Twenty Seven Steps is run by Emma and Paul, the good folk who used to own Akaroa’s favourite restaurant, The Little Bistro. As the restaurant’s name suggests, there is a short climb up the steps (no, there aren't 27) to the restaurant, which occupies a large upstairs space: it is essentially four upstairs shops combined into one. An effortless combination of old and new, Twenty Seven Steps is modern and sophisticated. The respect for this building’s heritage in a city where heritage has somewhat crumbled away is special, and the beautiful and quintessentially New Regent Street, arched windows are the heroes of the space.
Emma scoured op shops far and wide (as far as Temuka, in fact) to inject plenty of character into the restaurant. There are retro-style mismatched amber glass light shades, kitsch paintings adorned with coat hooks for your jacket and vintage style tea-cups to hold olives, together with souvenir teaspoons to assist with scooping.
Drink offerings are excellent – there’s plenty of good wine, with a focus on the tipple of local producers, together with a good selection of craft beer too. The venue’s blend of the classic with the new extends through to the cocktail options and hearty European-style fare. There is a distinctly modern take on the menu which features ingredients that are seasonal and, as far as possible, locally sourced. For once it’s a menu featuring dishes that aren’t necessarily designed to be shared, and that’s a refreshing change. Expect big pieces of meat or fish topped with locally grown veggies and deliciously rich jus.
The kind of place that Christchurch feels to have been void of for some time, Twenty Seven Steps is just the place the city needs: a sophisticated and modern bistro, where service, food and drink are up to a fine dining standard without all of the associated pomp and fluff.
PhotographerNaomi Haussmann and Nancy Zhou