on November 14, 2008
The city of Christchurch is filled to bursting point with spectacular restaurants and cafes, each pulling out all the stops to get the business of the city – with excellent décor and service, wonderful food and enticingly beautiful settings. Many of the restaurants have a pretty comparable dinner price, with a few exceptions in either direction. But the place which probably gets my vote for the best food for value is the Irish Bar and restaurant ‘The Bog.’ Whether it’s my love of good wholesome portions of food or my Irish heritage, I always find myself drawn to taste the food at Irish pubs around the world. And there is no where I have been (and I frightfully have to include Dublin in this catagegory) that has served better good Irish food than at The Bog in the southern part of New Zealand. It is, first and foremost, an Irish pub. They have quiz nights (on Thursday) and live music on Mondays. The bar has a great selection of beers (and of course Guiness) and the tables are mostly large wooden benches and serious tables that can serve a dozen people. But they take their food seriously, and even though the prices reflect the more typical ‘pub food’ price – the food, as well as the service is of a much higher quality. After spending 6 years in the British Isles, I’ve been in many, many pubs hoping for a nice pub lunch and left unsatisfied every single time. But The Bog left me more pleased than almost any of the spectacular restaurants in Christchurch. The prices are very good (though they don’t seem to have a lunch menu, so your best bet is to go in the evening when you get dinner for what is almost lunch prices.) The average dinner meal in Christchurch seems to range from $20 -$30 for a main. You can get many things on the menu in The Bog for under $20. Many of them are about $18. Aside from the fact the taste of the food is astounding, really remarkably well cooked and prepared food for the price and for pub food – the portions are incredible. If you arrive in the city famished, or have spent a long day walking and need a serious refuel, you can not hope to get better portion sizes than at the Bog. It won me over so completely that I did what I never do in visiting a new city, and returned twice. The Irish Stew is impeccable – quite a healthy portion served with bread, and filled with scrumptious big chunks of lamb and vegetables. The Steak and Guinness Pie is probably the best thing on the menu, and also possibly the largest. It’s almost so large it could be shared – and if you are really hungry it will certainly ease the hunger pains completely. I’ve sampled several things on the menu now, and have been extremely pleased with each one, so whatever you fancy it’s a pretty safe bet there. Like everywhere in New Zealand it’s the beer that will push the tab up, so if you are looking for the value aspect, be sure to order water or coke to go with your meal. And if you still have room for desert afterwards, they have a great selection of that as well – the apple crumble is a very interesting take on the old recipe and is served with what tastes like homemade ice cream. This place has a lot going for it, including very good and friendly staff, a wonderful atmosphere and an easy location just off the city centre and a few mintues from Cathedral Square.
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