A Christchurch winter has well and truly arrived, and with it thoughts turn to the sort of comfort food that’s going to help us feel better about everything that it has the unfortunate habit of throwing at us. Happily, there are plenty of places to turn to around the city for a bit of gastronomic cheer amidst the cold and the wet. Does anything in winter beat the classic Kiwi roast as a winter warmer? JDV can hook you up here big time with their Sunday Roast Session, which offers a choice of three choice cuts from legendary local butcher Peter Timb’s – go for beef sirloin with roast pearl onions, slow-cooked lamb shoulder with pumpkin, almonds and mint jelly, or Freedom Farms pork belly with quince, apple sauce and parsnip (pictured top) – each served with duck fat potatoes, brocolini, cauliflower and cheese sauce, Yorkshire pudding, and red wine jus. (OK, we’re hungry now.) Look out for Roast of the Day at Valley Inn Tavern and O Shea’s Public House, too.
Pork belly is a great winter option, and it’s also worth seeking out Baretta’s version (below) as well, which is gussied up with a port wine glaze and shares a plate with roasted golden kumara and parsnip purée as well as steamed greens and apple pear relish. There’s pork belly to die for at The Option Bistro & Wines too – Oriental style with crushed potatoes, seasonal vegetables and apple sauce – and The Pedal Pusher will hook you up with their version (with baby potatoes, roast red pepper chutney, green beans, crispy bacon and garlic infused jus) at either their Addington or Rolleston gastro-pubs, while Bishop Brothers Public House goes for a thyme and cranberry jelly glaze, slow-roasts for 8 hours and plates it all up with sautéed green beans and caramelised balsamic apple.
Sun Dog Diner is all about comfort food! You can’t go wrong with their menu, really (everything is seriously good!), but if you reeeeeeally wanna get food-comfy, look up their version of mac-n-cheese, appropriately dubbed The Greatest Show on Earth; no fewer than 4 different cheeses are enrolled in its construction before the whole shebang is smothered in crispy onion straws. OMG.
For more American-style comfort goodness, look up the trio of pies – pecan, spiced pumpkin, and banana cream – at Orleans (below). Would it would be wrong to get one of each? No friend, it would not. Look at these. No jury would convict.
There's another sweet treat awaiting at Hotel Montreal's Polo Bar, where they're embracing their Argentinian influences to bring us the chance to sit fireside and enjoy Churros with Rum Dulce de Leche (below) – best tackled alongside a hot chocolate. Yes.
What’s more winter than mashed potatoes? Find them doing sterling work in Belgian Beer Café Torenhof alongside Belgian sausage and braised red cabbage (below), underneath The Craic’s lamb shank, braised in a rich gravy, and providing the perfect complement to Merrin Street Brewery Bar’s Montieth’s Black Beer hot pot, with tender slow cooked beef awaiting you beneath a crisp pastry top, and starring in Trevino’s classic Italian Osso Bucco, in which braised beef shanks are served with truffle-whipped mash, gremolata and roast vegetables.
And for a meaty winter hit, there are some seriousy good options; look up Boo Radley's 12-hour Angus Sirloin (below), served alongside charred broccolini, duck fat potatoes and molasses butter – a winter favourite at the venue since they opened.
And drop into The Happening Bar & Kitchen on Gloucester Street; their signature Portuguese-inspired dish, the Francesinha, is a monster – a sirloin steak, chorizo, smoked bacon and smoked cheese in a garlic butter toasted focaccia, topped with a fried free range egg and beer-buttered sauce. Bring a friend if you need to!