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Posts Tagged ‘dining out’

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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A Mouse Called Bean (hard to get photo with so many lights)

We love the new Little High Eatery behind the McKenzie and Willis facade.  Most of the eight restaurants there were previously in the Re-start Mall, and they’re more enticing under cover on a cold day.  There are plenty of outdoor tables too for when the weather is warmer (and when there’s less construction noise next door).  We were there around 11am and just had coffee, but were impressed with the range of cheap meals available.  The place was buzzing with plenty of customers at that time on a Monday morning, and we will certainly go back for a meal soon.  We’d walked, but there’s a Wilson’s Car Park available just behind on St Asaph Street.  I like that they have long tables where you can end up sitting next and chatting to other people.  This is a great addition to post-quake Christchurch.

“I like this eatery on High
def’nitely one you can’t pass by.”

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Lunch today at the Boat Shed Cafe where Maxine, the resident cat shared morsels from Stephen’s plate.  I’ve been wanting to experiment with taking video on my camera, and this is my first attempt!  I’ve had to create a Youtube account.  It’s all a learning curve, and I’m hoping it’s worked.  Please follow the link above to view Maxine live.

“This video I took today
and now I’m hoping it will play.”

 

 

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The Twisted Hop Pub in Woolston celebrated St George’s Day in great style.  There were flags and balloons, and Morris Dancers!

Morris Dancers on St George's Day

Morris Dancers on St George’s Day

It was hard to get a picture of the dancers because they were constantly moving.  The Town Crier gave patriotic readings from Shakespeare (“This sceptured isle”, etc), but failed to note that the day was also Shakespeare’s birthday and death day.

I had a delicious glass of Laurie Lee Cider from Upper Moutere’s Townshend Brewery, and fish and chips for dinner.  How English is that?

“St George’s day, the twenty-third,
My distant English genes were stirred.”

 

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Yesterday we walked to a performance in the Isaac Theatre Royal.  That statement may seem trivial, but it has a huge amount of emotion in it, because it was the first time we’ve done this since the earthquakes.  It was such a pleasure to be able to head out along the Avon, then to see the theatre ahead of us with Owen Dippie’s giant ballerina mural.  We chose to go to the 4pm show, and New Regent Street was buzzing as we walked along.

The theatre is the first heritage building I’ve been in, that’s been fully restored after the earthquakes, and it looked superb.  We are lucky in New Zealand that many towns have these wonderful old theatres, and doubly lucky in Christchurch to have this one restored to us.

Inside the Isaac Theatre Royal

Inside the Isaac Theatre Royal

Ceiling dome

Ceiling dome

Gilded detail

Gilded detail

The muscial “Buddy” was sheer fun, a reminder of a different era, and of how American music dominated before the British ‘invasion’.  There were times when the accompanying music overwhelmed the singing, but that didn’t matter as I knew all the words.  I’d seen the show before, in 2007 in London’s West End, and I enjoyed this just as much.  I did think they could have emphasised the plane crash a little more, but we all know the story anyway.

Afterwards we crossed the road and had a meal at Sampan House, which was doing a roaring trade.  They must be thrilled to have the theatre open again.

We walked home along the river, delighted to know that such entertainment is once more available in the central city.  We’ve booked for “Phantom” next month too.

“The central city will come back
and we’ll regain those things we lack.”

 

 

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A Christmas Eve dinner out was a good ending to what had been a traumatic day.  We dined at Bloody Mary’s at Rydge’s Hotel in Latimer Square – generously paid for by a distant daughter.

 

Dinner at Bloody Mary's

Dinner at Bloody Mary’s

The food was good, with sauces and vegetables served separately in small saucepans and little iron pans.  Just as our main course was served there was an earthquake, magnitude 4.0, centred near Sumner.  It’s been a while since I’ve felt one that strong, and I found it disturbing.  Other people in the restaurant seemed to take little notice.

As we ate we watched people gathering for Carols by Candlelight in Latimer Square.  When we’d finished we sat in the Square for a while to enjoy the music, then strolled home.

Carols by Candlelight

Carols by Candlelight

“A lot has happened on this day.
Let’s hope tomorrow’s one for play.”

 

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Shop Eight in New Regent Street was our choice for a celebratory dinner that was different and delicious.  The upstairs restaurant seats 26, but there were just three couples last night.  All the furniture is made by Rekindle from wood salvaged from red-zoned houses.  We’d been forewarned and had asked for chairs with backs.  Everyone else was seated on stools.  We were at the end of a long central table by the window, which gave us a view of the attractive buildings of New Regent Street.  Apart from a late-night hairdressing salon, this was deserted for most of the evening.  It will surely be a different story once the Theatre Royal re-opens next month.  Although there was no-one to share the central table with us on this occasion it would provide an opportunity for casual conversation when the restaurant is full, and sparked fond memories of similar tables at Fed Up in Ponsonby Road in the 1980’s, and the original Spagalimi’s in Colombo Street.

All Shop Eight’s food is locally sourced, and we chose to have ‘A Taste of Everything’ ($65 each).  This started with bread served with olive brine, then tiny portions of the four main courses available.  The first was a poached egg served with cos and baby parnsips, then gurnard, served with paua and oyster mushrooms.

Gurnard

Gurnard

A clam broth, complete with shells, was third

Clams

Clams

Then hogget, which the chef told us had been braised for thirteen hours, served with liver and ‘hangi’ potatoes.  The latter are oven-cooked in a hessian sack with soil.

Hogget

Hogget

Our dessert was a fairtrade chocolate mousse, with grapefruit zest foraged from the red zone, then cheese.

This was a wonderful and very different meal.  Serving of the courses was well-paced, so we had time to savour and discuss each.  Shop Eight is the place to go if you want to sample dishes that are extra-ordinary – all made from local ingredients.

“Their food not only tastes so good.
It all comes from the neighbourhood.”

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This morning looked dreary, and we decided to liven it up by going out to breakfast.  It’s the first time I’ve been to Black Betty since their earthquake repairs were completed, and the place was buzzing.

I love the eclectic decor, e.g. black Crown Lynn swans.  We sat at an old oak extension table that was the twin of one we used to have.  The cups and saucers were black, and the teaspoons had Black Betty’s logo on them.  Their skull and crossbones motif is a bit gothic for my taste, but it fits, and the gothic font they use looks great.  The place is family-friendly, and there were several well-behaved small children there.

Breakfast at Black Betty;s

Breakfast at Black Betty’s

I had Black Betty’s Breakfast Stack, which included beautifully cooked field mushrooms and tomatoes.  Yum!  They also make tea with real leaves.  What more could you want?  All their cabinet food looked creative and scrumptious, and prices were reasonable ($3.70 for coffee, $3.90 for a pot of tea).

“Black Betty is the place to be,
as people surely must agree.”

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We had breakfast this morning at The Cup, the first time we’ve been there since the olden (pre EQ) days.

The Cup in Cashmere

The Cup in Cashmere

Although the morning was cloudy we enjoyed the superb view.  On a fine day you can see right across to the alps.  I had lovely creamy garlic mushrooms, with plenty of sauce to soak up with the ciabatta.  Stephen pronounced his Eggs Benedict perfectly cooked.  Having asked for weak tea with plenty of extra hot water I was pleased to get a small pot with leaves, plus two extra pots of water, and a jaffa.  The Cup seems to be frequented mainly by people who’ve walked or cycled up the hill.  After their exercise they deserve a good breakfast or at least a good coffee.

“Some had walked all the long way up
to get their coffee from The Cup.”

 

 

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CBD Bar was our choice for dinner on a warm summery evening.  The nor-wester was just a little too strong, so we chose to sit inside.  CBD specialises in wood fired pizzas, and the options are exotic.  None of your classic Margherita here.  We chose a Pigeon Bay pizza which came with free range chicken, jalapenos, capsicum, red onion, and guacamole.  We also ordered a ‘not-so-large’ salad.

Dinner @ CBD

Dinner @ CBD

The two dishes were more than enough for both of us, and sadly we had no room for the enticing tiramisu displayed in the cabinet.  The pizza was lovely, although the guacamole piled on the centre seemed a little strange, and I rejected most of the jalapenos.  This was a hearty meal at a reasonable price   The bill came to $50.50 which included a pint of beer and one of cider.

“This was a quick and hearty tea
served at the central CBD.”

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