Queenstown cafe sets the bar


A new Queenstown cafe has been named New Zealand’s best.

Brecon Street’s Bespoke Kitchen was only opened in June. Now it has swept an annual competition sanctioned by the Restaurant Association of New Zealand.

Owner Rae Ellis says she and her business partners are thrilled with the recognition for their latest venture.

Bespoke Kitchen was started by Ellis, Michelle Freeman and Chris Vile – the owners of Vudu Cafe and Vudu Cafe & Larder.

Ellis: “We loved the space up there; we’re always looking around to see what’s going on and we liked [it] – it’s a wee bit out of the way and it’s a lovely, sunny spot.

“It was just an overflow from Vudu Larder really – we just kind of wanted to test out some new things we’ve been working on, so it [the business] came up and we grabbed it.”

The cafe was inundated yesterday with customers popping in to check out New Zealand’s best.

Bespoke Kitchen won New Zealand Cafe of the Year and Best Suburban Cafe from 700 entrants. 

In the competition, cafes are judged on a range of factors including atmosphere and appearance, menus, meals and coffee, service and staff interaction and overall impression.

Cafe of the Year head judge Kerry Tyack says the name “Bespoke” cleverly and accurately describes the business.

“A thoughtful and thoroughly user-friendly layout combines with an equally considered menu to provide cafe aficionados with a world-class experience. The judging team was impressed with all aspects of the superb service and the coffee was unmatched.

“Best of all, Bespoke Kitchen delivered consistent quality in every respect including counter food offerings, reading material and menu choice.”

The Bespoke menu is, as much as possible, organic – including coffee roasted in Dunedin – with raw and vegan options supplementing traditional cafe staples, as well as a stand-alone bar for “espressoholics”.

Included in the prize package is a $40,000 editorial package in Dish magazine, a Great Cafes of Melbourne tour, valued at $10,000 and use of a Renault Kangoo vehicle for a year.

Other winners were Red Shed Palazzo (Drury) and The Clareville Bakery Cafe (Carterton), joint winners of the Best Rural Cafe; Elizabeth Cafe & Larder (Tauranga), winner of the Best Metro CBD cafe; Sweet Vanilla Kitchen (Lower Hutt), which won Classic Kiwi Cafe; and Nick’s Cafe (Waiuku, Auckland) which won the People’s Choice Award.

Otago Daily Times