Few of us can resist a truly amazing dessert, and sometimes that's all we want as the end or beginning of a perfect night out. We've seen a few people asking for dessert recommendations via social media, so we thought we would do the homework for you and present some delectable places for a memorable dessert in Christchurch. As always, we are open to adding more if you have suggestions or your favourites are not included - just post to us on our Facebook page.Starting with the traditional dessert restaurants:
Strawberry Fare, Carlton Mill Corner
Strawberry Fare is a popular location with many locals and visitors alike, and in addition to the impressive dessert selection, also provides main courses for lunch and dinner. If you are just looking for dessert though, you can arrive without a booking and there is even a takeaway option if you are feeling like an indulgent night in. Pre-quake, Strawberry Fare was located in Peterborough Street but has been relocated now for several years to its current spot close to Hagley Park and Victoria Street.
The dessert menu includes plenty of choices - from the famous and decadent Ultimate Chocolate Dessert through to the fluffy and light Strawberry Pillows. Warm desserts include the classic Sticky Date, a Caramel and Hazelnut Torte, moist orange and almond cake and Tropical Heat - a coconut, feijoa and pineapple cake with a coconut lime sorbet and roasted pineapple. Desserts range in price from $17.50 - $19.80 (for the chef's tasting plate) and include gluten free, dairy free, vegan and vegetarian options.
Just Desserts Cafe, 33 Wordsworth St, Sydenham
Just Desserts is the place to choose if you want to address that sweet craving in the daytiume. Open from Monday to Friday 8.00am - 5.00pm and Saturdays from 8.30am till 4.00pm, you can enjoy the range of sweet treats in house with a coffee, or order a cake or tart to take away for a special occasion. The list of cake options can be found here, along with pricing.And some other options ...
Dragons Den Social Lounge, 357 Colombo Street, Sydenham
Owned by well known chef and restaurateur Andrew Brown (formerly Executive Chef at The George), Dragon's Den Social Lounge is a Hong Kong inspired addition to the Christchurch dining and cocktail scene. The menu is notable for the many pages of different alcoholic options, while the edibles can be most easily seen on the restaurant's Facebook page. Brown's reputation as a dessert cook stands the venue in good stead with some stunning and special concoctions arriving to delight and surprise diners. Recent efforts include Spiced pastry biscuits, vanilla custard whip, compressed apple, green apple sorbet; Japanese Styled Trifle - Sake steeped rhubarb, vanilla pastry cream, miso sesame honey comb, mache sponge, pocky sticks; Lemon Posset - shortbread crumble, compressed rhubarb, meringue chips and raspberry gel. I could go on and on, but you get the idea. Divine.
And of course, if you prefer your dessert in liquid form, your bar tender has the perfect selection of cocktails to choose from.
Pescatore Restaurant, George Hotel, Park Terrace
Keeping the king of desserts in mind, if you have the budget to really splash out, the desserts at Pescatore are unmatched in Christchurch - as far as we know! These delicate concoctions are definitely special occasion treats that will introduce your tastebuds to new textures and flavours combined. You might say having a full time dessert chef on the premises gives them an unfair advantage, but we say - sit back and enjoy every morsel! Just to give you a taste, the Decisions menu includes: Walnuts from Mum’s Place walnut ice cream, green cardamom, chamomile, gingerbread sponge; Milk & Honey honey mousse, thyme ice cream, milk crisp; Apple “Tart” apple caramelised mousse, palmier; 8 Textures of White white chocolate, milk, yoghurt, rice pudding, dulce de leche, goat’s cheese, coconut, crispies; Pineapple Lump Coulant pineapple lump, caramelised pineapple ice cream. Desserts from this menu are $19.00 each and you can just book in for dessert and bubbles or dessert and coffee if you wish.
Raspberry Cafe, 40 Rhodes Road, Tai Tapu
With a regularly changing blackboard selection of the day's cakes, pies, meringue and berries (in season), Raspberry Cafe is a lovely spot for enjoying a relaxing meal or afternoon tea. As the name suggests, this cafe is located right next door to abundant berry fields and in season you can combine your meal with picking up a selection of fresh or frozen strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and more. Options on the dessert menu include raspberry and white chocolate cheesecake, blueberry sour cream cake, lemon polenta syrup cake, ginger kiss cake and the classic (and very moreish) meringues with berry compote. You can choose to sit indoors or out amongst the picturesque gardens, and there's even a sandpit and play area if you want to bring the kids along. Opening hours are from 9 - 4pm so this is definitely a day time destination.
27 Steps, New Regent Street
One of the newer additions to the Christchurch culinary scene, but already a popular spot for wining and dining, 27 Steps is owned by the former owners of Akaroa Bistro who have brought their culinary talents and fresh flavours to the city. Black cardamom & dark chocolate cream pot, blueberries, meringue; Affogato – LCC espresso, liqueur of your choice, Kohu Road vanilla ice cream; Classic caramelised lemon tart, lemon curd, Kohu Road vanilla ice cream; Matcha crème brûlée, matcha & rice flour crumb, ginger poached pear; Canterbury Cheesemongers Cheeseboard, quince, ginger oat cakes, salted caramel walnuts.
Fiddlesticks, cnr Worcester Blvd and Montreal Street
Fiddlesticks is another of the city's fine eating establishments, located in the site of the fomer Le Bon Bolli, opposite Christchurch's Arts Centre. The dessert selection is small but perfectly formed and comes highly recommended. Options include lavender brulee with biscotti, candied orange, lemon sorbet; strawberry shortcake: anglaise, strawberry gel, white chocolate ice cream; salted caramel delice: passionfruit, pistachio crisp, popcorn; hand crafted ice cream and sorbet selection. Prices for desserts range from $12.50 to $18.00 for Affogatto with your choice of liqueur.
Cafe Valentino, St Asaph Street
Cafe Valentino was a well known landmark on Colombo Street pre-quake, known as a venue for musicians and performers at the nearby Town Hall and the signed posters that covered its walls. The building has gone and the business has now joined the new restaurant strip on St Asaph Street - but the framed posters survived. Valentino's is known for its Italian cuisine with plenty of pasta and pizza choices, as well as an enticing dessert menu. The selection includes some euro clasics - Creme Brulee and Tiramisu, plus the decadent Valentino al cioccolato chocolate cake, classic lemon tart and Torte di miele - a warm Italian applie cake service with cinnamon anglaise and vanilla bean icecream.
Valentino's is normally a busy restaurant best suited to groups and families so make sure you book ahead, and don't expect a quiet, romantic night out.