It’s hard to deny the charm of Dux Dine. Though residing on Christchurch’s busiest road, one foot over the threshold and any sign of road rage quickly turns to peaceful tranquillity. The quaint villa, once home to the Station Master of Riccarton Railway, may look small from the outside but the deception of space is just another one of the restaurant’s greatest surprises.
Inside, the humble villa branches out into cosy and intimate dining pockets with a fireplace ready to roar away the next frost. Although this eloquent eatery does all four seasons very well, summertime is when it really comes into its prime. The back doors unfold, the conservatory is filtered in golden sunlight and umbrellas pop in the expansive courtyard. Appropriately named the Gin Garden, step outside and spot another bar serving up delicious G&T as well as Aperol Spritz. Look out for ‘Happy Fridays’ and ‘Sunday Sessions’ with deals on drinks.
With so many delicious options to toss-up, you probably won’t even notice that there’s a whole food group missing. We’ll give you a clue – you won’t be needing any steak knives. Here, seafood and vegetables rule supreme from breakfast, brunch and lunch right through to dinner. Dux Dine is the continuation of Dux Group’s original restaurant housed in Dux de Lux back during Christchurch’s pre-quake days. This gives it a rich 40-year history as the town’s superior pescatarian destination, and man does it shows on the plate. Baked, smoked, battered, grilled, crumbed, fried… A variety of techniques are perfectly executed with unwavering respect for these underwater dwellers.
There are a few legendary plates that have been around since day one, including the Pea and Halloumi Fritters (which risks a serious riot should it ever leave) and Crusted Fish. An ever-changing list of menu additions is also always available with plates championing whatever the fishermen are catching or growers have harvested.
Transparency is integral to the ethos of this restaurant and each full plate of food and glass of wine or beer can be traced back to its origins. Fish is sourced fresh, usually just metres away at Theo’s Fisheries, the wine list is exclusive to New Zealand vineyards and Dux’s very own craft beer flows from the taps.
Not only homely in appearance, Dux Dine is one of those rare gems where anyone and everyone has a place at the table. Family brunch get-togethers, business folk who want to do their schmoozing over lunch, the after-work drinks crew or catch up cocktails with the girls, even four-legged creatures are invited along for the ride.