When I’m heading off on holiday, one of the first things I like to do is research interesting places to eat. Some people might like museums, or hiking, or shopping, but I just really like eating so I try to incorporate it into my travel plans as much as possible!
When I headed to Nelson (great little town at the top of the South Island – Jetstar fly there now so there’s no reason not to go!) last month I did my research and came across Crusoe’s Cafe and Bar in Stoke. Promising a mostly gluten free menu as well as a separate Paleo/Low Carb High Fat menu, I knew I had to visit. Crusoe’s Cafe and Bar is located about 8km from the town of Nelson, but it’s also super close to the airport so easy to get to on your way to or from your flight. When I arrived at about 1.30 the lunchtime rush had been and gone, so I got to enjoy the beautiful sun-drenched courtyard and lovely herb and vegetable garden mostly to myself.
I was able to chat with the owners – Anat and Rami – and find out why they were so focused on providing food for special diets. They moved over here from Israel and found their bodies couldn’t cope with the processed foods and different flours we have in New Zealand, so they went gluten free and created their cafe menu to match. Not only that, they are more than happy to talk to anyone about food allergies or personal diet preferences and adapt their dishes to suit.
Then, about five months ago, they decided to try the LCHF diet which led them to create a separate menu for Paleo/LCHF eaters. Three deep fryers in the kitchen keep everything separate, and Ramy’s commitment to providing dishes that suit strict diets is impressive.
So onto the food! I got the Open Chicken Sandwich which was described as Mediterranean style marinated grilled chicken breast served with red wine poached pear and fresh salad on Housemade paleo bread. Accompanied by Kumara fries & Housemade olive oil Aioli. If you’re following an alcohol-free paleo diet you can of course omit the poached pear, but I went for it as red wine is a healthy alcohol option (read more about our thoughts on alcohol on a paleo diet here).
It was delicious. The chicken was tender, juicy, and perfectly cooked. The kumara fries were perfectly crunchy, and the poached pear was flavoursome but not too rich. The aioli was some of the best I’ve ever had, and nicely complemented both the kumara fries and the chicken. It was filling – but who wants to leave a cafe hungry?! I was also treated to a bubble tea (made using basil seeds!) which was incredibly refreshing on a hot summer’s day.
If you’re in Nelson I highly recommend you add Crusoe’s Cafe and Bar to your list of places to eat at. An afternoon in their beautiful courtyard eating delicious and healthy food is time well spent.