Curious Christchurch – Unusual Eats & Drinks

Vespa Bar, 225 High Street
Vespa themed Vespa Bar celebrated one year in their new High Street location in November 2014. Vespa adjoins the Stranges Lane development that opened in August. We called in to Vespa Bar for morning coffee and were served by a very friendly staff member, reason enough for us to go back on our next trip to Christchurch. Reason two could be the 2 for 1 cocktails Monday, Wednesday and Saturday from 4pm (stay up-to-date with promotions on Facebook).

Vespa Bar, Christchurch

Vespa Bar, Christchurch

Vespa inspired cocktails include Helmet Head, and Jump Start. Express lunches are served 11.30am – 2pm, and ‘street food’ is served any time. We honk our horn to Vespa for returning to High Street last year. Christchurch is still waiting for a lot of permanent inner city development to bring people back into the city, so helmets off to Vespa for being a leader of the pack.

Street food any time

Street food any time

Vespa Bar, Christchurch

Vespa Bar, Christchurch

Stranges Lane dining options include Lower 9th Diner, Orleans, and Strange & Co. We poked our heads into Lower 9th Diner and saw burgers, fried chicken and BBQ ribs on the menu. There are all sorts of odds and sods decorating the interior including crocodiles, a cuckoo clock, and strings of beads.

Baileys Banana-Colada at Strange & Co

Baileys Banana-Colada at Strange & Co

Strange & Co. import moonshine from the US and shake up moonshine cocktails like The Baileys Banana-Colada if you’re after something unique to drink.

Entry to Stranges Lane & the exterior of Vespa Bar

Entry to Stranges Lane & the exterior of Vespa Bar

Lower 9th Diner & courtyard seating in Stranges Lane

Lower 9th Diner & courtyard seating in Stranges Lane

Interior of Lower 9th Diner

Interior of Lower 9th Diner

The Commons, corner Kilmore & Durham Streets
Another Gap Filler initiative, The Commons is a community space that includes a Retro Sports Facility – play swing ball or croquet, and throw a frisbee. The onsite food caravans are a popular lunch spot for construction workers, and cable spools have been converted into outdoor tables and chairs.

Food caravans at The Commons

Food caravans at The Commons

The Dukes of Sandwich sell $10 sandwiches made with local organic produce, free range meats, and amazingly good ciabatta bread. Mike rates the Gunpowder pork belly sandwich, although he thinks it should be called The Boss Hog.

Gunpowder pork sandwich from The Dukes of Sandwich

Gunpowder pork sandwich from The Dukes of Sandwich

The Food Collective can keep you up-to-date with the food caravans parked at The Commons, opening hours etc. If it’s raining you can eat your lunch in the cute little ‘lunch box’ ….

Sit in the 'lunch box' when it's raining

Sit in the ‘lunch box’ when it’s raining

The Square Restaurant, Novotel Hotel, Cathedral Square
This may not be unusual, but it’s the first time we’ve seen it – The Square Restaurant in the Novotel Hotel on Cathedral Square has a few tables with TVs and headphones. Could be good for those who are uncomfortable dining alone but still prefer to be in a restaurant rather than order room service.

Lone diners may like to watch TV with dinner

Lone diners may like to watch TV with dinner

We had a very good meal at The Square, but the menu’s changing so I won’t include food photos. I was a fan though of an unusual drink on the bar menu – Wild Hibiscus. Wild Hibiscus is made with an edible raspberry flavoured flower that floats in a glass of Brancott Estate Chardonnary Pinot Noir, it fizzed with just the right amount of pink bubbles for me.

Wild Hibiscus

Wild Hibiscus

If you’re curious about how the Christchurch rebuild is progressing, I took a few photos from our room on the 11th floor of the Novotel overlooking Cathedral Square ……

Demolition and rebuilding in progress, Camelot Hotel still closed

Demolition and rebuilding in progress, Camelot Hotel still closed

The damaged cathedral, opposite is the old Christchurch Post Office turned i-SITE, Starbucks etc, remains boarded up and closed

The damaged cathedral, opposite is the old Christchurch Post Office turned i-SITE, Starbucks etc, remains boarded up and closed

Lots of empty spaces are converted to car parks, and walls temporary or permanent are a canvas for street art

Lots of empty spaces are converted to car parks, and walls temporary or permanent are a canvas for street art

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