Best Brunch Spots in Christchurch

  • The Store @ Tai Tapu
  • Ilex Cafe
  • Raspberry Cafe
  • French toast from Hello Sunday
  • Town Tonic Cafe
  • white house black, halswell
  • C1 Espresso
  • Cosy Cafe
  • Shroom Room Lyttelton

One of the most often asked questions we get from our guests at the Park are where we recommend they should eat - and especially, where can they go for a great brunch in Christchurch.

Christchurch has been known for its great cafes for years, and post-quake there are plenty of new ones joining the old favourites. So this blog post is designed to give some recommendations of old and new favourites. We've even included several options for vegans, vegetarians and paleo diet fans.

For this post, we didn't just include our personal favourites, we also asked friends and online connections to make their personal recommendations.

If you are looking for the brunch standards of full breakfast, french toast, pancakes or eggs bene - virtually all of the cafes below deliver an excellent result all round.

If you have something a little different in mind, check out Hello Sunday for more variations on the theme and Pure Cafe, Lotus Heart or the Shroom Room  if you want paleo, vegan or vegetarian options.

Given that most of the eateries listed below are popular, we recommend that you make a booking if possible. Post-quakes, Christchurch changed from somewhere you could walk in the door at most places and get a seat, to one where popular spots were regularly booked out - and we would hate you to be disappointed. (Having said that, sometimes you can be surprised and a popular spot might be having a quiet day for a change.)

North Christchurch

Raeward Fresh Cafe, 800 Harewood Road

If you are looking to grab brunch or lunch on the way in or out of the city (via the airport or SH1), the Raeward Cafe is perfectly located and has its own supermarket next door in case you want to combine your brunch with the weekly fruit and vege shop. The menu caters for people with gluten or dairy allergies, as well as including the usual favourites like eggs bene and a filling farmer's breakfast. Less usual options include a very luxurious sounding pancake stack with spiced orange, blueberries and candied walnuts. The crunchy quinoa granola, dukkah eggs and haloumi rosti all add interesting variations from the norm. This cafe has plenty of raving fans, so booking a table is a good idea. Opening hours are Monday - Friday 7:00am - 4.00pm and weekends 8:00am - 4.00pm. 

Cosy Cafe, Cavendish Park

Located at 141 Cavendish Road (near Northwood), Cosy Cafe is the go-to place for workers during the week and equally popular in the weekend for brunch diners from Redwood, Northwood and the northern suburbs. Food quality is consistently good and staff make an effort to ensure the cafe lives up to its name. Opening hours 7 days are 7.00am - 4pm with an all day breakfast and lunch menu including all the usual favourites, and a good range of cabinet food. Coffee is by Switch, which virtually guarantees a good cup every time. Freshly made cheese scones are highly recommended.

Reality Bites Cafe, Bishopdale

Located at 245a Sawyers Arms Road, Reality Bites Cafe offers a classic breakfast menu including a big breakfast, eggs benedict with salmon or bacon, the very popular french toast and pancakes and even soup or bagels for those who prefer. It also has a functions room that's available for meetings and events. Opening hours are Monday to Friday 7.30am-2pm and weekends 8am-2pm. 

Merivale/St Albans

Brigittes, Aikmans Road

Brigittes is a longstanding Merivale favourite and still turns out consistently great food, at a good price and with impeccable service. Don't be put off if it looks a little crowded from the street view - there are more dining areas in the conservatory and across the courtyard. The team here specialise in delivering breakfast classics extremely well, so you can always be confident of a wonderful start to your relaxing day. They are open from 8am every day except Sunday, when the staff get to sleep an hour later, opening at 9am. They do add a 15% surcharge on public holidays though, so keep that in mind.

Ris'tretto, Barbadoes Street

One of the few cafes in the ever sprawling suburb of St Albans, Ristretto is known for the quality of its organic, Fair Trade coffee, interesting food and a child friendly corner where you can pop the kids while you relax. They make children's fluffies for free. Making it even more family friendly is its location over the road from St Albans Park which features a flying fox, children's playground and plenty of wide open spaces for letting off steam, and the fact that it is on a bus route. The deli style menu has a European influence thanks to owner Madeleine de Jong. The cabinet food selection includes lasagne, quiche, baked potatoes and huge savoury rolls. Other speciality items include the ever popular vegetarian pies and plaits, filled bagels, croissants, french sticks, muffins and scones.

Victoria Street/Carlton Corner

Strawberry Fare, 19 Bealey Ave

Formerly located in Peterborough Street, Strawberry Fare started out life mainly as a dessert restaurant - somewhere to pop into before or after an evening at the movies or a show. These days, SF still has an impressive menu of sweet and delicious goodies, but is also making a name with the brunch, lunch and dinner crowd. Now situated near Carlton Corner, on the Carlton Motel site, the restaurant has upstairs and downstairs eating areas. Coffee is great and the eggs benedict come highly recommended. The breakfast and weekend brunch menus both include vegetarian and gluten free options, so there is something for everyone to choose from. The weekend brunch options include two salmon dishes and a fresh tasting pea risotto I can highly recommend for any time of the day. The big breakfast includes gluten free sausages, and the sweet corn and capsicum fritters are also highly recommended. Note that you need to approach the venue from the Hagley Park end of Bealey Ave - no u-turns at the corner, so best option if you are coming from the other end is to turn into Carlton Mill Road then do a three point turn at the first corner. There is limited parking on site. 

Procope

Back home in their restored weatherboard building, Procope was a very popular weekend and lunch cafe before 2010. Post quake, the building was under repair and the owners opened a new Procope on the corner of Clyde and Fendalton Roads. In the last 12 months the original Victoria Street site has also re-opened and is rapidly gaining fans again. The breakfast menu runs till 2pm and includes a bacon and banana pancake stack; coconut bread with lime marmalade and cream cheese; eggs bene three different ways; french toast with black doris plums and creamy porridge with a cinnamon crumble. The food is outstanding, the service great and all the coffee is Hummingbird, whch you can also buy freshly ground on the premises. A recent addition in time for summer is the outdoor courtyard at the back of the cafe, providing the perfect spot to relax in the sunshine.

Vic's Cafe

Vic's is one of the few city establishments to have kept operating in the same location virtually uninterrupted since 2010 and has a loyal clientele, bolstered by a horde of construction workers thanks to the multiple nearby building projects on Victoria Street. As many of the buildings reach completion, the balance will be shifting from hi-vis vest and workboots to little black dresses and business suits as the lawyers and merchant bankers move into their new premises. Vic's has its own bakery supplying a lot of the cafes around town, so one of the features on the menu is the quality breads and bagels (which you can also buy to take home). This cafe has also had a reputation for selling organic produce where possible, so the quality of food is reliably good and largely fresh, organic and locally sourced. The breakfast/brunch menu includes Vic's Nutty Porridge, eggs three different ways (all served on Vic's sourdough bread with hollandaise, tomatores and mushrooms), bacon and eggs on your choice of toast, french toast and sweet pancakes. The menu also includes several smoothie options and a range of fresh juices. 

Ilex Cafe, Botanic Gardens

If you like to reward yourself after a pleasant stroll with brunch or coffee and cake, Ilex Cafe is a great spot to stop and unwind. Surrounded by the beautiful greenery of our Botanic Gardens and roofed with a delicate pattern of oak leaves, Ilex really is unlike anywhere else in the Garden City.

And the food is good too! Food includes a range from the cabinet, along with a choice of small plates, mains and desserts (pictured above is the banana split with salted caramel and passionfruit meringes). Among the more brunchy options on the menu are poached free range eggs with potato hash roast local mushrooms, smokey bacon, cherry tomatoes,ciabatta, watercress and hollandaise; poached free range eggs with cherry tomatoes, avocado, olive, ricotta and soft herbs on toasted olive ciabatta, and lemon ricotta pancakes with berries, mascarpone, syrup and dehydrated raspberries. The quality is consistently excellent and the whole experience is one that bears repeating.

If the weather is fine, there's plenty of outdoor seating which means it is ideal if you have children with you who want to stretch their legs while waiting for food to arrive. Ilex is open from 8.30am - 5pm, seven days a week.

Addington/Lincoln Road

Portershed, 322 Lincoln Road (NEW!)

The newest addition to the eating options down Lincoln Road is vegan cafe Portershed, which is already attracting plenty of positive reviews from vegans, vegetarians and even carnivores! Open Monday to Saturday from 7am - 5pm (or a little later if people are hanging out), this cafe features a plant based menu and a wall of books to read over your coffee or brunch. The vibe is very retro, with the freshly revived building providing a warm, lived in feel. Lots of baked goodies, coffees made with your choice of coconut, almond or macadamia milks, plus you can take a picnic blanket outside and enjoy your meal in the sunshine.  

Addington Coffee Co-op, Lincoln Road

Addington Coffee Co-op is a longstanding favourite spot with locals and visitors alike. The kind of cafe that features exposed brick walls, a pushbike hanging from the  timber beams, smoothies delivered in authentic 600ml milk bottles and a unique collection of souvenir teaspoons, Addington Coffee is predictably buzzing with happy customers at pretty much any time of the day. It is not possible to make a booking though, so be prepared for a bit of a wait (or have a back-up option) if you are planning to brunch at the most popular 10am - 11.30am time slot. The coffee is their own Jailbreaker Coffee brew, eggs are free range from their property in Little River, bacon is ethically farmed and there is a trade aid style shop in the corner if you want to browse while you wait for your meal. The menu has all the brunch classics, but the brioche french toast is a personal favourite. 

Town Tonic, Lincoln Road

Open from 7.30am daily for breakfast, Town Tonic is one of the newer eating establishments in Christchurch, located on the ground floor of one of Addington's new office blocks. This is a stylish eatery that has more of a Melbourne than Christchurch vibe, and happens to be conveniently close to the Court Theatre for pre or post-show food and drinks. Owned by the food entrepreneurs behind Passenger and Co (Russley Road) and Riccarton House Bistro, the menu's focus is on fresh, flavourful and local, including "free range eggs from Denise, bacon from Jackie and Spencer, greens from Logan and chorizo from Mariano". Standout brunch options are the garlic and herb mushrooms on brioche with poached eggs and parmigiano; brioche french toast with lemon curd mascarpone; and the smashed avo on toast with herbs and tomato. For the health conscious, fresh made organic juices are a popular option, and the counter always carries a great selection of baked goods.

Luciano Espresso Bar, 78 Moorhouse Ave

Luciano's has been in the city for a number of years, originally located inside the Hunter Furniture store in Moorhouse Avenue, pre-quake. Temporarily relocated to Brougham Street, this popular cafe is now back in a new building in Moorhouse Ave, next door to Lighting Direct. Listed as a firm favourite by a number of people in our informal survey, Luciano's is loved for its "great food and excellent coffee. Convenient en route location with easy parking." And more compliments: "ALL their food is awesome, friendly staff, good atmosphere and great coffee (award winning barista!)."

Dose Diner, Blenheim Road

One of two Dose locations (the other is located on the edge of the CBD in Tuam Street), the Blenheim Road diner is well located if you're heading South out of the city, or want somewhere to eat before embarking on a shopping expedition at Westfield Riccarton. Dose Diner features an industrial style interior with shared seating areas for groups. Our reviewers highly recommend the french toast. Other points of difference on the menu include classic porridge with fruit, polenta hot cakes and a vegetarian big brekky featuring portobello mushrooms, eggs, roasted tomatoes and spinach. 

Pure Cafe, 31 Birmingham Drive

If the nutritional nature of what you eat is important to you and you still want to enjoy a brunch treat, check out Pure Cafe Co in Birmingham Drive. The same operators also run a food truck on Bealey Ave, but the cafe delivers breakfast that makes you feel virtuous and healthy and tastes great at the same time. The focus is on locally sourced, organic and seasonal produce wherever possible (apart from the coffee perhaps), and options include grain free apple and cinnamon waffles; mancakes; energy breakfast bowl featuring dried fruit, activated nuts and sees, coconut yogurt and vanilla cashew cream, and the big warrior breakfast which also comes as a paleo option if you wish. 

Mrs Hucks, Show Place (off Whiteleigh Ave)

As far as we know, Mrs Hucks is the only place in Christchurch that proudly lists "Morning Wood" as a breakfast menu item. Seriously. It comprises HUGly juice, wholegrain toast, apple, yoghurt and preserves. Other items also have a bit of a twist, including The King: french toast, bacon, peanut butter, banana and maple syrup. You can also have steak, eggs and chips, or poached egg with parmesan on mushrooms. The proprietor behind this little gem is Jonny Schwass, who also owns Harlequin Public House and is well known for his innovative approach to the restaurant business. UPDATE: It appears Mrs Hucks is not opening on weekends, so it might pay to give them a call before dropping past with breakfast expectations.

Sydenham

Hello Sunday, 6 Elgin Street

One of the city's newer establishments, Hello Sunday is located in a quaint former Post Office building next to a refurbished church that now houses the Pascha Centre. The indoor space is not large, but there is courtyard and covered seating out the back, which is especially good in summer months. Hello Sunday has gained rapidly in popularity since opening in 2014, so booking ahead is always a good idea. The food includes outstanding eggs benedict, beautiful brioche french toast, a great baked eggs with beans dish and sweet treats that include the popular Cakes by Anna. 

Underground Coffee @ The Colombo

Underground Coffee has several spots around town where you can grab reliably good coffee and delish food. If you are planning to shop at the Colombo, or go to the movies at Academy Gold (now located at The Colombo), starting off with brunch at Underground is never a bad idea. This combination of relaxed friendly service, coffee that keeps connoisseurs happy and interesting food helped win Underground at the Colombo the "best cafe" award run by The Press Zest pages in 2013. And the award was well deserved. 

CBD (and not so central city)

C1 Espresso, Tuam and High

A city establishment before the quakes, C1 is known for its quirky and creative interiors - in the old High Street cafe that included hanging lights from the Christchurch Town Hall, theatre seating and walls covered in a montage of posters and vintage magazine pages. The menu included a stack of variations on bagels, plus vegetarian and vegan goodness, and of course, great coffee, smoothies et al. As one of the first cafes to get back up and running in the central city, C1 now occupies the former Post Office building on the corner of High and Tuam Streets, neighbouring Alice in Videoland which is now a DVD store and boutique movie theatre. Upstairs in the same building is an art gallery space run by the Christchurch City Council while waiting for the main gallery to be re-opened.

The "new" cafe contains plenty of unique innovations including clear pneumatic tubes that deliver curly fries and sliders around the cafe, a bookcase/door that opens to go through to the toilets, a Singer sewing machine that dispenses still water and a classic dentist's fountain that dispenses sparkling water. This is a great place for brunch, particularly on a fine day when there are plenty of tables outside. (Note: if you see a bee or two, they will be from C1's hives on the roof, so make sure to escort them gently on their way.)

Inside is almost always busy on weekends, and can be quite noisy, so keep that in mind if you are looking for somewhere with a quiet corner to relax in. Comments from our reviewers: "love the atmosphere and the bagels and the coffee", "like the @c1espresso breakfast burritos". C1 is also popular for its vegan sliders, muffins and other options in the cabinet. 

Little High Eatery, between Tuam and St Asaph (parking off St Asaph St) NEW

Eight different foodie options for your brunch time delights - great coffees from A Mouse Called Bean then into burgers with loads of bacon, woodfired pizza, noodles, and so much more. Check out the update to our blog here for more info on the options.

Gentle Giant Cafe, 158 Ferry Road

Gentle Giant is a small but perfectly formed place to brunch, lunch or grab coffee and food any time of day. Situated just a little outside the CBD, parking is usually pretty easy to find - but more importantly, all the food on offer is fab! Choose from the extensive, freshly baked array of food in the cabinet, or pick your faves from the menu. We can highly recommend the brioche French toast, the waffles and the sticky pulled pork with avocado - any time of day! Check out their Facebook page for more info and pics of the delectable goodies instore.

Unknown Chapter Coffee, 254 St Asaph Street 

One of the newest additions to the Christchurch cafe scene is Unknown Chapter in St Asaph St, and it is already winning rave reviews for the eggs bene and more. Open from 6.00am till 7pm it is perfect for grabbing an early coffee or an afternoon coffee (when most of the other cafes close around 4.00pm). The breakfast/brunch menu is not huge but includes the classics plus a few with a bit of a twist, from a Vege option with avo, eggs, mushrooms, omatoes, fried potatoes and seeded toast, through to Avocado Bruschetta, Blue Cheese Polenta, Pulled Pork Flat Bread and Open Shredded Beef Souvlaki.

If you want something on the sweeter side, the brioche french toast or the Feijoa Bircher are good options. Eggs and bacon are free range, and the range of drinks also touches all the bases including the usual range of coffees, plus Chemex, Batch Brew filter and V60. For a long cool drink, pick a milkshake or a smoothie from the range of options.

Black Betty's, Madras Street

Just over the road from Christchurch Polytechnic, Black Betty's is owned by the Switch Espresso team and features a selection of single source coffees, and modern brewing techniques. Plus a bike hanging from the ceiling (seems to be the thing these days). Great range of food on display plus a menu of brunch dishes to really get your day off to a great start! As far as I know they are the only cafe in town serving French toast crumpets (really worth a try). They also make a mean bacon buttie, and if you are looking for a real comfort food treat, you can even get Betty's Soldier - two soft boiled eggs with fingers of toast. Betty's do the classic kiwi big breakfast, or you can get the Black Betty's Breakfast stack, which layers eggs, roast tomatoes, spinach and mushrooms on a potato cake - topped off with streaky free range bacon and pesto hollandaise.  

Lotus Heart, St Asaph Street

If you are a vegetarian, vegan, raw foodie or simply like fresh, healthy food, Lotus Heart is the perfect place to head for brunch. The menu has a strongly Indian influence and the atmosphere is created by meditative music, incense and the Indian garbed staff. This restaurant is independently owned and run by students of Sri Chinmoy and has a focus on healthy, conscious eating. The drinks menu alone is one of the most extensive in the city (all non-alcoholic) and our vegetarian friends agree that the Humming Burger and the Masala Dosa are two of the best dishes on the menu. 

Cafe Lumes, cnr Fitzgerald Ave and Lichfield

Hanging out for a generous breakfast waffle? Or a doorstop bacon buttie? Cafe Lumes is the place to drop into your GPS/google maps. These guys not only know how to make outstanding coffee (using a range of innovative techniques), they also understand great food and service. Recent menu specials include smokey chorizo baked beans on a whole grain slab, topped with a poached egg, and classic bubble and squeak. This place is not about being pretentious or hipster, it's all about serving up delicious, filling, fresh flavours - at great value for money.

Ground Floor Cafe, 47 Riccarton Road

If you have a craving for lambsfry and bacon to start your day off right, Ground Floor Cafe (GFC) is the only place in town we have found where that particular desire can be satisfied. Hidden behind a high wall that shelters a courtyard dining area, GFC offers a great range of slightly different brunch dishes. Owners Christine and Ian Watson were the former proprietors of Joe's Garage in the Christchurch CBD, so they know how to run a succesful eatery.

The Jamie Oliver inspired menu includes savoury french toast with ham off the bone, spanish onion, rocket and feta; the lambsfry and bacon in a red wine gravy with herbs, field mushrooms and focaccia; corn fritters with poached eggs, sweet chilli and moroccan tomatoes. Bircher muesli, porridge with black doris plums and the vegetarian grill are all guaranteed to keep the vegetarians in your family happy too. Colouring books and crayons for the kids is a nice touch to keep them occupied while meals are being prepared.

Drexels, Rotherham Street, Riccarton

There was an outcry when we left this one out, so here it is. Drexels is one of Christchurch's original breakfast restaurants, located for many years in the heart of the CBD and the only place you could get American style fluffy pancakes and bottomless coffee. These days they are based in Riccarton, just opposite Westfield, but still delivering a range of North American diner style food. Bookings are essential unless you enjoy waiting, and the vibe is always busy, fairly noisy and full of families or groups of friends. Menu options include waffles, fluffy pancakes, omelettes, eggs lots of different ways and hot toast with preserves to go with everything. Huevos Rancheros, Chicken Enchiladas and Breakfast Burritos add more of a Tex-Mex flavour. There is a child-size option for most of the classics, and Drexels has added gluten-free options too.

Park Ranger, cnr Riccarton Road and Rimu Street NEW

Located in what used to be a cycle shop, Park Ranger has really taken off with their range of fresh food, slightly hipster vibe and plenty of options for everyone from the "no special requirements at all" crowd, through to vegans, gluten free, paleo, low carb and more. Basically, this spot has something to keep everyone happy. Grab a seat indoors, or rug up and sit in the little outdoor area - a little chilly over winter, but a sweet spot to hide away as the weather warms up. Check out their brekky/brunch and drinks menu right here.

East Christchurch

Under the Red Verandah, 29 Tancred Street (cnr Hereford St)

UTRV is another Christchurch institution that has managed to stay on the same site post-quake despite the main cafe building having to be demolished. A smaller building was up and running very quickly and one of this cafe's most appealing features - the garden dining area, was back in operation very quickly too. Located in suburban Linwood, there is usually plenty of street parking nearby. The breakfast menu features plenty of goodies baked on the premises, including gluten free options and their own stoneground breads. All the usual brunch favourites are included with the addition of the brunch scramble: new potatoes, green beans, olives, red onions, chorizo & bacon pan seared & tossed through pesto, topped with a poached egg; oaty pancakes with berry compote and yoghurt or bacon, banana and maple syrup are another twist on a classic. The coffee is great, and they even have a few house made delicacies you can buy to take home. We recommend booking ahead or choosing a slightly off-peak time to dine and UTRV is predictably busy.

Switch Espresso, Carnaby Lane, New Brighton

Owned by the switched on crew from Black Betty's, Switch Espresso has built its rep on high quality caffeine - fueling customers from surfers to hippies to business commuters heading to the city, and everyone in between. Post-quake Switch have found themselves in a much expanded space, with a cabinet full of food options as well as the full repertoire of coffees and other beverage options. The brunch menu is available throuigh to 2.30 each day and includes all the traditional favourites, plus French Toast Crumpets, Brighton Soldiers (soft boiled eggs with toast solders and bacon twirls), Brighton's Bacon Buttie, and the Brighton Breakfast Stack, complete with potato cake, roasted tomatoes, mushrooms, sauteed spinach and poached egg. The sides include chorizo and black pudding for those who have a particular preference. Opening hours are Monday to Friday 8.00am - 4.30pm and Sat, Sun 9.00am - 4.00pm.

BearLion Foods

Regular favourites at the Riccarton Bush Farmers Market on Saturdays, BearLion Foods have now opened a cafe on Carnaby Lane (78 Brighton Mall) in New Brighton. Open Thursday to Saturday from 8:30am until 2:30pm, you will find a delicious selection of local, organic and preservative free options. The tastefully furnished cafe, takes you on a journey - you could be in the heart of a European city. With re-worked wooden furniture, well-chosen art work and bowls of fresh fruit and vegetables on display the place oozes good vibes and you could no doubt while away the hours. Not to be missed are the salads which you can eat in or takeaway, and if you visit on a Thursday, you can get yourself a delicious organic spelt flour loaf by Grizzly Bagel. The food is organic, gluten free and dairy free, so perfect for those with intolerances and those who are lovers of "real food".

Joe's Garage, Sumner

The Joe's Garage franchise started off in Queenstown with a slightly grungy, very utilitarian vibe designed to look like an old-style diner. The formula of simple but great food and excellent coffee, plus a relaxed, not pretentious decor has seen additional Joe's Garages open up, including several in Christchurch - Upper Riccarton, Sumner and the newest Joe's in Cranford Street (just over the road from the park). The menu, food, coffee and service is consistently great, plus there's a box of toys for the kids to play with. The Joe's Garage at Sumner is owned by Anton and Jess, and is the perfect spot to hang out if you want to make a bit more of a day of it - settle in for brunch then go for a wander on Sumner beach or over the hill to Taylor's Mistake beach, one of Christchurch's best spots in summer. Brunch menu highlights include the completely awesome fruit crumble (rhubarb, apple and plum), pikelets (highly recommend the lemon and sugar or the jam and cream versions), Gorgeous George (like an eggs bene but on a potato hash brown instead of a bagel or muffin) and any of the many variations to be had in warmed joe's roll. There is a small outdoor area streetside and another courtyard at the back, plus plenty of seating indoors. Service is smart and friendly (translation: they get the tricky things right).

Outliers

Thyme Cafe, Springs Road Prebbleton

If you fancy brunching somewhere outside the city limits, Thyme Cafe in Prebbleton is a good option to add to your list of options. Located in a refurbished villa and surrounded by gardens, Thyme Cafe has a relaxing vibe and a tasty menu. This is somewhere that focuses on the classics, with eggs benedict, pancakes (either blueberry or banana, bacon and maple syrup), french toast or a granola cup with yoghurt and berries.

White House Black, Halswell

White House Black cafe and bar are located in one of Halswell's better known landmarks. Set back from the road this imposing two storey homestead has been made even more eye catching by strategic use of black and white decor. An extensive front lawn, comfortable outdoor seating areas and ample parking make the best use of the "city edge" location. Indoors is spacious too, with eating areas downstairs and up - both of which can be filled to capacity on a busy weekend. The menu is a little eclectic, but still includes classic favourites popular with anyone on a brunch mission. My eye was drawn to the banana bread french toast with cinnamon marscapone and roasted peach, which turned out to be delicious.

Other tasty morsels include blacked creamed corn with havarti cheese, chorizo and fried eggs on corn tortillas with guac and tomato salsa (gluten free); kumara hashcakes, wilted spinach and avocado with hollandaise topping a poached egg, roasted mushrooms and bacon with wilted rocket and herbs on multi-grain toast with spinach and feta cream cheese. And plenty more. Visit White House Black to peruse the rest of the menu. Open from 9am daily except for Monday and Tuesday when the hard working staff get to take their weekend.

Raspberry Cafe, Tai Tapu

An all round summer favourite, Raspberry Cafe is now open year round, delivering delicious food in a garden setting that is perfect for couple, families and groups. The small children's playground (close to the deck) and the red phone box at the bottom of the garden help make this a special place to take the kids, especially when the sun is shining. And in season, the berry shop out the back has an array of fresh and frozen raspberries, strawberries and more buy and take home. The brunch menu includes Café Granola with organic oats, almonds, coconut and heaps of dried fruit, served with organic yoghurt and berry compote (fresh berries in season); Savoury Scrambled Eggs with diced tomato, fresh herbs and cream on wholegrain toast; Bacon and Eggs; Café Hotcakes - buttermilk cakes with maple syrup and either: Bacon and banana, Berry compote or Lemon curd, French Toast - thick slices of baguette, soaked in vanilla and cinnamon flavoured mix and served with either maple, bacon and banana or berry compote; Mushrooms on Toast - roasted portobello mushrooms on grilled sourdough with tomato and bacon; Eggs Benedict, or the Full Monty: two poached eggs on toast with grilled tomato, sausage, bacon, mushrooms and a herbed potato hash.

The Store @Tai Tapu

The Store is a fun and relaxing place for a weekend brunch. Popular as a stop for cyclists stretching their legs on a Banks Peninsula or Tai Tapu ride, as well as with locals and visitors filling up before heading over the hill to Akaroa. This cafe is a "one size fits all" type of place, blending retail therapy (great gifts), gelato, amazing milkshakes and ice cream sundaes, with high teas and the full monty breakfast menu. This is the kind of place where you want to eat your way through the entire menu! Since we got there around lunch time, we decided to do a brunch dish followed by one of their delish ice cream sundaes. No regrets! the French toast was divine, Eggs bene up with the best and the sundaes were everything we anticpated and more. Highly recommend you give this one a try. There's plenty of seating, both indoors and outdoors, so if it's a sunny weekend, you can find the perfect spot in the sheltered outdoor area. Browsing the gift area while you wait for your food is a very pleasant way to spend the time, with plenty of quality NZ made products on offer.

The Shroom Room, 48 London Street Lyttelton

Vegetarian delights abound at this recently re-opened cafe in the port town of Lyttelton (just a short drive through the tunnel from the Ferrymead/Linwood side of town). The vibe is very hippyish/op shop furnishings/indoor or outdoor dining options. Nearly all the breakfast dishes include mushrooms - apart from the french toast and the muesli with fresh fruit and yoghurt. There are several variations on the Shroom Room Shrooms - mushrooms cooked in a creamy sauce with a hint of garlic plus two free range eggs and/or a hash brown. You can do the Gangsta breakfast with housemade walnut and parmesan sausages, grilled tomato, shrooms, hash, poached eggs, toast and hollandaise, or the vegan option with housemade smoked beans, tomato, shrooms, toast, salsa and avocado. Havana coffee is the in-house brew, along with an impressive array of herbal teas. All the dishes here are vegetarian and/or vegan, and you can guarantee you will walk away with a happily filled tummy.