The pedestrian western suburbs of Christchurch have become the reluctant pseudo city centre since the events-which-should-not-be-mentioned took place. Some inner-city shops and restaurants have moved into this area, giving it a modicum of sophistication usually reserved for the more leafy genteel suburbs.
One of these establishments is Joe’s Garage, a chain of casual-dining cafés. The Hereford St branch had to be shuttered, but a replacement branch opened at 7 Leslie Street, Upper Riccarton (Ph: 03-420 4420) on Nov 30. Mum and Dad were quite excited by the prospects, so when I asked for a new place we could go for dinner; there really wasn’t much of a debate. This place is basically a 10-minute walk from their house (umm… we drove… oops).
The décor is industrial chic, with polished concrete floor, plywood and exposed brickwork accents. I loved the spanners in lieu of door handles and the retro metal die-cast toy trucks. The metal chairs look great, though I’m not sure how they would be in winter.
This place was so new; our waitress started the evening by apologising for the lack of menus (we shared a copy-paper printed dinner menu amongst three of us) and that they hadn’t yet ordered the cordial for the blackcurrant drink on the menu. She also confessed it was her first shift, but no matter; the girls were so sanguine, they positively sparkled. The boys on the other hand, looked a bit like deer caught in the headlights (what was the comment about gender and multi-tasking…). Also, the dessert menu will be available next week.
The menu is compact, with some homely options (meat loaf, gravy & 3 veg; spaghetti, burgers), some more upmarket options (pork belly, lamb) and some things I would never order in any restaurant (bratwurst rolls, otherwise known as sausage rolls; and kung fu chicken or chicken with sweet chilli sauce). The menu is obviously designed for short-order catering.
The beef burger ($14.50) is a generously sized beef pattie flavoured with dijon mustard and onions, and comes with bacon, melted edam cheese, caramelised red onions. The burger is served with hand cut fries, which are chewy with a slightly crunchy skin. The beef pattie tasted a bit bland but I polished off the moreish chips.
The slow roasted pork belly ($15.00) comes with caramelised apple and crackling. Dad said the pork belly was on the salty side, which hindered the taste of the apple. Unfortunately, he was right. The crackling was great.
The lamb medallions ($16.50) were the stars. The tasty and tender parmesan and thyme coated medallions came atop mounds of smashed peas.
The serving sizes were perfect, and priced reasonably for the neighbourhood. This place is a welcomed option to the ethnic eateries that Upper Riccarton is well known for. I dare say Joe’s Garage will do very well here.
7 days, 7am until late (Dinner menu available from 5pm)