Breakfast is more fun when it's a smoothie, smothered with delicious toppings and served in a bowl. We went searching for Christchurch's best.
Park Ranger, 114 Riccarton Rd, Riccarton
Want a bit of texture in your breakfast bowl? Park Ranger's acai bowl has it in spades. Served in a big, beautiful dish, it features a hefty helping of house-made muesli, which brings a good crunch to every bite.
There are also heaps of other toppings, including fresh kiwifruit and banana, coconut chips, freeze-dried strawberries and goji berries, and the lovely presentation is hard to fault.
The acai smoothie is thick and tasty, without being too sweet. It's also icy cold, so let that be a warning to those with sensitive teeth. Delicious and filling, we reckon it's worth every penny ($15.50).
The Monday Room, 161 High St, central Christchurch
The Monday Room knows a thing or two about food styling, and its acai breakfast bowl is no exception. Served in a shallow black bowl and topped with fresh kiwifruit, berries, nectarine slices, freeze-dried raspberry, a medley of seeds and delicate fresh flowers, this breakfast was almost too pretty to eat.
The strong berry flavour with a hint of banana was delicious, and the consistency of the smoothie was just right to eat with a spoon. This was a good light meal, for $14.
Soul Full Superfoods, 91 Hereford St, central Christchurch
"Ah sci ee" owner Katie Robinson correctly pronounces it. Her acai bowl comes in a plastic punnet and costs $12.50. Eat it at a wooden table nearby, or pop on a lid and it's a takeaway.
The container and the food caravan from which it comes might be humble, but the contents are superb. It's a thick (spoon only) icy acai coconut milk smoothie loaded up with goodies such as banana, passionfruit pulp, pumpkin seeds, coconut, kiwifruit and chia seeds. A big tick for leaving the kiwifruit skin on.
It's filling, engaging with all those bits to chew, not too sweet and mostly organic.
Whole Cafe, 100 Bealey Ave, central Christchurch
Healthy, delicious food on the run is Whole Cafe's specialty and that goes for its smoothie bowl, too. Served in a takeaway container, the dark purple smoothie is made with blueberries, banana and orange, an unexpected combination that sings in the mouth.
It's topped with a decent dollop of yoghurt (dairy-free coconut yoghurt is available) and house-made almond, cacao muesli, which is gluten-free and vegan. The muesli is the star of the show here.
Opening the lid, a chocolate aroma hit the senses, thanks to the cacao powder, giving the illusion this light meal is an indulgent treat. Stir in the goodies on top to thicken the runny smoothie. It is good value at $12.50, which includes additional organic acai for an extra boost.
Brigittes Espresso Bar, 209 Papanui Rd, Merivale
While this breakfast bowl sounded promising – an acai berry smoothie, topped with coconut, toasted seeds, strawberries and muesli – the reality fell short. Essentially, this was just a smoothie, with a tiny bowl of defrosted strawberries and two small wedges of muesli slice on the side.
While we were given a spoon, the very runny consistency meant it would have been easier to drink with a straw. At $15.50, we felt this was overly expensive for what we got.
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