The best cafes in Christchurch

16:18, Dec 30 2013
Best vibes - Black Betty
Best Breakfast - Cornershop Bistro, Sumner
Best Coffee - Lumes, Fitzgerald Ave
Best newcomer - Shop 8, New Regent St. Liz Phelan owner of Shop 8.
Best all-rounder - Joe's Garage, Sumner

Too often we focus on the worst. When it comes to coffee and food, the opportunities for criticism are plenty.

Terrible service, bad coffee or over-cooked eggs are all mentioned to friends, bemoaned on social media and remembered for years to come.

The reality is, excellent cafes are rare - excellent coffee, more so.

Best all-rounder: Joe's Garage, Sumner, 19 Marriner St

Joe's has picked a specialty and sticks to it. The American-style grill cafe shuns poached eggs and puts pretty much everything into bread rolls.

Coffee is quick and well-executed, and the staff friendly without being overbearing.


On the street front, lycra-clad cyclists sit on the front porch and sip their lattes. Very few venture inside, meaning the rest of the brunching clientele is relatively safe from any unexpected exposures.

And the eggs are perfect every time.

Best newcomer: Shop 8, New Regent St

Owner Liz Phelan has worked hard to get her fledgling cafe off the ground and the effort shows. While service can at times be a bit distracted, this can be forgiven in a one-woman operation.

Shop 8 is compact and most customers perch around one central table, with more seating outside. The toasted sandwiches are particularly satisfying and the cafe has a regular following of construction workers keen on the sausage rolls.

Best coffee: Lumes, cnr Fitzgerald Ave and Lichfield St

Lumes wasn't around long before it was struck down in the earthquakes. Its new spot on Fitzgerald is industrial-chic meets comfort food. Bacon butties aside, the coffee is pretty near perfect every time.

The baristas at Lumes make their coffees with pride and the bright blue cups are a nice touch. Lumes uses Supreme coffee beans and a guest roast.

Best breakfast: Cornershop Bistro, 32 Nayland St, Sumner

The best breakfast I have had this year was the French toast at Cornershop. Most cafes go for the standard - bacon, banana and maple syrup. Cornershop sets the bar higher.

Brioche French toast is caramelised and crispy and served with an unconventional side of buttered apples and cinnamon cream. Paired with a flat white and a newspaper, this is the ultimate morning indulgence.

Best vibes: Black Betty, 165 Madras St

This old faithful still has the best decor in Christchurch. Tables made from recycled doors pair well with shiny white subway tiles and all the coffee-making gizmos.

Black Betty is undergoing refurbishment and strengthening at the moment, but the new Betty will no doubt be even better. In the meantime, Betty is operating a small outlet in its car park to make ends meet. Keep this good thing going and show your support.

The Press