Miss Peppercorn

Monday5:30 – 9:00 pm.

Tuesday5:30 – 9:00 pm.

Wednesday5:30 – 9:00 pm.

Thursday5:30 – 9:00 pm.

Friday5:30 – 9:00 pm.

Saturday12:00 – 3:00 pm, 5:30 – 9:30 pm.

Sunday12:00 – 3:00 pm, 5:30 – 9:30 pm.

32 Nayland Street, Sumner, Christchurch

03-326 6720

Nothing about Miss Peppercorn resembles your average local Chinese food haunt – and that’s just the way its owner, Nicole Zou, intended it. Sick of outdated décor, cramped interiors and sweet and sour pork, she decided it was about time New Zealand got a fresh perspective on China’s rich food offering. Nicole hails from the Chinese province of Sichuan, and was inspired to create a modern eatery, celebrating the fragrant and mouth-numbing flavours of her hometown. And she succeeded – Miss Peppercorn packs some serious punch!

The unique sensation of Szechuan peppercorns sings throughout a refined menu of just 20 or so dishes. The straightforward, enticing menu means there’s no excuse to play it safe and recite your usual takeaway order. At Miss Peppercorn, you’re here to try something new. The Biang Biang Noodles and Sour and Spicy Wonton Soup are fiery favourites, but if you really can’t handle the heat, scan the menu for dishes missing the chilli symbol. Many dishes can also be made vegan and gluten free, so no one misses out.

Every aromatic plate that lands on your table has been made on site without any machines disrupting the process. Instead, a small team of skilled chefs (Nicole included) do all the grunt work, which includes making deliciously silky dumplings and noodles by hand.

Housed in what was once The Cornershop Bistro, the interior has been tastefully redesigned to blend the best of its former life, with the fresh new vibe of the Peppercorn. The deep chocolate tables and beige sofas remain, but a refreshing lick of sea green paint, bamboo accents and foliage suspended from the ceiling breathes new life into the space, and evoking visions of Sichuan’s peaceful mountainous landscape.

Miss Peppercorn is elegant but in no way pompous. Its inviting, open plan setting is the perfect addition to Sumner’s seaside township and we can’t help but feel a little envious of the locals. The food, service and cool vibe will leave you tingling for days after (and that’s not just the Szechuan talking).

Words by Maggie Worthington & Photography by Nancy Zhou

32 Nayland Street, Sumner, Christchurch

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