There is of course more to a suburb than its main road (usually). These are some of my favourite places that aren't on Molesworth Street.
Set in an old timber frame building, the Thistle caters for many businessmen on their lunch break, for meetings and for after work drinks. They even have bookable meeting rooms upstairs. Shown here is a starter - the scallops with black pudding over smoked mash with pinot jus. The duck liver parfait with toasted bread is particularly delicious as well.
The lunch set menu (Formule Complète) is fantastic value for money at $35, and who doesn't love a wine with lunch? Out of the three times I've been here, I've ordered the salade de chevre chaud (goat's cheese salad with bacon, pear and walnuts) twice, as it is too good to pass up.
The Toulouse sausages are also excellent, and I hear that the confit duck wings also are. The chocolate mousse for dessert is very rich and I have had it every single time I've been. (I have tasted the other desserts but there's nothing quite like a great chocolate mousse with slivers of roasted almond on top.)
A charming little Italian restaurant tucked away on Mulgrave Street, Mari Luca Ristoro serves traditional fare at reasonable prices (especially if you get the set menu). The first time we went, I got the beef ravioli with sage and burnt butter sauce. The beef was super tender and the sauce just right. Above you can see the squab with roast potatoes, which was a beautifully cooked dish. As a starter, they offer a bruschetta of the day of which I have had good and mediocre versions.
Old Saint Paul's
The main Bordeaux on Thorndon Quay has a huge range of desserts and pastries, including some of the best mille feuille in New Zealand (or so I've been told - I'm not much of a fan of custardy desserts myself). The opera cake would be my recommendation. You can also buy whole cakes for special occasions, most of them costing around the $50 mark. Bordeaux also has smaller offshoots such as the Bordeaux Express on Featherston Street.
I always sit upstairs as it's a bit quieter. It's lovely to get breakfast here, whether it be crepes or a pastry with coffee, but be warned: the hot beverages can be hit or miss.
Another French cafe, this one is located in the Woolstore building. The experience was nice but nothing really jumped out to me as being special. A decent yet average cafe, which I will probably not return to as there are much better options for French fare.
Yannick (looking beardier than usual) humours me while I take pictures of the food. When I don't forget to whip out the iPad once food comes (and I often do), I have to tell him to wait. It can sometimes be a huge effort to resist just for those few seconds, especially when the food smells waft up at you whispering eat me.