The Lotus Heart

MondayClosed.

Tuesday8:00 am – 3:30 pm.

Wednesday8:00 am – 3:30 pm.

Thursday8:00 am – 3:30 pm.

Friday8:00 am – 3:30 pm, 5:00 – 9:00 pm.

Saturday8:00 am – 3:30 pm, 5:00 – 9:00 pm.

Sunday8:00 am – 3:30 pm.

363 Saint Asaph Street, Christchurch Central, Christchurch

03-377 2727

There aren’t many temples where you can pull up a chair and enjoy a spot of breakfast, lunch or dinner, but Christchurch’s original vegetarian restaurant comes pretty close. The Lotus Heart is owned by students of Sri Chinmoy and was born out of a small café on Colombo Street in 1997 before expanding to Cathedral Square. That’s right, these guys were making Buddha bowls and turmeric lattes way before they were ‘cool’.

After losing both locations to the earthquakes in 2011, the team moved to a warehouse in the industrial heart of St Asaph Street. At first, the building’s stark walls and high ceilings weren’t exactly the envisioned meditative retreat, but the entire staff soon got to work to change that. The transformation is incredible. Everything you see inside is a labour of love, from the golden archways and rounded pillars to the decorative shelving and ornamental features.

The restaurant serves an organic, internationally-inspired plant-based menu from morning until night. But don’t you go thinking ‘plant-based’ is synonymous with ‘nothing but kale’. You’ll find hearty curries, antipasto platters, burgers and nachos (favourites that have been around since day one), fulfilling seasonal salads, Indian-style scrambled eggs and daily changing specials. The focus is of course on healthy eating, but it’s more about feasting on food that makes you feel both physically and spiritually uplifted. If that means today you need to skip the raw desserts for one of The Lotus Heart’s decadent brownies, you do you.

An abundance of specialty liquids complements the food. On top of organic coffee brews and a wide selection of teas, treat your gut to some house made kombucha, throw back a revitalising cold pressed juice or slurp up an authentic chai made traditionally with real spices over the stovetop.

When you’re sated, explore the corners of the restaurant and discover their health store, a world music store out back and meditation studio. A busy events calendar offers plenty of opportunities to participate in The Lotus Heart’s way of life, including cooking demonstrations, tea ceremonies, meditation workshops, concerts and more.

The Lotus Heart has nurtured a longstanding reputation amongst locals – and not just the full-time herbivore community. Hippie, yogi, businessperson or young family, the doors are kept wide open for all.

Words by Maggie Worthington & Photography by Nancy Zhou

363 Saint Asaph Street, Christchurch Central, Christchurch

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