On my last night in Christchurch, I finally found a place with a crowd of appreciative punters, a lively atmosphere and a bit of spirit about it. As previously admitted, I’ve been the author of my own misfortune by visiting sleepy Christchurch on quiet days of the week, but it was still good to finally prove that there was an appetite from locals for what looks to be a fairly strong number of hospitality businesses dotted around the city.
The place in question was called 27 Steps, and was just around the corner from Francesca’s. I’d enjoyed a pre-dinner drink at nearby The Last Word. This has links to Edinburgh via a partnership with the Scottish Malt Whisky Society as well as sharing a name with my favourite Stockbridge bar. I enjoyed an interesting riff on a blood & sand there.
27 Steps is named after the climb up to their first floor dining space. Having successfully negotiated them, I found the place alive with hubbub, with walk-in customers having to wait a little while for tables to come free. I’d booked ahead so was swiftly shown to a table in the window.
The menu and drinks list were brought then the various specials of the day explained. This gave me quite a lot of material to consider so I reflected at ease with a glass of Champagne.
I eventually settled upon a teacup of their soup of the day – parsnip, blue cheese and pear – to open, followed by a starter special of scallops and chorizo, followed by a main of lamb two ways.
The soup promptly arrived in a very delicate china cup. It was flavour-packed with a good balance, the elements of sweet parsnip and tangy cheese brought into harmonious unity in a velvetty broth. I liked it a lot.
The starter featured small, coral-on scallops that had been given a nice light char. They were served with some slices of chorizo and crisp sage leaves on a light mash with good crunch brought by crouton cubes. It was another strong dish matched with a lovely local chardonnay.
The main featured a cute little lamb mince pie and a couple of well treated, pink lamb chops. With season vegetables and a good meaty jus, this was a hearty and very pleasing plate of food.
I had no room for dessert so instead just finished my excellent glass of syrah and reflected on a very enjoyable meal.
So overall, I was really pleased to have found 27 Steps. It was comfortably the most vibrant place I found during my stay in Christchurch and matched that effervescent charm with some really top notch dishes. It would be top of my recommendation list for anyone visiting the city.
Blythe scores 27 Steps
4.5/5 for food
4/5 for presentation
4.5/5 for service
4/5 for setting
giving an overall 17/20
I ate: parsnip, blue cheese and pear soup, scallops with chorizo and sage, duo of lamb
I drank: bubbles, chardonnay, syrah
I wore: maroon shirt
Total bill: $121.50
Address: New Regent Street, Christchurch 8011