Before heading into Christchurch city centre, we had a peruse of the ‘neat places’ leaflet. The Caffeine Laboratory immediately caught our attention and we jumped on the next bus into town. Unfortunately what we found was a little steel shipping container that was all boarded up and in the middle of nowhere. Not ideal. Disappointed we humphed over to our second choice: C1 Espresso.
This was no second choice though. The place was bursting with life, charm and great food. Though seemingly innocuous this place packed a punch. It was filled with globular lights, comfy chairs, pinball machines and an automatic door disguised as a bookcase.
Even the sugar packets were quirkily designed like crayons.
Then came the food. I had a little pot of macaroni cheese. Good, simple, comfort food that had been vamped up with bacon, a touch of wholegrain mustard and a couple of slices of tomato. Cat had chicken focaccia which, judging by her subsequent food silence, was pretty good too. As it was our first day in New Zealand and because we can’t seem to say no, we also ordered desert.
I had a chocolate caramel slice.
Heaven on a plate.
Cat had a mini banoffee pie, equally delightful.
Drinks wise, they appeared to be a tea-lovers dream. Ever since my trip to Morocco, I’ve been searching for authentic Moroccan Mint Tea. Many claim to be the real deal but I’ve always been rather disappointed; despite this, I thought I’d give C1 Espresso’s version a go.
It came with proper glasses that all Moroccan tea is served in and a little pot of tea leaves in order to brew DIY style. It smelled perfect, each waft taking me right back to the little hostel where the blazing sun dappled through the orange trees warming the stones underfoot. Completely unrelated to New Zealand, I know, but if you’re heading to Marrakech for some winter sun, try Riad So Cheap, So Chic. Sadly, my memories were washed away with the first sip. Although an excellent mint tea, it was no where near sweet enough to be truly Moroccan – maybe I’ll have to start adding sugar to the pot!
But all was forgiven - this place has character, a relaxed feel and a cracking playlist. It’s open 7am -10pm every day and is particularly proud of its breakfasts. Perfect for a date, brunch with friends or just a takeaway coffee (and cake) so make sure you put it on your list of places to go when you’re next in Christchurch.