• The Listener
  • North & South
  • Noted
  • RNZ
Left, the Wairiri Buffalo Burrata, made with locally produced burrata. Right, the restaurant's ambience is welcoming with splashes of cheery yellow. Photos/Supplied.

Why Christchurch’s newest restaurant is a must-visit

Eat well at Christchurch's newest restaurant, Vices & Virtues.

Vices & Virtues, the new kid on the block in Christchurch, is already making a name in the dining scene with its thoughtful, seasonal food offerings which celebrate local produce and the frivolity of dining.

With a warm and welcoming ambience, the Salisbury Street restaurant is led by executive chef Tejas Nikam, who previously worked with world-renowned chef Peter Gordon at The Sugar Club in Auckland.

Nikam’s studious culinary techniques are showcased throughout the menu, from the sustainably sourced fresh fish to hand-rolled pappardelle to other intriguing dishes, like the sous vide Angus Eye Fillet.

Aged for 30 days, the pasture-grazed beef fillet is cooked sous vide to enhance its flavour and create a tender mouthfeel, complemented by truffle agria, mushroom purée, puffed buckwheat, balsamic onion and watercress. Sous vide is a style of cooking where food is vacuum-sealed in a sous vide bag and then cooked in a water bath at an even, consistent temperature. Nikam says, “The very process of vacuum sealing means the item won't dehydrate or lose its form while cooking. The original weight, flavour and natural colour and aroma of the food is not lost… since the process of sous vide enhances flavours, little or no additional salt or fat is needed during cooking. So, you can experience the true flavours of the food.”

The 30-day Aged Angus Eye Fillet cooked sous vide and plated beautifully. Photo/Supplied.

Plant-based eaters are not forgotten here: there are carefully considered dishes, like the Vegetable Textures entree, in which humble root vegetables are elevated with kale, Adzuki bean hummus, sumac lavash and chilli oil. Tomatoes, aubergine, cauliflower, and fungi, prepared in all manner of ways, make a welcome appearance on the menu, too.

The Wairiri Buffalo Burrata, an Italian-style cheese made with buffalo milk rather than the traditional cow milk, has an unusually soft texture. The burrata is made just out of central Christchurch in Coalgate, and is as fresh as you can get. Sometimes it’s even delivered in the afternoon to be served that evening in the restaurant, says Wairiri Buffalo’s cheesemaker Lucy Appleton.

"You can be sure of its freshness as it is made to order and delivered within 24 hours of production.”

Each bite of the burrata is perfectly matched with mixed heritage tomatoes, salanova leaves, dried olive crumbs and a spike of mango nam phrik (a spicy chilli sauce). 

The fit-out was designed by award-winning Sydney-based architecture and interior design firm Luchetti Krelle. Photo/Supplied.

Vices & Virtues serves breakfast, lunch and dinner – and dessert, of course.

High on many diners’ lists is the Valrhona Chocolate Decadence, which uses the eponymous chocolate and is the choice of the world’s top chefs for good reason.

Valrhona’s in-house bean-to-bar production offers a kind of quality that results in a premium cocoa taste. At Vices & Virtues, the chefs serve it in the form of a 70 percent dark chocolate pavé, pleasingly plated with blond dulcey mousse, marinated strawberries, cinder toffee and a mint gel.

The restaurant is a welcome addition to the Christchurch food scene, a spot you'll want to take friends from out of town to, or a date – you don't even need a good reason to visit except to eat beautiful food.

Make a reservation today.

Don't miss Executive Chef Tejas Nikam's take on Diwali - experience a flavour explosion - 8-12 October.

Ph: 03 930 7001
Address: 47-49 Salisbury Street, Christchurch 8013