Ilex Café

Monday9:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Tuesday9:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Wednesday9:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Thursday9:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Friday9:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Saturday9:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Sunday9:00 am – 5:00 pm.

Christchurch Botanic Gardens, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch

03 941 5556

Anything plonked in the middle of such beautiful surroundings was always going to be good. But Ilex Café is far from being just good, it’s extremely good.

Paying homage to local produce through simple, sophisticated dishes, Ilex’s menu is brimming with memorable breakfast, brunch and lunch dishes created by renowned Christchurch chef Jonny Schwass. Since then, the already-popular spot has been taken up a notch and is always buzzing with happy diners enjoying delectable fare in a truly spectacular spot.

Breakfast options such as sourdough crumpets with whipped ricotta and honey or Huevos Rancheros (corn tortilla, chipotle spiced tomatoes, black beans and fried eggs) make for a sensational way to start the day. For lunch, dishes such as pulled lamb with flatbreads or whole roast chicken are bound to impress. Try them served with selected sides - think beetroot salad, fries, brussels sprout caesar salad. Signature seasonal salads are a must-try.

On the drinks front, you’re in safe hands. The fridge is stocked full of delicious local wine, beer and non-alcoholic options from good folk like Almighty Juice and Karma Kola.

If your visit to the gardens is a brief one, Ilex has plenty of tempting sweet and savoury takeaway options from the cabinet in the form of bagels and sandwiches, cake, scones and other enticing sweet treats.

But whatever the format of your trip to this beautiful place, one thing can be assured – your first visit to Ilex will certainly not be your last.

Words by Jane Lyons & Photography by Nancy Zhou

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Christchurch Botanic Gardens, Christchurch Central City, Christchurch

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