Archive for the ‘Christchurch – Central’ Category

The sound of splashing caught my attention as I passed an empty section.  There was a seagull stamping its feet in the water and apparently finding something there to eat, while making plenty of watery sounds.

Seagull in puddle

“The splashing sound that caught my ear
was of a seagull stomping near.”


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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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A great musical evening was provided by Showbiz’s concert of Cole Porter and Andrew Lloyd Webber hits, titled “Broadway Hitmen”.  No photos allowed during the show, but I snapped the 30 piece orchestra as they took their seats.

I preferred the Webber songs, especially as so many of them are familiar, but lots of the Porter ones were too.  To save trees and money I tend not to buy programmes, but thought afterwards it would have been useful to know the names of all the items, and of the singers.  Many of the songs were enhanced by actions and dancing, and having the soloists exit immediately, rather than take individual bows, worked well.  The first half of the programme was from Cole Porter.  I enjoyed “Brush up your Shakespeare”, which I don’t remember hearing before, but the drawn out end of this number marred it in my opinion.  “Let’s do it (Let’s fall in love)” was well executed by two soloists.  The woman in particular had a delightful manner.  The final song in this half was “Anything Goes”, and I just loved the tap dancing, seen so rarely these days.

The Webber programme included a moving rendition of “Pie Jesu” sung by a woman and a choirboy.  There was an orchestral number I couldn’t put a name to, accompanied by strobe lighting which was too much.  I hope they may have toned this down before another performance.  For me, the evening’s outstanding performance came from Nic Kyle singing “Gethsemane” from “Jesus Christ Superstar”.  The finale was “Superstar”.

It’s a pity there are only four performances of this show (13-15 July).  I think many people will be sorry to have missed out on a musical treat.

“With music popular and great
this was a special concert date.”

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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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Someone with a poetic bent has painted a couple of murals on the building on the north west corner of Gloucester Street and Fitzgerald Avenue.

“The Trees” by Philip Larkin


Starry Starry Night

I enjoy seeing new adornments when I’m out walking.  I like to think about what may have inspired these artistic creations.

“Trees and stars are signs of hope
which comfort those inclined to mope.”

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The wall of the YMCA is graced by this mural by London-based artist Fin DAC who specialises in making large murals of beautiful women.


The title is Kaitiaki and the picture combines elements of Maori culture and mythology to offer protection to the city.  An owl and a kingfisher sit in her hands.

“This female image meant to be
protection for both you and me.”

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