It really feels like Christchurch is coming into its own, when you’re outside Riverside Market in the buzz of a weekday lunch hour. We were drawn in by a guest lecture on nutrition and mental health but each visit has something different to discover.
If you haven’t been to Riverside Market, it is worth a look for good coffee, cheesemongers and gelato, butchers and fishmongers and fresh produce. But for something different, try Turkish coffee from Izmir Delight. Other crowd favourites are freshly baked cookies with chunks of Whittaker’s chocolate from Moustache Milk & Cookies and the Donut Dispensary with little rings of sweetness.
The unmissables include Cluck Cluck Slurp, which sells freerange rotisserie chicken and pork. It is crowded with people waiting just by the Oxford Terrace entrance. We tried the slow-cooked pork belly, turned on the spit over potatoes and served with salad. The soft tacos with chicken, salsa, lettuce and guacamole were also a hit.
The window of Herba Gourmet is often hidden behind a line of punters, queueing down the market lane for its fresh lunchboxes. We choose our own ingredients, so we tried the herb crumbed perch with the Asian slaw and the mighty Beetroot Feta Power Salad - all gluten free.
We ventured upstairs to have a look at the view. The lights hang in mid-air, like bulbous cloves of garlic. The heavy wooden beams frame the 65 food outlets and stalls, and the fresh vegetables are vibrant in contrasting colours. Further around the first floor, we discovered the Riverside Kitchen, which holds cooking lessons for kids and adults. The Kaiser Bar has craft brews and a balcony garden that oozes cool.
Cuisine from all over the world makes this a truly international space. Vendors as diverse as Sushi Train and Indo Tempeh to Dimitris Greek Food, Mediterranean Food Co and the Creperie selling thin French-style pancakes. Sweet pastries and cakes are available at Le Panier and the Bohemian Bakery.
Riverside Collective is a showcase for local products, like hemp food from The Brothers Green, sauces from Spicy Boys and cakes from Cake Me Away. This is what we envisioned for the city; a collaborative urban space for local produce, lazy browsing and long, social lunches.
Address: Cnr Lichfield Street and Oxford Terrace
Hours: Open 7 Days a Week: Mon-Wed 9am-6pm, Thu-Sat 9am-9pm, Sun 10am-4pm