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CULINARY

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A Whole New Universo LOCATED ON THE CORNER OF MONTREAL AND WORCESTER NEAR THE MUSEUM AND BOTANICAL GARDENS CHRISTCHURCH, UNIVERSO SITS STATELY AND ELEGANTLY LIKE A RESTAURANT FRESH OUT OF SYDNEY. GLASS FLOOR TO CEILING, LIGHT AND AIRY, CRISP AND CLEAN, THIS IS A RESTAURANT THAT CELEBRATES MODERNITY AND HISTORY ALL IN THE SAME BREATH. As part of the inner-city Art Gallery, Universo takes advantage of the lofty ceilings and treats your eye to plunging copper orbs partnered with leather booths to really drive home the sensation of opulence and aid in your sensory journey of warmth and relaxation.

A raft of tempting dishes all made using the freshest local produce. Whether you’re after a taste-bud tantalising breakfast or brunch to kick start your day or perhaps a leisurely lunch, from 9am – 2.30pm, this lightooded room allows you to soak up the atmosphere and be a part of it all. Big palms and greenery allow the senses to rest and recoup providing a break from the man-made structure. The breakfast menu has a great selection of healthy or hangover dishes, some standouts being the fried brioche and the nourish bowl. But the day menu is impressive, with some real stand-outs like their homemade chilli and cheese bread to start followed by a dish many get wrong: potato gnocchi with pumpkin puree, butternut and burnt sage butter. But the talented kitchen team nails it, perfectly. Soft uffy pillows with a bite, and the right earthy blend of the pumpkin and sage with the sweet and salty burnt butter – oh to die for! From there, there are popular favourites and dishes to please all palettes. For me, it got interesting when I got to the larger meal’s menu, the talented kitchen team’s avour combinations whispered, I love you in my ear. Lamb rump served with shallot puree, peas, carrots and minted jersey benne, yum. Or the vegan fried tofu in prickly ash, chilli and shiitake mushroom with barley and greens. Or crowd pleaser, pork belly with cabbage and bean sprouts accompanied with apple, miso, maple and peanut sauce with a dollop of chilli jam – that is a good time on a plate!

As niverso turns into a swanky bar and finer dining destination at dusk, you will find a mi ologist on hand, the impressive Sam Barnett aka Bambi (check out his new drink creations on their website, like my favourite ‘you’re too good for him’ – a gin-based drink with a peach apple foam) and the indulgent grazing platters are also in play. A raft of tempting dishes all made using the freshest local produce. Head chef Mark Wilson delivers culinary alchemy of the highest order with his fresh take on lunch, brunch and dinner as well as a selection of tasty cabinet fare that includes gourmet sandwiches, salads, muffins and pastries, all made fresh on site daily. All seasonal produce is locally sourced supporting local business’s which is a must says Madlen Shaw, the new owner, as she believes in money going to the little guy. Universo has always been a popular destination but more recently Madlen and her husband Wayne have taken this euro-chic contemporary brasserie to the next level. Madlen shares with Eye magazine ni erso is our first step back into t e cu inar or d after takin a sabbatica in urope t as a stunnin site and ad reat bones to be somet in tru reat but ad ost its a e fe t it needed to be stripped back to bein accessib e and in itin ts ike t e best kept secret as its discreet and unassumin so its perfect en ou ant to one out from t e or d and focus on your company and having fun.” Open from 9am till late most nights, Universo effortlessly strikes the balance between elegant sophistication and casual cool. Sit down, take away or drinkies at the bar, this is the one stop destination for all your social needs!

universo.co.nz

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