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Transforming The Christchurch Café Scene

30 January 2003

Taking advantage of what must be the city's premier location, the Christchurch Art Gallery's new café/restaurant will draw from a broad range of local elements in the creation of a unique dining experience.

Alchemy Café and Wine Bar is a key feature of the new Gallery, introducing activity and entertainment to the foyer, forecourt and Sculpture Garden at the main entrance to the facility. Sited on the southwest corner of the Gallery, with both Worcester Boulevard and Montreal Street facings, Alchemy will offer indoor and outdoor seating for over 250, as well as a separate bar area.

The café/restaurant, which will open just prior to the Gallery in early May, will be operated by Bistro in the Gallery Limited, headed by Managing Director Glyn Batten. Mr Batten has over 20 years experience in the hospitality industry, running high quality food and beverage operations around the world, including Christchurch's Crowne Plaza.

Glyn Batten says the café, which was integrated into the original design by project architects The Buchan Group, will provide a distinctive meeting point for visitors to the Gallery and surrounding cultural precinct, as well as an exceptional dining experience in its own right.

"Alchemy Café and Wine Bar will cater to a broad range of tastes and occasions, offering a comfortable environment for anything from a casual coffee or snack through to a quality a la carte meal," says Glyn Batten.

"The menu, setting and even lighting will create a progression from casual café atmosphere in the daytime to sophisticated evening dining, while the bar has been designed to have a separate and very unique identity."

"We have focused on creating a style and flavour that will have wide appeal, both to local people and national and international visitors."

Glyn Batten says a major part of that appeal will derive from a menu made up of the best Canterbury ingredients, put together using the creativity for which New Zealand chefs have become famous.

"We have a reputation for the finest fresh produce in Canterbury. There are very few places in the world that could offer the diverse range of quality food that is grown within a 100km radius of the Christchurch Art Gallery."

In addition to fine food and wine, Glyn Batten says Alchemy will work alongside the Gallery to create a variety of entertainments reflecting the character of the site and the content of the exhibitions. The staff too will be able to provide guests with information about the Gallery and the works displayed.

"Working alongside the Gallery is a fantastic opportunity. There are so many people who are completely committed to the success of this project - to making the whole thing work - which creates a real enthusiasm for getting our part of it exactly right."

"We're offering a great product in the best location in Christchurch."

For further information:

Glyn Batten
Managing Director
The Bistro in the Gallery Limited
03 351 1516 or 025 985 846

Jo Scully or Gerard Blank
Glass Tower Strategic Communications
03 365 1445 or 0274 303 050

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