Wednesday6:00 – 10:00 pm.
Thursday6:00 – 10:00 pm.
Friday6:00 pm – 12:30 am.
Saturday6:00 pm – 12:30 am.
5/2 Papanui Road, Merivale, Christchurch
0210 293 5641
Food is best enjoyed together, and when you’re tucked into the 25 seat restaurant that is Gatherings, you’ll remember why. After a year spent working on an organic farm north of Christchurch, Alex Davies, the savvy chef turned restaurant owner, used his passion, skills and knowledge to start his own eatery - Gatherings.
Gathering's menu is rooted in local, accessible and seasonal ingredients - a philosophy that relates to Alex’s desire to look after the planet by being mindful of what we take from it and when. Even fish, he’s learned, have their seasons. This approach earned Gatherings a coveted Cuisine Good Food Awards Hat in 2018 and 2019 but Alex hasn’t stopped there. Gatherings has continued to evolve with both the seasons and the times.
After the 2020 COVID lockdown, Gatherings launched Fish Suppers, a dining concept that puts a renewed focus on sitting down to eat together. Fish suppers are easy to understand and enjoy all at once and give diners the chance to relax but try top quality dishes at the same time. Here’s how it works:
Order your centrepiece. These have included whole roasted flounder with brown butter and lemon and pan baked butter fish. Alex works with Gravity Fishing, one of the only independent fishing boats in NZ, to secure the freshest and most sustainable catches. These fish arrive in house the same day they are served and the difference this makes in flavour is hard to miss.
Pick the rest from a list of kai moana and vegetable dishes like pickled mussels with carrots and coriander seeds, tuna sashimi with umeboshi paste and orange, crispy squid with porcini XO sauce, decadent potato doughnuts with garlic and anchovies and cos with hazelnuts, garlic and feta. With an array of plates on offer there’s a perfect balance of familiar and unexplored options.
Order as much or as little as you want for your group and enjoy all the dishes family style, grazing just like you would at home.
Open Wednesday to Saturday for dinner, Gathering’s menu changes frequently depending on what their small scale suppliers have on offer at the moment. But rather than disappointing, the transience of the menu adds to the quiet excitement of eating out. And so does the price point. The Fish Supper meal deal feeds two, is also available for takeaway and a bottle of wine can be added for maximum enjoyment.
Gathering’s wine list is similarly focused on place, flavour and sustainability. With hundreds of bottles tucked away in the cellar, they’ve got pours from all over NZ many of which are ‘living’ - made with minimal technological and zero chemical intervention. The team also has their own wine label created by Theo Coles which specifically ties in with the seasons and the restaurant’s atmosphere perfectly completes the equation.
The space features recycled wooden furniture by a local carpenter, small jars of grasses and tussocks adorn tables and warm lighting ensures it feels cosy enough to stay for an hour or two. Artwork hangs on each wall and the crockery comes from New Zealand artisans, too. Weekends see Gatherings become the stage for live music and art events.
Alex and the Gatherings team celebrate Canterbury and greater New Zealand in everything they do. The way they share this with diners is exciting, approachable and without pretension. It’s an invitation to eat something delicious yet simple in a space that feels welcoming, safe and sophisticated all at the same time.
Words by Olivia Sisson & Photography by Nancy Zhou
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