As the temperatures drop, the South Island is getting warmer with enticing winter menus available at all our favourite local haunts. From tasting menus in to seasonal delights, these are the places we’ll be dining this month.
Words & Photos Vanessa Ortynsky
Ilex Café, Botanic Gardens
If you haven’t been to Ilex Cafe in a while, it’s about time you planned a return visit. The greenhouse café, situated in the middle of Christchurch’s beautiful Botanic Gardens, has an updated menu, just in time for winter – and it’s one worth writing home about. The sandwich menu, which changes daily, is definitely a highlight. Order either the pastrami or reuben with a side of fries. If you’re in need of some greens, the seasonal salad is a fresh option, topped with halloumi and both filling and tasty.
Back on the scene, Coffee Supreme reopened at the end of May with the same excellent coffee and a smaller menu, at 10 Welles Street. While the focus remains on coffee, there’s also a sandwich menu, ideal for the lunch crowd. You can also expect the usual baked goods, legendary cheese scones and Swedish cinnamon buns.
The Cow is a true Queenstown institution. The casual restaurant is situated in an actual cow shed and legend has it that dairy farmers used to walk through the lane (now named Cow Lane) to get to the milking shed more than 100 years ago. Embracing the theory that you should never mess with a winning formula, the iconic pizza menu has remained unchanged since opening day. We suggest ordering Her Majesty’s Pleasure, which is topped with mushrooms, ham, pepperoni, onions, tomato and herbs or the Napolitana spaghetti with chunky tomato and basil sauce. (If you’re in Wanaka, try the The Cow there too (33 Ardmore Street).
Federal Diner is our go-to spot for breakfast in Wanaka (47 Helwick Street). With classics like their vege stack and eggs Benedict, you really can’t go wrong. For those on the run, the cheese scones are a forever favourite, as is anything from the extensive range of baked goods in the cabinet. For lunch, there’s a selection of sandwiches in addition to heartier options like slow-roasted lamb.
Dine at The Britten Stables
A collaboration between The Britten Stables and The Bespoke Chef, you’re invited to come try out their brand new celebrations concept. Offering winter dining experiences in the most beautiful setting, Celebrate With Us is ideal for mid-winter gatherings, exclusive corporate events, weddings, engagement parties and intimate dinners of all kinds.
Winter road trips aren’t complete without a stop at Fairlie Bakehouse. While our editor highlighted the pork belly and apple in last month’s issue, taking out second equal would be the salmon and bacon or the vegetarian option, which often features root vegetables in their many forms.