A storm-lashed Nel­son favourite re­opens af­ter re­fur­bish­ment.

Cuisine - - CONTENTS -

Restau­rant open­ings, ar­ti­sans, new prod­ucts, events and more

SUM­MER AT THE Boat Shed Cafe in Nel­son is idyl­lic: the sky is blue, aqua seas lap gen­tly against the shore and din­ers re­lax on the over­wa­ter deck sip­ping wine.

How­ever, this def­i­nitely wasn’t the scene on 1 Fe­bru­ary 2018 when storm Fehi com­bined with a king tide to de­liver an ab­so­lute bat­ter­ing to the wa­ter­front build­ings. At the height of the storm surge waves punched up through the floor, in­un­dat­ing the 112-yearold build­ing with sea wa­ter. “The floor­boards were pop­ping up like pi­ano keys,” says Daniel Mo­nop­oli, the Boat Shed Cafe’s owner.

At first it was thought dam­age was re­stricted to the floor, but as the wa­ter-rav­aged boards were stripped out he re­alised that the struc­ture was sub­stan­tially dam­aged.

Fol­low­ing four months of re­pairs, the Boat Shed Cafe re­opened on 22 June, the ven­er­a­ble old shed re­stored to its pre­vi­ous self. “We have worked closely with the land­lord and made sub­stan­tial im­prove­ments to the struc­ture to make it ‘sea­wor­thy’, and we’ve up­graded where we could with­out com­pro­mis­ing the feel. We’ve re­con­fig­ured front-of-house and achieved greater ef­fi­cien­cies in the kitchen. The cafe has ex­actly the same feel – it’s sim­ple, pared back but smarter and warmer than be­fore.”

Daniel is proud that he has man­aged to re­tain 70-80% of his staff while the cafe has been closed, partly by repo­si­tion­ing staff to the pop-up Boat Shed Cafe in Ma­pua.

They haven’t been sit­ting on their hands dur­ing the down­time, de­vel­op­ing a new menu based around New Zealand seafood and ex­cel­lent fin fish. “We’ve light­ened the menu a lit­tle, made it more ac­ces­si­ble. Peo­ple can come in for break­fast and a cof­fee, then come back for a beer and a nib­ble. We want to make cus­tomers wel­come to come for a lit­tle and of­ten, as well as for big fam­ily din­ners and spe­cial oc­ca­sions.”

Lots of reg­u­lar cus­tomers sup­ported the busi­ness in its Ma­pua lo­ca­tion and Daniel is pleased to wel­come them back.

“It’s a risk when a busi­ness has been closed for a while and you lose mo­men­tum. We didn’t know what would hap­pen, but the lo­cals are now com­ing back in. Ev­ery­thing is go­ing ex­tremely well.” boat­shed­

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