Cuisine, hospitality and comfort Greek style are what brings diners back to The Athens Yacht Club time after time. In Greek culture, food is so much more than sustenance, and the same applies to this family-oriented central city restaurant which prides itself on offering an authentic Mediterranean experience.
Owners Emilios and Rebecca Kotzikas want diners to feel like they are in Greece, enjoying a joyous family dinner, celebrating life with good food, and learning about the true tastes of the country.
“It is about culture, comfort, family and life itself. We bring you the total Greek experience with authenticity being our top priority. Real Greek food from the heart. It’s about hospitality, good staff, service and traditional recipes dating back hundreds of years,” says Emilios.
Open seven nights from 5pm until late, the restaurant offers a seasonal menu, using mainly local ingredients to produce traditional Greek dishes. Head chef Lawrence Harvey (aka Loz) is passionate about his culinary creations, and to ensure authenticity, Emilios’ aunties and cousins regularly help to “fine-tune” the flavours.
“What we offer is as close as possible to a Sunday family meal in Greece.”
Aside from the owners and the head chef, there are two additional chefs, two kitchen hands, a general manager, restaurant manager and seven front-of-house staff.
General manager Anne Foucque-Patelesio enjoys being part of such a large welcoming family. “Everyone from the owners, the kitchen staff and front of house staff; we’re one big Greek family,” she smiles.
Diners also become part of the family, enjoying the atmosphere, the service and most of all the cuisine. “The food is very Greek-inspired, and the portions are all very generous,” explains Anne. “No-one ever leaves unsatisfied or hungry.”
Her current favourite menu items include slow roasted pork and crackle with pourgouri (bulgur wheat pilaf), parsley, grape and walnut dressing, croquettes with a traditional spicy cheese dip known as tyrokafteri, and for dessert bougatsa – a custard-filled pastry with apple compote, cinnamon and vanilla bean ice-cream.
If those do not tempt you there are lots of other mouth-watering options. The Athens Yacht Club promises “Greek food fit for the gods” and it delivers with the best quality ingredients and tantalising creations.
The décor is fresh yacht club-inspired, and the menu includes many well-known Mediterranean favourites. Imagine succulent crispy tiger prawns or stuffed grape leaves with pork, rice, tomato, herbs and yoghurt, combinations featuring tzatziki, taramosalata and tyrokafteri, Saganaki (flamed cheese), grilled broccolini, baked eggplant, seared yellowfin tuna, Greek meatballs, flash-fried calamari, slow cooked lamb shoulder, chargrilled steak, fresh seafood options and those are just a few.
The desserts sound divine, from frozen parfait with chocolate mousse, caramelised almonds, chocolate sauce, to traditional baklava, and amazing loukamades or Greek doughnuts with toppings of honey, olive oil biscuit crumbs and vanilla bean ice cream or salted caramel sauce, caramel ice cream, pistachios. Yummy! Can’t decide? Try a dessert platter with some of everything on it.
Word is spreading so bookings are essential.
“The best compliment we can get is when we have repeat customers,” says Emilios. “People come in wanting to try the food and experience the atmosphere, and when they come back, again and again, well, what more could we ask for. It is so wonderful to have a job where we can put a smile on people’s faces.”
The days are getting shorter, and the temperature is getting cooler … but for The Lake House that is not a problem. The solution? A handful of heating options and a bunch of blankets.
Boats are always on the lake, says owner Vanetia Bingham. And the sunsets are particularly beautiful on the deck by the fire.
At The Lake House the current buzzword is “new.”
With a new head chef at the reins, peruse the new autumn menu and salivate at the selection on offer; seafood chowder, duck confit and twice cooked pork belly are just a few standouts.
Last time we checked in with the restaurant, there were behind the scenes preparations involving a second location for the increasingly popular Smoke menu and experience. And as a result, the slow-smoked American BBQ dining experience can now be found in Rolleston.
A unique interior features a custom-made fitout where everything is made from burnt wood and it is shaping up to be equally as popular as its Ashburton counterpart.
Book via the website below, phone (03) 302 6064 or email email@example.com. Or if you’re more of the spontaneous type… just pop in.
Autumn means it’s time to cosy-up at Fig restaurant at Quality Hotel Elms and enjoy its brand-new dinner menu.
Food and beverage services manager Ravi Naidu says, “We aim to keep our menu international bistro-style, so you’ll see Asian-inspired dishes, pasta and that timeless crowd-pleaser – classic steaks.”
Of course, the new dishes do need to pass exacting taste-testing by Ravi, all the chefs, the hotel’s general manager, and the rest of the food and beverage staff (it’s a tough job!).
As a little taster of what’s on offer… for a warm-up there’s a creamy prawn chowder or how about sweet and spicy baked pork belly… on to the main event with fish fillet baked in banana leaf with garden salad, Thai dressing, and lemon… or Chicken Pasanda, a beautiful almond-based, creamy curry.
“Team these delicious dishes with a South Island wine, and you’re in for a fantastic evening,” says Ravi.
Fig restaurant at Quality Hotel Elms, 456 Papanui Rd, is complemented by its inviting bar, completing the atmosphere with a fireplace in the cooler months; you won’t be able to tear yourself away.
“Level One Events caters to traditionalist couples through to the wild ones who want anything but!” says Wedding Planner Kate Grater. Level One Craft Beer & Coffee Bar launched Level One Events in 2020 so couples can have it all.
The boho beach style is rich décor, dark green foliage, bar leaners, plush sofas and comfy relaxing nooks for guests to converse.
Kate says while weddings are changing with the times, traditional affairs hold the same grace and style as ever.
“Embracing the new wave in the ‘I do’ department leads way for niche pop-up, micro, elopement, and bespoke wedding services.”
Level One Events hosts and creates beautiful events, unique to each couple.
“Every couple envisions the look and feel of their day. We match their requests with our services, based on taste, style and budget. There’s no ‘one size fits all’ wedding package, because no love is the same.
“We’ve heard complaints of confusing price structures, too many options and overwhelming correspondence between involved parties. Our straight forward wedding planning is a no-fuss approach, so you can focus on what’s important.”
Level One provides all or part of the venue, catering, décor and planning, all year round.
“We’re here to assist in making magic happen, not breaking the bank – to really enjoy the planning process, right through to ‘I do’.”
Visit Levelone.nz or pop into level 1/217 Marine Parade, New Brighton.
Harbour House in Governors Bay is so close to the heart of Christchurch, yet its unique location has the feel of a different world.
Views of Lyttelton Harbour serve as the stunning backdrop for your wedding and whether you’re planning an intimate gathering or a bigger celebration, event manager Nic Graham and Europe-trained chef Verdi Malik will make it happen the way you want.
Nic says, “Verdi can do anything! Food from any cuisine and he has a vegan repertoire.”
It can be served formally or informally to suit your occasion. Seeing is believing, so take the time to pop over to talk to Nic and Verdi about what they can bring together to make your day perfect.
A home away from home describes the fabulous warm feel and relaxed vibe of this switched up gastro pub. The Elmwood Trading Co fits up to 50 and is the perfect spot when tying the knot, or for having a pre- or post-wedding party.
The restaurant is French chic with a cheeky twist, and the large bar area with wooden tables and polished concrete floor leads to a sheltered courtyard.
Boogie all night with licence until 1am for functions.
“We always make a fuss of hen’s night groups too, and kids are most welcome,” says owner Marty Fuller.
The broad menu has something for weddings, birthdays, meetings, seminars, anniversaries and fundraisers, with à la carte, set menus, buffets or drinks and nibbles.
Chef Henry Liang has been with Marty for 13 years, since their Trevino days. Trained in metropolitan cities from Mumbai to Dubai, fusion cuisine – and steak – is his penchant.
Just great value fare, cooked skillfully.
“We have a good selection of wines and beers, including my favourite, King’s Bastard, an elegant Marlborough Chardonnay. We’re absolutely flexible to tailor-make any function. Tell us what you want, and we’ll do it,” says Marty. After 40 years in hospitality, he’s experienced everything.
There are great parking spaces, great atmosphere, and community patronage at The Elmwood, “Where everyone knows your name.”
Come down to The Elmwood Trading Co. at 1 Norman’s Road, Strowan. Phone (03) 355 5345 or visit the website.
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.
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.
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.