CRISPY BITS

This gem of a bar of­fers be­spoke cock­tails and a space for civilised dis­course.

Cuisine - - CONTENTS - Ogb.co.nz

Restau­rant open­ings, ar­ti­sans, new prod­ucts, events and more

WHY IS IT THAT COCK­TAILS are the cat’s py­ja­mas right now? The throw­back to jazz-age op­u­lence, the hints of Great Gatsby glam­our or just that cock­tails are so damn deca­dent? What­ever the rea­son, Par­lour is one of Christchurch’s best spots to perch on a plush vel­vet couch and sam­ple a clas­sic such as an Old Fash­ioned or a gin fizz, or try Par­lour’s house-made pineap­ple and co­conut sor­bet in an el­e­gant pina co­lada.

Tucked into the Old Govern­ment Build­ing (OGB) and with all the trap­pings of the early 1900s, there’s no more lux­u­ri­ous spot than this, ooz­ing in­ti­macy with its moody light­ing, sheer drapes, vel­vet cur­tains and mar­ble coun­ters. But it’s not just the dé­cor that sets it apart. Owner Ni­cholas Inkster ex­plains that Par­lour is all about hos­pi­tal­ity, ex­pe­ri­ence and the­atre. “Mixol­o­gists sit with the cus­tomers and find out ex­actly what they like. Then the cock­tail is made to or­der to suit every cus­tomer.”

To en­sure that the cock­tails are tip-top, Nick chooses his staff care­fully. “At Par­lour we do not hire bar­tenders. I hire mixol­o­gists, who are crafts­men in the trade of bar­tender­ing. With these crafts­men be­hind the bar, the re­sult is not only a cock­tail, but an ex­pe­ri­ence of mixol­ogy.”

De­scribed as the best room in the house and a space where ladies can go to talk about gen­tle­men, the house rules set the tone: Gen­tle­men, no hats please; No fight­ing, hoot­ing or hol­ler­ing; Gen­tle­men will not in­tro­duce them­selves to ladies. Ladies, if an un­known gen­tle­man speaks to you, please lift your chin slightly and ig­nore him.

Nick wanted to cre­ate a place to so­cialise re­spect­fully and gen­er­ate con­ver­sa­tion. If you’re stuck for a some chit chat to get the ball rolling but you don’t know your bit­ters from your shrubs, you might ca­su­ally men­tion that mint juleps were orig­i­nally pre­scribed as a tonic for stom­ach ache, or that daiquiri is the name of an iron mine near San­ti­ago de Cuba. (Who knew? Clearly Nick and his team did as there are en­cy­clopaedic notes on the menu!)

Par­lour is just one of Nick’s ven­tures: he is also the driv­ing force be­hind OGB Bar and Fred­er­ick Wood­ward’s bar­ber shop, and is work­ing on plans for a laun­dro­mat to open later this year. As Nick says, “My vision is to open cool venues in old her­itage build­ings through­out NZ.” /

FIRST, JADE TEMEPARA’S grand­fa­ther asked her to plant some pota­toes. “No way,” she said, “I’m not go­ing to dig up my lawn.” Then he ca­joled her to plant pota­toes, then nagged, coaxed, urged and nagged again. Worn down, she even­tu­ally planted the pota­toes, watched them grow, ob­served the land and how it re­acted. On the day she dug them up, her grand­fa­ther turned to her. “Thank you,” he said, “I took these pe­ru­peru out of my fa­ther’s shed when he passed away. They’re five gen­er­a­tions old and I don’t have any­one else to give them to.”

“I only be­gan to un­der­stand the im­por­tance of seeds then,” Jade ex­plains. “When Māori voy­aged we took our peo­ple, we took our seeds and took hope that we could go and make some­where else a new home.”

From this sprouted Jade’s fer­vour for seed her­itage and she now has a col­lec­tion of 260 dif­fer­ent seed lines, sec­ond only in New Zealand to Kay Bax­ter of the Koanga In­sti­tute.

Over re­cent months Jade has had the mam­moth task of trans­plant­ing some of her her­itage plants, ten­derly bed­ding them into the gar­dens sur­round­ing her new cafe premises. Started 2½ years ago, Jade’s Kākano Cafe and Cook­ery School has just re­lo­cated to Christchurch’s Manch­ester Street, open­ing in March 2018 in the One Cen­tral precinct. Now that spring is here, around 40 her­itage plants are start­ing to flour­ish. “It’s a bit of a metaphor for the whole city – new things are ap­pear­ing that weren’t ex­pected,” says Jade.

More than just a cafe, Kākano (which means ‘seed’) is a so­cial en­ter­prise which Jade estab­lished to teach fam­i­lies in her com­mu­nity what she has learned about health, life­style and well­be­ing. She wants to help peo­ple em­brace tra­di­tional food, food gath­er­ing and grow­ing to en­hance their health and nutri­tion. Serv­ing a pre­dom­i­nantly Māori menu, the cafe aims to use for­aged kai as much as pos­si­ble.

“There’s a beau­ti­ful story to tell about food that comes from the land,” ex­plains Jade. “To say, ‘I caught that, I know the whaka­papa of the land where that came from’. What’s spe­cial to me is that if I put horo­pito in a dish it’s not from a packet, but my kids and I picked that and dried it. I’m for­tu­nate that I know the an­ces­try of where that food came from and can hon­our that. I’m for­tu­nate to in­ter­act with the land and feel my place in the world. I’m a re­cip­i­ent of the land teach­ing me things, and I can chan­nel that into dif­fer­ent plat­forms.”

Al­ready an Eller­slie Flower Show medal win­ner and for­mer New Zealand Gar­dener of the Year, her most re­cent ven­ture is host­ing the TV show He Kākano, which be­gan screen­ing in Au­gust 2018 on Māori TV. Across 10 episodes the show prom­ises to im­part sim­ple skills for how to get green, or­ganic and healthy; to demon­strate the art of grow­ing kai or­gan­i­cally from seed and to change how we grow, nur­ture and cook our food. “I want to show peo­ple a healthy life­style, to in­spire peo­ple to give some­thing a go, to take the first steps, then learn by nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion and add things into your life as you go through. I’m a life learner from my ex­pe­ri­ences of learn­ing from the land.”

Jade de­scribes both her grand­fa­thers as “men of the land” and it would ap­pear that with Jade their wis­dom has landed on good soil.

In The Nordic Bak­ingBook in­ter­na­tion­ally ac­claimed chef Mag­nus Nils­son ex­am­ines all as­pects of Nordic home bak­ing, both mod­ern and tra­di­tional, sweet and savoury. Trav­el­ling through Den­mark, the Faroe Is­lands, Fin­land, Ice­land, Nor­way and Swe­den, he has col­lected more than 450 recipes and doc­u­mented lo­cal bak­ing tra­di­tions. (Phaidon RRP $59.95 )

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