Shoppin’ in the summertime: SHOPWATCH special food n’beverage edition

Shoppin’ in the summertime: SHOPWATCH special food n’beverage edition
With Christmas and New Year excess abandoned and a healthy, dry January stretching ahead – oh, who are we kidding? Whether you’re planning a virtuous fruity detox or still polishing off the last of the cake and biscuits with no end in sight, you’ve still got to eat and drink, right? Check out a few of the goodies around town right now that are sure to make summer drinking and dining that little bit more fun.
Mmmm, ginny.

Sours are slowly infiltrating the beer mainstream, and there’s not much more refreshingly, er, sour on a summer’s day than one of these. If you’re not used to them, they take some lateral thinking. Less beer, more sauvignon blanc, but without that grapey, winey quality one would naturally expect from wine. Tuatara’s special release GnT Citrus Summer Sour is an accessible starting point; cloudy and quaffable, with echoes of its spirituous namesake, but nowhere near as boozy. Trust me: sours are great.

Heading up a mountain but unwilling to face life without cocktails? Has vacuum flask inventor Stanley got the product for  you! The Stanley Adventure Happy Hour System – available at good old Ballys  – comprises a sturdy cocktail shaker, jigger, citrus reamer and two steel rocks glasses, meaning you can toast your triumphs in style, provided you leave enough space in your backpack for the scads of booze you’ll require to build your drinks with. The cups are doublewalled, so I guess theoretically you could use them for hot drinks as well.

Ballantynes also stocks ruggedly styled Stanley hip flasks – for emergencies, naturally -and rather cool steel shot glasses in a case that you can clip to your pack with a carabiner. As to how sensible it is to get cracking into the shots in the wilderness, I cannot possibly say, but these are certainly good looking sets.


For the tramper who has everything, and possibly also a drinking problem.

Refreshed and ready for use at last, Carlton Courts is gearing up to house several new hospitality spots. Sun Dog Diner’s appealing logo and promise of “hoity toity comfort food” caught my eye in particular: it’s run by the owners of Mamacita’s Mexican food truck and looks set to be worth checking out. Like a lot of new businesses, it  has a gorgeous website without much actual information on it yet, so for updates, visit the Sun Dog Facebook page. Plans are to open later this month.

Also refreshed in that area is Kanniga Thai. now known as Mama Ree Thai Street Food. I’m yet to try it since it changed names, bur new customers are raving about it on TripAdvisor, and its new signage is certainly cute. Street food seems to be the hot thing in Christchurch at present, which is why I also urge you to visit Delhi Belly in Victoria St, which is worth it for the starters alone – and not pricey, either. Like the decor, the food’s a little different to what we’re generally used to in Indian restaurants, but it’s very worth expanding your horizons.

It’s become almost obligatory for cafes to serve a pile of ingredients so you can put your own sandwich together – deconstructionism is so mainstream now – and sometimes it is a bit annoying. But Vespa, beside Strange’s Lane, is getting it right when it comes to serving its (delicious) affogato. If there’s one thing you do want to control, it’s the moment the hot espresso hits the cold icecream.

Coffee poured and ready to scoff.

Speaking of affogato, you can make it with gelato too. Jed and co at  Rollickin do. You can enjoy their superior gelati, coffees and  other dessert delights late into the evenings now at their cute cafe in the former Auricle space on New Regent St. What better excuse?

Stay tuned!

Shopwatch is an occasional shopping column focused on the central city of Christchurch, New Zealand. All reviews are independent and unsolicited. Any WordPress advertising is unrelated to content.

I Shopped With A Zombie: the return of SHOPWATCH

I Shopped With A Zombie: the return of SHOPWATCH
Legendary (snigger) Christchurch shopping column SHOPWATCH is back from the dead and gone all internetty for the new millennium, a full decade after everyone else. Didja miss me?

About six years ago I wrote what was to be my last shopping column for Presto magazine. It never went to print, due to the massive earthquake of February 22 2011, which put paid to the publication’s usual source of advertising – Christchurch’s small CBD retailers. Presto, like town, was dust, and Shopwatch had nowhere to go.

I considered taking it online, but then  Neat Places  appeared, doing such a good job of profiling Christchurch’s quirker retailers that I couldn’t really see the point. By then, too, it had become clear that writing for publication outside my place of employment was frowned upon. 

Now I think it’s time to bring it back. Still independent and unrepentantly underperforming on SEO, here’s Shopwatch!

Beer-loving friends of the internet! Do you love a tasty, hoppy brew, but fear all the horrid headaches you’re bound to wake up with after all the obligatory annual get-togethers with old buddies for backyard cricket and beers this season? Then let me recommend Garage Project’s Fugazi. Flavoursome and delicious, but clocking in at a mere 2 per cent alcohol, it’s excellent for the long session. It’s on tap at Pomeroy’s and may still be available to buy in a can at  The Beer Library  in Sydenham. Or you could order online.

Smoke with your beer? There’s not much nicer than a apple-scented shisha of a summer evening, the Middle East’s finest invention since hummus. However, if you’re a fan of the hubbly  bubbly but not wild about the attendant mess and fuss, why not get it delivered direct to your home or party by Shisha 2 Go? Nicotine and nicotine-free options are available by the hour, with all the setup and cleanup carried out by staff onsite. For restaurant shisha you can’t do better than Boteco  in Kilmore St – the food is variable but the dancer’s great and a shisha in the garden there is just lovely.

Surreptitious cellphone snaps do not do these Plush garments justice.

Fans of Carolyn Barker’s late-lamented Plush – rejoice! The last of Carolyn’s stock – including her covetable coats – is on sale at Paua of the Pacific in Re:Start, a newish shop with an abundance of wearables, alongside its core product of paua prints. It also stocks the most delicious glitter jelly shoes seen since I* brought my silver pair home from London in 1995. They are a perfect frivolous match for Hapa’s frivolous fairy dust necklaces.

Glittering prizes for your feet at Paua of the Pacific.


Hapa remains a favourite, although The General Store often nips at its heels for giftware and random stuff for your house. When you’re looking for gifts for the world’s coolest infants, though, Hapa is hard to beat. Recently spotted gems include onesies with Oma Rapiti on them, snuggly little Ewoks complete with hooded cloaks, and adorable felt tiger booties.

I said ADORABLE! Even out of focus, am I right?


Meanwhile, Cosmic Corner has pulled out a few more fashion stops with the addition of some Hell Bunny wear for the pin-up crowd, and reborn 90s “global traveller” threads for everyone else. With the 90s being largely a reworked 70s, it’s therefore somehow appropriate that Cosmic is also a spot where you can still buy Kama Indian Love Oil, to give you that authentic hippy miasma. Rather than share my scuzzy cellphone snaps, I’ll  let Moses and pal alert you to Cosmic’s general fashion coolness in this slick promo:

Also spied and worth pursuing:

  • Anodised aluminium pendant lights with a 70s vibe, LED clip lights for displaying photos and chalkboard tape at South City ‘s Just Incredible
  • Brightly coloured fish-shaped bags, fresh casual summer frocks in every shade, and utilitarian but always useful Thai fisherman’s pants in camel, at a South City stall
  • Moana Rd gift/decor products at Paper Plus, including an LED string light nestled in a lightbulb inside a mason jar, which surely takes Airspace styling to new heights
  • Plain black suede-look ballet-style slip-ons with black and white heart lining at the Warehouse, which will allow you to run around pretending to be Audrey Hepburn in Funny Face on a serious budget
  • Victoria St’s new 24-hour convenience store, Symrose’s Superfresh, which claims to contain a “Cafetaria”. This obvious bit of ESL in the heart of the fancy  rebuild makes me happy, because it’s nice to see something so clearly not corporate in the city alongside the big money options.

In the last, never published, Shopwatch column for Presto, I made reference to post-quake chic, unaware that we were about to get a belting that would knock our charming “dinner party under the table” stories into a chasm. It seems only fitting, therefore, that I dutifully point out the remnants of this fad spied at Merivale’s Corso di Fiore: mismatched dinnerware that suggests two differently-sized items have been glued together. It’s a love-it or hate-it product. There are glasses, too.


Stay tuned for more Shopwatch whenever the mood takes me, probably shorter and more link/pic heavy as ye olde print shopping column creaks its way into the 21st century!

Till next time, some time….

Shopwatch is not supported by advertising and all products and stores mentioned here are included because I like them, think other people will like them, or occasionally find them hilarious. From time to time advertisements appear below this content: this is supplied by WordPress and is not related to Shopwatch in any way.

*I’ve given up calling  myself Shopwatch. You know who I am, right?