Food from a caravan or a container is no longer reserved for A&P Shows and festivals. You can dine Gypsy-style, all over Christchurch.
We were hunting out good places for lunch and found some real gems. Between Bealey Ave and Re:Start, you can chow down on anything from a fresh salad to a serious sausage.
The Thai Container has been running since July last year, and was originally Isarn Thai (inside the High To Hereford Foodcourt). What surprised me the most about this place was that you can't sit in the container. It's instead where the magic happens, or, in this case, where the soups and curries join the rice and noodles, thanks to some culinary magic. Instead, you order at the caravan or, if you are very clever, call ahead on their mobile number, or text through your order so you don't get stuck waiting in winter's line of fire.
The new kid on the block is Rock 'n' Espresso. It's still on the hit list, tempting me with its coffee and cake menu. When the sun is shining, I'll check it out.
Across the road, Pure Espresso is definitely worth a try - with a bonus being the cosy container for diners and drinkers about to land (July 7). The salads, wraps, muffins and more, are made in a Sydenham kitchen by a whole-food chef. Owner Di McCauley says the recipes are nutritious (she is a clinical nutritionist after all) and the Pure food is also available at farmers' markets, catering and more. Free from preservatives, the food is fresh and natural, and tasty to boot.
Head west and the corner of Bealey Ave and Papanui Rd is certainly offering a different sight from years gone by. I remember hearing about a uni student who once passed furniture out the window of the old Carlton, and my husband had his 21st downstairs in its basement. Today, the site is where mobile venue, The Nation, sits - or rolls if the earth is shaking - and is The Carlton Country Club (CCC). It offers shelter from the cold - a lot more than its neighbour across the way - Smash Palace. The rebuild of something more substantial is planned to start in November, and must surely include the return of Burger King.
The coolest thing we discovered recently, though, was Coq Au Van, near the CCC's Papanui Rd outdoor area. You can order plates of rotisserie chicken or pork belly, with French fries and salad and then head back in to the bar to await your meal beside the heater. Chef owner Christian Barbier is doing a great job with his tasty platters and there are sandwiches and salads begging to be tried one day soon.
Back in the CBD, Re:Start is covering its bases with Japanese, Greek, German and good ol' Kiwi fare all on offer. Dose's sushi is always good, and it has a bar on Tuam St with some stunning looking bar snacks, too. You can't go past a souvlaki from Dimitri's Greek Food - which won our hearts with its visits to Portacom City (our old haunt on Logistics Drive). The newest addition, though, is Base Woodfired Pizza. We devoured a few of the thin-based pizzas, cooked while you wait, and decided these guys are going about pizza the right way. If only there was a nice fire nearby, or even a heater or a roof would do.
I guess the beauty of these places if that they are serving quick, tasty food on the hop. It's a concept that worked beautifully during summer, but now, with winter here, these places without rooms are not as enticing. It's fantastic to see these Christchurch businesses still being able to serve us mighty nice fare though, so I'm glad to have discovered more about our mobile moguls.