Christchurch - Kaikoura. Christchurch is a picturesque and architecturally beautiful city in an 'Adelaide' kind of way. I believe they share a Sister City relationship. But outside of NZ's peak tourist season, Christchurch was all but quiet and vacant. And this was despite some glorious early Spring weather in which we occupied a morning strolling around the centre of town to admire the impressive buildings, the most grandiose of which invariably were the city's churches.
When it came time to grab a bite however, we were lucky to stumble onto an innocuous little sushi and ramen bar known as the Samurai Bowl. After numerous meals of somewhat rich food during our previous days on the road, it was just what we were looking for. We ordered large steamy bowls of Miso Ramen, their broths laden with slices of pork, bamboo shoots, nori flakes, spring onion and other bits of wholesome goodness. Slurpy heartwarming soul food.
We also shared a very delightful plate of Tuna Uramakizushi, which was as good an offering of sushi I'd eaten anywhere...just gaze at their picture below and drool.
Samurai Bowl, 140 Gloucester Street, Christchurch, NZ (Spot Score: 16/20)
We had one last day in NZ before we were due to fly back across the Tasman. Kaikoura is a seaside township about three-hours drive north of Christchurch, its name which roughly translates from Maori as 'to eat or to have a meal of crayfish'. All the excuse we needed to make it the destination of choice on our final day. In addition to the waterfront, the village has a spectacular backdrop of snow-capped mountains that appeared to stretch their roots right down to the ocean shoreline. In the right season, it is the place to go for nature cruises and Sperm Whale watching. But for now we had another priority, to find a venue where we could get our hands on some of its famous local Southern Rock Lobster or Crayfish. Naturally, a bistro named The Craypot caught our attention and it wasn't too long before we were tackling half a lightly grilled Crayfish Mornay each, served with a dressed salad and a small mount of risoni. Those Kaikoura crayfish were not large critters and could've done with less Mornay, but were certainly fresh and a very sweet bookend to our trip through NZ's South Island.
The Craypot Cafe & Bar, 70 West End Road, Kaikoura, NZ (Spot Score: 14/20)