CARRIE STEELE revisits a favourite culinary escape in the Garden City.
I first discovered this gem of a cafe back in 2013, and mentioned it in a piece that year, along with the Lotus Heart Vegetarian Restaurant. Both have become firm favourites over the past few years, and it was a delight to be able to visit the Herb Centre café again last week on a beautiful Christchurch day.
We arrived around midday and surprisingly, it wasn’t busy. Perhaps we just managed to jump in before the weekday lunch crowd. We chose to sit outside under the trees in the sheltered garden out back, and it was a glorious spot to enjoy our little feast. If it’s a sunny day, I highly recommend the garden, a peaceful retreat that really enhances the experience. Obviously if it’s cold and wet, it’s best go for the cosy seating inside.
With repeat visits we now we have ‘favourites’ at this cafe, and this time I went for the potato and kumara rosti, while hubby chose the Indian spiced lentil patty. It is a rare and precious experience to look into a cabinet full of salad bowls and hear that ‘everything is vegan’. At least last Friday, that was the case at the Herb Centre Café.
Our plates arrived and we couldn’t wait to get started, savouring each bite from the variety of brightly coloured little piles of salad that accompanied the hearty rosti and patty. If I was to be super picky, the rosti was a little oily on this occasion, but that would be my only criticism. Previously I haven’t found that to be the case.
The ginger tonic is as good as ever and my dandechino with cashew milk was the highlight of this recent visit. I’ve had this lovely healthy beverage here before, but I’m so pleased that I asked about non-dairy milk choices this time just for a change, and was offered several options. Served like a black coffee, this is a lovely hot drink, but I have to admit that the addition of a little cashew milk this time raised it to a new level of deliciousness.
This is a great café, within walking distance from the centre of the CBD, or with plenty of off-street parking close by. I love it, bet you will too.
* The Herb Centre Café, 223 Kilmore Street, Christchurch Central.