley’s Seven Sisters series – one I haven’t yet had the chance to read. The most interesting artwork had several pictures of birds drawn on dried-out teabags, a form of recycling I’ve not seen before.

The Art Gallery is in a 1911 building

Lincoln has much Pakeha history, which is memorialised in several places, thanks to the Lincoln Historical Society.

Millstones from Moffat’s flour mill established 1867
Pioneer Hall erected 1874 as the Public Library
Plough made in Lincoln c.1865

We retraced our steps back to The Laboratory, a pub with a different character.

The Laboratory
I like their lavatories with pedestal porcelain basins

We appreciated the fact that all the pub tables had angle-poise lamps which were useful for reading the Press while we enjoyed our drinks. The menu is limited, mainly pizzas and burgers. I would have liked fish and chips, but this is available only for children. We shared a Margherita pizza and chips, both of which were of excellent quality, the chips being served in an aluminium measuring cup.

By the time we left there was blue sky and warm sunshine. We hoped we might have seen lambs in the fields, but saw just one in the distance. We arrived home to find the washing was dry.

We hoped there might be lambs to see
as well as bits of history

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Black Betty was our breakfast choice this morning, the first time we’ve been there for several years. The food is still excellent and I did appreciate my Earl Grey tea made weakly with tea leaves. The cafe wasn’t as busy as it used to be, perhaps because there are now so many new options available. No sign of the Harley Davidson riders who were Saturday morning regulars. They must have gone somewhere else.

We parked in Allen Street, and as we drove out we spied a mural I hadn’t seen before, as we rarely go that way.

Mural in Allen Street

It’s a portrait of Harlem-Cruz Atarangi Ihaia, and was painted by Erika Pearce in 2017, for the YMCA’s Street Prints Otautahi Festival. The mural raises issues of environmentalism, cultural identity, and female empowerment, and is illuminated by sustainable solar lighting.

Adjacent is a 2021 mural which I found less attractive. The letters appear to read NESS, but I’m not sure what it means.

NESS mural

Black Betty led us to a wall
with a new mural
proud and tall

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On a rainy morning a beach walk did not appeal. Instead we went to Hagley Park and walked around the west side of the river until track and bridge repairs obliged us to cross into the Botanic Gardens. There was plenty of maintenance going on here, presumably in response to last week’s torrential downpours. Our curiosity was aroused to see that at one part of the river the ducks were all lined up on one side and the Canada geese on the other. This must be an instance of birds of a feather flocking together.

It was time to seek a hot drink and we were attracted by the flags on the footpath outside the Lumière cinema. It’s housed in the Arts Centre, where the Free Theatre used to be before the earthquakes. The area has been beautifully refurbished in Art Deco style, and I absolutely loved the bird lights above the bar.

We climbed the stairs, but there’s now a lift as well, and two cinemas, the Bernhardt and the Bardot, which show a variety of arthouse and classic films. The little Bijou Bar offers a good assortment of drinks and a hot chocolate was very welcome.

I’ve not yet been to this cinema, but noted that next Sunday afternoon they will be showing “The King and I” (1956) with Yul Brynner and Deborah Kerr, one of my all-time favourites. It’s tempting!

It seems to me the Lumière
shows taste that’s quite beyond compare

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This café at the north end of Barbadoes Street has much to recommend it. On a dull day with a forecast for the most significant rain in ten years we needed to go out for a few things, and chose Ris’tretto for morning tea. I’d been there once before, but it was many years ago. They were doing a brisk trade, with takeaways for the diligent parents watching soccer games at the park across the road, as well as a buzzing crowd of customers sitting warm inside.

The ambience is like the coffee bars we remember from the 1960s and 1970s, with chandeliers and mirrors above the rear booths.

There’s a well-equipped and well-fenced children’s play area( at right of photo), and the wall above has whimsical pastel drawings which could be illustrations from children’s books.

I enjoyed a raspberry and chocolate muffin, and appreciated the fact that they offer bite-size as well as full size slices. There are also dog biscuits available, but no-one sitting outside with a dog on this rainy day. My hot chocolate came in a glass, which is not my preference, but luckily the glass was thick enough to be comfortable to hold. This café is definitely one we’ll visit again, especially now I know they have creamy mushrooms on their breakfast menu.

The drawings – not quite Tintoretto
but they enhance walls at Ris’tretto

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