Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Eating in... Christchurch

I was so impressed with my visit to Christchurch. Besides the lovely gap-filler projects, that certainly communicate a sense of sensitive robustness, there were more than a handful of eateries I wanted to visit. One that I sadly missed was the Harlequin Public House by famous local chef Johnny Schwass, but I at least got to a few others. This included legendary Dimitri's Souvlaki, acclaimed Burmese restaurant The Bodhi Tree, the new-ish Cassel & Son's Brewery and Brew Bar and well-established local favourite Burgers & Beers.

Dimitri's Greek Food, Re:START mall

Dimitri's is set up in a food truck in Cashel Street's extremely well done Re:START mall.  A conglomerate of brightly-painted upcycled shipping containers, they are occupied with various retailers while a central sound stage provides live music. I was content soaking in the atmosphere as I waited, not long, for my lamb souvlaki and again as I tried to devour it as gracefully as possible. If you know what a turkish kebab is like, these are definitely messier (a fork is required) however ten times tastier. The generous pieces of lamb are so juicy and tender, and spiced just so that the accompanying tzatziki continuously provides a balance, and the fresh tomato and lettuce a lightness.

Regular lamb souvlaki goodness 

The Bodhi Tree (399 Ilam Road, Bryndwr), on the other hand, is best enjoyed in company. The renowned 'only Burmese restaurant in the country' serves up small dishes to share, which is lucky for me because they was so much on the menu I wanted to try. Without sounding pretentious, the famous tea leaf salad was a revelation. Beautiful light textures, with crunch, yet a rich flavour which reminded us of pesto (a good thing in my mind).  It was unlike anything I've eaten before. The shredded chicken salad (with salad greens, and a lemon, shallot, shallot oil, chilli and coriander dressing) and grilled eggplant (dressed in similar, minus the lemon) were the other standouts for me. I'll definitely be back there for the seafood dishes and more salads, eventually. Either that, or we'll just have to try make it to Burma/Myanmar.