April started cold, our tomatoes are gone until next season and the garden beds have been cleared to let new seeds germinate for a long winter. Our bees are healthy and producing enough honey to take care of them for the next month, the chickens are doing their job really well and the color of the vegetation is changing. Mushrooms are popping from the ground like dandelions on foraging days, nuts are everywhere and apples and pear trees are producing so much that birds can not get them all (good for us!).
Five months non stop since we open and we are still new, Project Taco started almost 2 months ago at the farmers market as part of our love for street food and we have been invited to be part of a pop-up space at The Colombo, and who knows.. probably very soon our taco truck! A la Carte and Trust the chef for lunch, short degustation on week nights, and tasting menus every night continues as part of our offering at the restaurant.
Ideas will never stop and people will be part of our process of sharing knowledge in new projects that we are working on, we want to create experiences, excitement for people, our offering is of real flavors, fresh and organic textures that probably are unknown for many or forgotten. Creations made by hand without loosing the interconnection with nature that allows for the ingredients to speak for themselves.
The design of our open kitchen more than just to share the view, we want to share the sounds, the smells and the taste of our food, we want you to feel nourished and healthy after a meal at Roots, we want you to be part of this project as a friend that is always welcome!
We are Roots Restaurant, located in the port town of Lyttelton, Christchurch. We are surrounded by beautiful scenery, incredible food and produce.
This restaurant project started with a big dream and pop up dining made it happen for almost a year. We now have a location and home for our restaurant, a magical garden that includes chickens and a beehive, an open kitchen and a 20 seat dinning room.
Roots holds very special significance to us and we feel proud of how we have started our project, and for this reason we want to share our restaurant with others. We want to continue our pop up dining experience but this time in our own place.
This is not only for food, education is a big part of this journey so the idea is to find a guest chef or a guest speaker to bring culture, innovation, and experience with different points of view to share with our guests.
If you think you are capable of participating, need an avenue to vent your creativity, or simply have a great story to tell the others, then we would like to hear from you. Share our journey and make your dreams a reality. We can talk in more detail over the phone or in person.
Please contact us: 03 3287658 / email@example.com
The Lyttelton Farmers Market has given us the opportunity to participate with our stall to present our creations, the first week we were doing pastrami sandwiches and one customer asked if we could sell the whole loaf we had on the table, the conversation ended with him saying “bread is like any bread”.
Well no, our bread is very different. The sourdough starter is 2 years old all made from grapes and wild yeast, we source our whole wheat flour freshly milled to order from no more 100 km away, our konini wheat is hand picked, sprouted, dehydrated and milled at the moment we make our dough, for the dough we use whey obtained from the ricotta cheese we make ourselves, and a little salt from the New Zealand coast. This is our bread.
Making bread in this way means that it’s easier to digest due to the longer fermentation of more than 24 hrs, it has a natural sweetness because the grain has been brought to life when sprouting and it has a moist texture after being baked.
This bread has it’s own character and is always changing, but all the time delicious.
We know about gluten free, and we know how wheat now is a treat for many people because almost all the wheat has being modified, bleached or changed composition to create an industrialized bread with chemicals, sugars and additives. That’s why we would like people to try or do a research about gluten free allergies and get to know about breads made through a long fermentation process.
At Roots we don’t have a day off or a day at work, we are committed to our project because we live it 100%. Every part of our daily life is linked to the restaurant in different ways. As when we are at the beach enjoying we are looking around to try and find inspiration within our surroundings or just picking from what nature has to offer.
It is amazing the amount of information that has been collected in the last months about food grown locally, and the best of the best is coming from very small producers, they are opening their doors to us and letting us pick what they grow, this is the most important part for us that we can get connected and become ONE with the farmers, understand what they do and transfer the same respect to our guests in the restaurant.
Our garden is more than happy with the summer weather and already harvesting a variety of products, making a big difference. The Garden dish lets our guests taste every single leaf and flower, warm and cold textures and fermented vegetables. One of the highlights of our daily foraging walk is the Kawakawa fruit we collect from the single tree we know in Lyttelton, not many new zealanders know about this native plant so they are more than impressed.
When people ask about what food style we do, we respond that we are an ingredient-product base kitchen, I mean that the base of our menu is not driven by a food culture, first is the ingredient and its flavor/texture that take our creativity to create a dish that we feel will be a good pairing for the other ingredients and our drinks menu.
Driven to be sustainable we are focusing a lot of our efforts in finding products like long line caught fish or farmed, as well as by catch product like squid, skate and mackerel, for us it is impossible to under rate an animal that when fresh and cooked properly tastes so delicious that our guests ask for the recipe.
At Roots many things are different and probably for many people out of the norm. We know that and we consider what we do very special. Dinning with us is a moment when people let go their own ideologies and concepts about food to submit to nature’s offer and our cooking technique.
Feel free when you come through our door, liberate your senses when you sit and relax in our garden and be amazed with our food. We are conscious in the way we do things and we can talk about the reasons of why our food is done in that way.
What’s in your head? Do you want to develop a food project, but you don’t have the space? Feel free now…
Dreams, ideas, thoughts… are just the sparkle of new energy that if the thinking process continues the outcome could be amazing or a disaster but that’s the point of trial and error, and with that we can learn something new.
We had the amazing opportunity to open our restaurant and that is why we would like to share this space with everyone who wants to free their mind and improve their skills. I Have decided to open Roots kitchen for anyone who is interested in creating or just researching anything related to food.
Let’s stay connected.
It has been a great year, and 2013 is just in less than a week.
We continue our journey to present the best of nature’s produce and amazing things we have found so far since we opened. We are getting our seafood just within a few hours out of the water straight from the boat at the Lyttelton harbour, organic beef and merino lamb from Darfield, Venison from North Canterbury, summer produce is always colorful, all the berries are ripening on the plant and picked daily, with the strong sun of the last weeks the chlorophyl in our greens is going up to the sky to reach the energy. Our bees are loving their new environment and preparing honey to be collected for the next year. There are 15 heirloom tomato varieties in the garden , we have put them in the best sections to get most of the heat during the day, these plants are making me nervous, they look very healthy so I think we are going to have such a crop that I am already putting ideas in my head to see what we are going to make with the fruit.
One thing that makes us different is the drink list, with kombucha being unknown for many it becomes a love after the first try. Nick developing the wine list and Christy presenting it to the customers has made us more knowledgable about sensorial taste and how we can pair with food. Beers are not left behind with some inclusions in our pairings.
We tried our first salami… maybe out of curiosity to see how it tastes… very good, and we are sure that with the time it will develop only a better flavor every time. Adrian is preparing bresaola, pancetta and prosciutto for 2013, as well as our own recipes with the ingredients we source.
Our courtyard – edible garden is ready!!! and beautiful. The energy in that place is taking us to a different world, we love to sit there and enjoy our lives, so many more birds are deciding to make that place their home, so natural music is always on the playlist. Jose has done and incredible job …. that was unimaginable to the untrained eye … with all the waste material he found on site and created functional art. The word waste no longer exists.
Thanks so much to everyone who has been taking part in the experience we are offering at Roots and we are looking forward to a great 2013. We have a lot more work to do, we know there are a lot of great people working the land out there and we want to share more of what we do, we see Roots more than just a restaurant….
The best for all.