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Peck of the bunch: Purple Weka Cafe

Wekas are known as cheeky food-stealing birds, but at Purple Weka Café & Bar, the food is the one stealing the show. Teamed with a welcoming atmosphere and impeccable service, this is one local hospitality hotspot worth adding to your 2021 to-do list.



Owner Stewart McDougall says the fare is made on-site with fresh ingredients (including house-made jams and relish) and serves up time-honoured favourites.

“Our food is quite traditional and all cooked on the premises apart from some pies,” he says. “Our most popular dish is the savoury mince served with a soft poached egg, or the creamy mushrooms served with bacon on grilled ciabatta.”

Much like the playful bird, the atmosphere at the Purple Weka is fun and friendly.

“Our café is a fun place to visit, often with peals of laughter coming from the diners interacting with the team,” says Stewart.

Add some Purple Weka magic to your next meal out, or enquire about catering for your next event.

You’ll find them at 48 Fitzgerald Avenue, Christchurch.

Phone orders are welcome on (03) 366 0258 or browse the menu online.


No ordinary café: Good Street Deli

Artistic sweet pastries and (almost) too good looking to eat handcrafted chocolates sit alongside an exceptional menu and cabinet food offerings at Good Street Deli.



Tucked inside the Opus Building on Moorhouse Avenue, new owners have reinvigorated the eatery – offering a creative high tea and have just introduced a $10 weekend breakfast and $13.99 lunch menu.

Using prestigious brand, Callebaut, head chef Edwin Peng produces beautiful, handcrafted chocolates.

Mouth-watering natural flavours from real ingredients include sea salt, berry, Earl Grey, coffee, whisky and more – all hand painted in stunning glossy finishes.

The galaxy finish is noteworthy; its glittery swirl notoriously hard to create.

Edwin makes the treats weekly, but once purchased can be stored at room temperature for up to three months, making them great for gifts or special occasions.

The high tea further showcases Edwin’s skills as a Shanghai-trained pastry chef who has worked for the Heritage Hotel in Queenstown and Waipuna Hotel in Auckland.

Featuring sweet treats like artistic lemon white chocolate mousse cakes disguised as a fresh yellow lemon complete with green stalk and leaf, and a dark chocolate mousse cake as a delicate red rose. Savoury items include premium seafood and beautiful sandwiches, pastries, and scones.

Elsewhere on the café menu, breakfast include pancakes, French toast, smashed avo and an omelette, with lunch featuring a Karaage chicken burger, meatball pasta, pork cutlet curry – and a suite of salads, sandwiches and other cabinet goodies including a very popular spinach and cream cheese scone.

Open Monday to Friday, 7am to 3pm and 9am to 3pm on weekends.


New cafe the place to be: Taste of Kiwi

A delicious stop-off on any drive through Springfield, Taste of Kiwi café is a new venture for Cam Clark and Kristina Squires. And the couple are overdelivering on their pledge to serve the best of Kiwi cuisine, community, and hospitality.



Not only are the couple determined to create a hub for the community to gather and host events, but they have created a mouth-watering menu and tempting cabinet food offerings, all within a fresh and modern new space.

“Taste of Kiwi was born through a love of travel and a passion for people,” says Cam.

“Kristina and I have travelled throughout the world, and everywhere we have been Kiwi hospitality has been famous for its genuine people, tasty food, and beautiful coffee. We have aimed to create a space for locals and visitors to come together, enjoy good food and relax.”

Serving a full breakfast and lunch menu – which includes the famous Kiwi Breakfast, classic eggs benedict and a modern take on mince on toast which consists of house-made beef mince, rosemary potato cake, free range poached egg and toasted ciabatta – the café has a tempting selection of cabinet food, too. With fresh baking daily, gourmet pies, and many gluten free, vegan and vegetarian options.

Kristina, who grew up in Springfield, says her and Cam are enjoying supporting local events, supplying catering and bringing new passion to the community. They enjoy meeting travellers from Christchurch or further afield.

Stop into Taste of Kiwi at 5666 West Coast Road, Springfield, follow them on Instagram @tasteofkiwi_nz or visit the Facebook page below for more information about opening hours, events and the menu.


Internationally designed for locals: The Option

The flair of European cuisine hides in plain sight in Northwood at The Option Bistro & Wines. Those who have visited the continent will know, there, hospitality transcends expertly cooked cuisine with matching wines, and combines excellent service and an atmosphere which fosters connection. And that’s exactly what happens at The Option.


Owners and Romanian ex-pats, Sabina and Sergiu Toader named The Option for its diverse menu offerings. But the philosophy of the enterprise is underpinned by following the motto of one of the world’s most famous hospitality brands, the Ritz-Carlton.

“Their motto is, ‘We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen’,” says Sabina. “Considering ourselves ladies and gentlemen means we do our serving job with excellence.

Unlike the Ritz-Carlton, we are not a luxury establishment, but we pride ourselves with our service and products and by treating our guests as royalty.”

Since its inception four years ago, it has gained a strong reputation as a portal into spectacular wines and internationally curated cuisine.

“We are continuously bringing the flair of European dining trends into this relaxed corner of the world,” says Sabina.

“Our travels around the world taught us to appreciate and celebrate diversity. The Option Bistro & Wines is about diversity, and as many options as possible.

“Our current summer menu brings dishes from Europe: the Spanish Gazpacho, the French Escargot or the Italian Chicken Parmigiana, all next to the best beef fillet in the world – the New Zealand one – and the unbeatable seafood chowder.”

The beating heart of Styx Mill, The Option creates irresistable memories through landmark events and dining experiences.

It is popular with locals for casual catch ups, business meetings and special occasions. Monthly cultural-themed parties celebrating diversity through food, drinks and music are also a hit.

The team can also customise experience to suit any special celebration.

“We provide connectivity through our products, our friendly service, the atmosphere and experiences,” says Sabina.

The Option has a vast wine list (and popular tasting experience) which traverses more than 15 countries.

Sergiu is an accredited wine and spirits specialist who designs professional wine tasting experiences which double as culture, geography and history lessons.

The Option Bistro & Wines is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day with Sunday and Monday nights reserved for bigger groups.


Ashburton eats: The Millhouse Kitchen

Sunshine streams into the Millhouse Kitchen onto cosy leather armchairs and farmhouse-style table and chairs, creating an inviting atmosphere for this hidden gem of a mid-Canterbury cafe.



The heritage of the 108-year-old building is pristinely preserved in the wooden panelled walls and framed historic photographs which hang upon them, but the hospitality, cuisine and beverage offerings are refreshingly contemporary.

Just over an hour’s drive from Christchurch city, whether your end destination is Ashburton or you are passing through – add this family-run café to your travel itinerary.

Mark Milmine and his wife Nicky, already proud owners of Somerset Grocer, recently took over the reins of the historic location built by the England Brothers in 1912.

Now it is the Milmine’s turn to add their own spin to the already rich heritage of the building.

This one stop shop offers breakfast, lunch and delicious treats – with the selection featuring classics, as well as some more new-age twists.

Sought-after dishes include the crispy chicken burger, chilli chicken salad and salmon and sesame rice superfood bowl.

Eat inside amongst the charming farmhouse aesthetic, or head into the snug garden.

“People can sit outside, relax and forget about the day,” says Mark.

Check out the quaint café located off SH1 in the Millhouse building.

For more information contact or call (03) 307 9249.


‘tis the season: Fig Restaurant

It’s mid-November and chances are there are some who are yet to organise an end – or start – of year celebration. If you are pondering a location, Ravi Naidu has it fig-ured out. Fig Restaurant at Quality Hotel Elms is a crowd-pleasing silly season locale.


The Papanui modern bistro has just curated a new bar and restaurant menu and is eager for guests and foodies alike to get their first taste of the diverse yet cohesive menu.

From tantalising light bites to inventive main courses, there is buffet and a la carte breakfast menus from 6am, all day snacks and dinner from 5pm.

With four conference rooms available, from the Garden Room for 120 guests to the Green Room for 40, in-house chef Himal can work with you to create a menu suited to your group’s size and preference.

Whether you’re planning an end of year company function, social holiday party or family get together, you can relax in the sophisticated interiors, or enjoy the warmer weather alfresco.

The Fig Restaurant Christmas dinner is also back for another year.

The mouth-watering buffet-style meal features Kiwi classics such as New Zealand lamb, Coromandel half-shell mussels and Akaroa salmon.

To book email or phone (03) 352 4903. Don’t be a Grinch and start planning your function now!


Fusion front runner: Formosa Restaurant

Atmosphere and flavour collide at Formosa, Ashburton’s standout Asian-fusion restaurant perfect for post-race dinner, fine dining, cocktails or dessert.

The Formosa experience starts from the moment you walk in the door; where you are greeted with a vibrant red brick wall emblazoned with flowers and cluster of red parasols floating above.

With beautiful, polished décor in a spacious setting, Formosa has three roomy and uniquely themed spaces: The VIP Room, Chinese Lantern Area, and the Red Parasol Area that are perfect for an intimate date night, a family lunch or event for up to 120 guests.

It also has an open kitchen so you can witness the creation of your food and engage with the friendly chefs while they are in action preparing beautifully presented, authentically Asian dishes.

The fabulous food pairs beautifully with the delightful wines and cocktail menus and can be prepared for dine in or takeaway, or customised for an event, complete with vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options.

A fine dessert menu and new high tea offering provide even more options for post-race festivities, or something special to do this spring and summer.

Open Monday to Saturday, 11.30am to 2pm and 4.30pm to 8.30pm.

Phone 03-308 7874 or email to make a booking


Changing Protocol: Protocol

As they say, every cloud has a silver lining. For Protocol, that meant looking at the space they had and envisaging the space it could become.


Owner Genaea Calvert says, “COVID-19 allowed us to re-visit our business and utilisation of spaces”.

So, after feedback about noise travelling from the bar area, and with new social distancing practices, the restaurant was relocated to a larger and more private area.

“In doing this the feedback was really positive about the quieter dining space, this led to a refurbishment and we believe we have now created a really nice ambient area for our diners,” she says.

It wasn’t just the space that got a revamp, there’s also a new lunch and dinner menu for customers to enjoy in the quieter more intimate setting or enjoy the hum and dine in the main bar area.

“It’s not often you get closed for extended periods, so we took the opportunity at Level 3 when we were still unable to open to also give the main bar a lift. We feel that we have a great team of staff and our menu provides great quality restaurant-style dishes at reasonable prices”.

The venue is still able to accommodate large groups with their second function room, now catering for a wider range and much better utilisation of space.

Make Protocol your next venue for your event! Phone 03 9642 880 or email


Refurbished, refit and ready: Tinwald Function Centre

Refurbished, refit and ready – the Tinwald Function Centre’s new restaurant and remodelled function room with onsite accommodation and ample parking is ready for function season.



A $1 million renovation of the centre has seen its former restaurant remodelled into a purpose-built function space for up to 120 people.

The work made way for the brand-new Alluvial restaurant. Serving contemporary New Zealand cuisine – using fresh, seasonal ingredients from local suppliers – Alluvial extends the centre’s catering options for functions and events.

With carparking for 80-plus vehicles, 13 motel rooms, public bar, bottle store, outdoor area and a “plug-in and go” technology system, owner Greg King says the renovations were designed so users can just turn up.

“The function space includes an 85-inch smart tv for presentations, a microphone sound system for speaking, and free wi-fi.

“Our team are looking forward to helping businesses and the community hold their events, so please talk to us about your needs.”

Call the Tinwald Function Centre on 03 308 7505 or email


Heroes of hospitality: Universo

The word hospitality derives from the Latin hospes, which rather oddly means both host and guest. However, it all makes perfect sense on a visit to Christchurch’s established favourite, Universo, where the relationship of hosts Madlen and Wayne Shaw with their diverse range of guests hits the peak definition of hospitality, being “the friendly and generous reception and entertainment of guests, visitors, or strangers”.



The welcoming and flexible spaces at Universo allow for a variety of dining, drinking and celebrating experiences.

For mid-winter functions, guests can have exclusive use of the entire venue, with canapés served to 150 or 80-90 people seated.

The café area is available for 30 guests seated, while the bar and restaurant can cater for 70 guests seated, and of course the areas are available for canapé functions.

“We have private events, milestone celebrations and corporate functions booked for winter and spring,” Madlen says. “

And come summer our generous outdoor area comes into its own – weddings for 80-90 seated or 200 people canapé style are a speciality and of course we love to do more intimate gatherings as well.”

With the glorious Arts Centre and Art Gallery as neighbours, it’s hard to beat this sophisticated setting when booking for a memorable occasion.

Come evening, a favourite choice for diners is the ‘trust the chef’ choice, where groups of four people or more receive the team’s favourite dishes, at $65 per person for a starter and main with sides, and $75 for three courses. Universo’s not to be missed cosy winter special is ‘bottomless dumplings, beers and bubbles’, which is available every Thursday in July and August from 5-8pm at $59 per person.

Cup and Show Week feels more than ever like a promised land this winter, and Universo will again be serving its very popular canapé style breakfast with bubbles or a seated breakfast, with transfers to the track. Book a spot for your crew and let the planning for the gateway to a great Canterbury summer commence!