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Published May 11th 2016
Fine service, cuisine and atmosphere Welcome aboard
Step back in time to the elegant era of the 1920s and travel in style on the Christchurch Tramway Restaurant. Combining superb food and wine with history and sightseeing, this is the perfect way to enjoy Christchurch's inner-city.
Arriving before the designated report time, we had difficulty locating Tram Stop Number 1, as it was not well advertised. For future passengers, it is located right in the heart of the Cathedral Junction shopping mall. At 6.50pm the red welcome mat and coat racks were rolled out. Once the tram arrived, we were ushered to our table by a waitress, smartly dressed in black pants, black vest and a white long-sleeved shirt.
Stepping on board was like stepping back in time. The rich wood furnishings, quaint light fittings and table settings added to its cosy ambience. The tables were beautifully set with fresh flowers, cherry tomato and crumbed potato appetizers and glasses of Peter Yealand's Sparkling Pinot Gris Blush, which was a pretty shade of light salmon.
This 36-seater dining tram has a rich history. It was built in Melbourne, Australia in 1927 and served as a passenger car until 1982. The tram was then converted into a restaurant car by the Sydney Tramway Museum in 1999 before commencing operations in Christchurch in 2000.
Once everyone was seated, the waitress took our order. This was a difficult decision as everything on the menu looked delicious. The menu showcases New Zealand produce and offers a variety of gluten free dishes. Wine costs extra but was reasonably priced. A glass of Peter Yealand's Pinor Gris costs $10.
The food was scrumptious. The mouth-watering organic free-range pork terrine was served with cashew and apple puree. The Marlborough salmon was perfectly roasted and served on a bed of potato rosti and smashed green peas with avocado and salmon caviar. Our Peter Yealand's Pinot Gris was the perfect choice with our salmon with its subtle flavours of pear and nuts with a hint of stone fruit and honey. The delicious meal concluded with a delightfully refreshing vanilla and yoghurt panna cotta served with a mandarin and mint salad.
Entree - Pork terrine
Main - Marlborough Salmon
Dessert - Panna Cotta
The tram completes a number of loops of the city and after dessert, stops at Cathedral Junction for 15 minutes, providing passengers the opportunity to stretch their legs.
While the Tramway Restaurant is quite expensive at $99 a head, the fine service, cuisine and wine made this journey a memorable and fun night. As this is a popular dining experience, reservations are essential.