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Instagrammable eats

This day and age everything is posted online; clothing hauls, makeup looks, new pets and partners… even hospitality hotspots. So we’ve put together some of Christchurch’s most #instagramworthy eats.



Oh my milkshake! Singer Kelis was aware that ‘her milkshakes bought all of the boys to the yard’. Base Woodfired Pizza are doing exactly that at Little High Eatery. Overflowing with whipped cream, donuts, brownies and multiple scoops of ice cream; get your camera ready before
it melts.

Totally Tubular: Uber Eats has nothing on C1 Espresso’s delivery speed – 140km/h to be exact. Your food flies through the air in pneumatic tubes and arrives straight to your table. Food delivery by waiter will seem too boring after sliders and fries arriving
by tube.

Beauty in a bowl: If you’re looking for a healthy option that is good for the ‘gram and your body, Park Ranger is the place to stop for your next meal. Specifically, their amazing açai bowls could almost be considered art in a coconut bowl. Delicious in both form and function!

On a roll: Calling everyone with a sweet tooth, we have the desert for you. The Gerry Brownie from Rollickin Gelato is great to share online or with another person instore. Not to mention New Regent Street makes for an awesome backdrop.


Stars in her eyes

A Christchurch Instagram star has just launched her e-book on how to become a successful social media influencer.



Nikita Rindel has clocked up an impressive number of followers in her Instagram page ‘Nikitahhx’ – the ‘hhx’ standing for ‘hug, hug, kiss!’

Today she’s the oracle on everything to do with making up beautiful eyes. It all started five years ago with Instagram, where she has now reached 303,000 followers, with an additional 76,000 on YouTube over the last three years.

Her e-book is titled How to become a successful influencer – the good, the bad, and the things no one tells you. It is a generic, inspiring practical guide for all types of influencers. It explains in simple steps how to create a platform, get a following, the importance of ‘hanging out’ with other influencers, how to collaborate with brands – and, of course, amazing tips.


“At high school, an influencer wasn’t yet a thing, so there was no one to help me; I just had to find my way,” Nikita says.

“That’s why I wanted to help others. I’m always there to answer questions and dispel myths, such as the one about instant success and lots of money! It’s not like that at all. No one seemed to have a book out there on how to do it.

“I have no qualifications. You just need a passion for what you do.”

The 25-year-old emigrated from South Africa as a 13-year-old. Her big brown eyes – genes inherited from her Italian grandfather – make the perfect canvas to showcase her tutorials.


Why eyes? “They are the first thing that people look at. It all started when I got out my camera out for a close-up demonstration shot of my favourite brand I’d been following – with Anastasia Beverley Hills Dip-brow Promade. It came out really well!”

Nikita creates her tutorials from her couch using a Canon EOS 650D, just a metre away on a tripod.

“It’s sometimes hard to keep a steady hand,” she says. “But everything can be edited to become perfect. You don’t have to be tech savvy at all. Although, Brett works in IT. That has helped!” And to reverse roles, he recently featured in a tutorial as her makeup artist!

Nikita now showcases her favourite makeup brands and how great brushes do all the hard work. A lot of planning goes into her presentations and explaining ‘why’, rather than just demonstrating, is part of her success.



Although her statistics are impressive, she says content is now more important than ever before. It’s no longer just about the number of followers, especially since Instagram have now removed the visible ‘likes’.

Nikita has been approached by around 20 international brands such as Maybelline. “It’s really important to have good rapport with the suppliers; most of mine have approached me, rather than the other way around, which can be a lot more challenging.”

Nikita has settled down and bought a house in Casebrook with her husband Brett. “I absolutely love Christchurch,” she says.

She works up to 12 hours a day and loves every second. “I especially enjoy helping people, and having lots of followers is just a bonus really.

“I don’t often get people recognising me on the streets of Christchurch – but when they do they’ll always get a big hug from me!

Follow @Nikitahhx on Instagram/Facebook/YouTube/Twitter/Snapchat.


Metropol has five e-books to give away. To enter, head to the Metropol Facebook page to follow the instructions. Don’t forget to follow Nikitahhx!



Wedding cake

Have your cake and eat it too: a non-traditional approach to wedding cakes

Once upon a time, wedding cakes were a one size fits all affair – that is to say, dried fruit and white fondant were the order of the day. That was – of course – pre-Instagram.

Wedding cake

As our cake creations have become increasingly elaborate, they are taking a bigger bite out of the bridal budget. But as we’re sure your inner sweet tooth will assert, it’s a worthy cause, with their painstaking design details an opportunity to stamp one’s personality on the big day, as much as the wedding dress itself.
If you’re looking to make a statement at your dessert table, it seems 2018 is living up to the culinary hype. We have hunted out the wedding cake trends 2018/2019 couples will totally adore.

Blooming beautiful

We’ve long been seduced by the culinary cool cred of the edible flower trend to add flavour to salads and soups. Now our clever cake makers are having a dalliance with decorating of the floral kind and it’s got our mouths watering.

Beautiful brushstrokes

Brushstroke cakes are currently trending in a big way. These art-inspired creations consist of melting chocolate onto wax paper and using a paintbrush to create ‘feathers’ which are placed on a cake once they harden.

Black beauty

The beauty is in the simplicity of this tasty trend. All dressed in black, she may appear dark and moody at face value, but like the LBD, is actually chic and understated, especially when brought to life with several textured tiers.

Floral fixation

This romantic trend is right at home with a spring wedding. A new take on the watercolour trend of recent years, hand-painted floral details are one of the prettiest wedding cake trends of the year.

Gilded garnishing

Gold leaf is being added to fondant or buttercream frosting to create a gilded finish. Strategic scattering gives a rustic shimmer or cover one or two tiers to truly dazzle your guests.

Fig-ment of your imagination

Many brides to be are going back to basics, with simple buttercream cakes featuring one fruity flavour – figs. Though fruit wedding cakes are not new by any stretch, figs are the fruit of the moment. Expect to see these dark purple fruits dotting wedding cakes throughout 2018.

Naked & famous

The so-called ‘naked cake’ – which boasts little to no frosting – is the shabby chic of the cake world; a little rustic but oh so glam and its popularity shows no sign of abating in 2018.

Glamorous glass

The most clever of our culinary creators have been taking clear isomalt – a sugar substitute – and colouring and shaping it to create a stained-glass effect.

Dane McGregor aka Baker Gatherer

Sure to rise: Q&A with instagram’s Baker Gatherer aka Dane McGregor

We’re not proponents of gender stereotypes round here at Metropol, but we won’t deny we were tickled pink by the sight of Dane McGregor, Baker Gatherer, getting his culinary craft on over on his Instagram @bakergatherer in amongst all the lasses. The sweet toothed recipe maker and content creator talks shop on whipping up a concept that was always sure to rise.

Dane McGregor aka Baker Gatherer
Dane McGregor aka Baker Gatherer

It’s exciting to see a bloke baking – often that is a field heavily populated by women. What inspired your passion?

I’m sure every male can relate to food being the key to any good relationship. I’m no different, although I do have a huge sweet tooth. From a young age, I’ve always enjoyed being in the kitchen and scouring through cooking books, so I can assure you that eating with my eye has definitely fuelled a passion.

Do you come up with original ideas or look to innovate on existing recipes?

Quite a lot of my ideas are all original, although I do like to experiment with different elements which stem from existing ideas or concepts. For example, if you already had two well-known desserts or pieces of baking, why not fuse them together to create something new, unique and get people curious about making it themselves? I’ve used the word ‘Frankensteining’ before and that’s exactly what I do, experiment and see what comes to life.

Do you think the true art of baking has been lost to the ‘baking in a box’ phenomenon?

Definitely not. I’ve even considered branching out into creating ‘baking boxes’ myself to allow people to replicate my recipes at home. I believe they have their place in the kitchen, either for convenience or allowing the public to try different recipes and products. On the other hand, there are still those people who are more traditional and prefer to bake from scratch. I’m probably more of a traditionalist myself, most likely because I’ve grown up with home baking and I generally already have everything I need in my pantry and cupboards ready to go.

What’s in the mix this year for you and your recipes this year?

I have lots of neat ideas moving forward, such as creating new recipes and content for my website. But I do want to spend more time networking and building positive relationships with brands I’ve already been lucky enough to work with, although with plenty of new ones too.

Monisha Sharma

Beautiful vegetarian victories: Q&A with the very Instagramable Monisha Sharma

Monisha (Mon) Sharma hails from exotic India where food is full of soul – no superlatives will do these dishes justice. Mon has brought her heritage and her creative convictions to New Zealand and is wooing a captive Instagram audience with her culinary charm. A little bit Kiwi, a little bit Indian, a little bit hard-to-put-your-finger on, Mon’s creations are charming to mind, body and soul. Metropol talks to the fabulous foodie about her claim to social media fame.

Monisha Sharma

How did ‘Mon’s Flavours’ start on Instagram?

I’m actually not a food blogger. My background was working full-time in a restaurant and when I moved to New Zealand, this all just happened. I actually wasn’t very well for a while and I started playing around with recipes at home. It was my son who said, ‘Why don’t you start Instagramming?’ and he set me up with the account. At the time, I didn’t even know what a hashtag was or how to use a camera! I started putting up my smoothies and recipes and I think this started to resonate with people. I just kept being original. I love making people laugh and smile.

Monisha Sharma

Where does your inspiration for your colourful and unique recipes come from?

I do every single thing from scratch. Being Indian, I love different ingredients from my culture and also from others and like to mix and match. A lot of recipes I have created are not necessarily made from anything fancy – it could just be everyday ingredients from your cupboard – for example, my avocado smoothie. I might add in peanuts, or cacao powder, or add some magical pear. I like to create what is delicious, healthy and filling.

Monisha Sharma

You are a vegetarian, how does this influence what you create?

When people ask me how I have survived being a vegetarian until now – 43 years old – I say, ‘Well, I can run with more energy than a meat eater!’ I like to prove them wrong and when I tell them I have a 21-year-old son they say, ‘Wow, you must be doing something right!’” I love to work with vegetarian ingredients. When it comes to cooking or baking you just have to love what you do and be confident in your decisions.”