CARRIE STEELE LOOKS IN VAIN FOR VEGAN FOOD IN AKAROA, BUT FINDS EXACTLY WHAT SHE’S LOOKING FOR IN LYTTELTON.
VEGETARIAN CAFES EXIST in the least expected places. What better reason then to take the pleasant drive from Christchurch to Lyttelton to try out this interesting little café with an extensive vegetarian menu and plenty of vegan options? We arrived bang on lunchtime, and as we were parking the car noticed a van pull up outside and half a dozen burly men pile out, heading in the same direction as us. A hasty judgement would have been to presume they were heading for the local burger joint but you’ve guessed it – the Shroom Room obviously garners wider appeal in Lyttelton than one might have thought.
Faced with a big blackboard menu at the counter, hubby and I made fairly hasty choices for fear of holding up other patrons. As is often the case, I would have liked the chance to sit down with a menu and have more time to consider, but all the same we both ended up with a delicious lunch.
Hubby went for the Bless Up Breakfast, a vegan take on a big English breakfast, with chunky fried potatoes, smoky home-made baked beans, grilled tomatoes, mushrooms, salsa and avocado with toast – gluten free available. I chose from the cabinet a chunk of ‘pie’ comprising of smoky beans topped with creamy mashed pumpkin – a nice vegetarian take on the old classic Shepherd’s Pie. The side salad was tasty and imaginative, with chunks of orange and walnuts, and a small bowl of tomato salsa.
There was a long and interesting menu of smoothies on offer, as well as a wide range of the usual teas and coffees, and cold drinks. Our green tea came in a silver teapot with a couple of retro cups and saucers, which seemed perfectly suited to this intriguing little establishment.
Our lunch was around $40 for two, and it was very pleasant sitting outside under an umbrella beside Albion Square, Lyttelton’s new public space, with views to the harbour between the buildings. The square is located where the former Albion Hotel stood, which was demolished after the earthquakes due to irreparable damage.
The Shroom Room is an eclectic space. In all honesty, it is a shed made good, with an odd assortment of furniture and doors opening off London Street and the adjacent square. The service was good, the food hit the spot and the casual surroundings were refreshing. I only wish we could have found some place similar in Akaroa the day before, where instead we had to resort to purchasing a packet of rice crackers and a pot of hummus from the Four Square because we just couldn’t find a single vegan-friendly establishment in town.
So, next time you’re planning your Canterbury holiday itinerary and looking for vegetarian/vegan cafes, definitely put the Shroom Room on your ‘to do’ list. CARRIE STEELE
- The Shroom Room, 48 London Street, Lyttelton.