“ Address: 728 Colombo Street / Christchurch Central / Christchurch / 8011 / New Zealand „
During our visit to Christchurch we were spoilt for choice for foody places to try during our relatively brief stay. Lonely Planet recommended Mum's for home style food your mum would cook (if you're mum was from Korea, that is). As this sounded like a foreign student frequented, budget kind of place, it sounded exactly up our street and so it was high on our "to do " list. Having hovered around the place several times in anticipation, the time came after a couple of days.
Located in the middle of downtown Christchurch, Mum's can be see from the street from it's red topped awning and big windows which let in lots of light, one of which has a display of plastic food such that you might get in Asia. Bento boxes, mock rice dishes and soups all compete for attention in this pretty display.
Inside on the grey stone floor were about 15 tables for 4, most of these small, square wooden tables with thick legs that would just about seat 4 people, and there were 3 larger tables. A couple of seats were located against the window, joining a Christmas tree as it was November at the time. Although quite close together, the tables never felt cramped and so they were well arranged. To the right of the entrance was a small old style CRT TV hanging from a wall bracket, and below this the specials boards in English. Another TV was against the window about halfway into the room.
The counter was at the back of the restaurant on the right, with a display of wines and spirits behind. Near to the counter to the right was a specials board written in Korean. The back the wall was orange, further to the front it was brown wood at the bottom, curving at the top, painted blue-grey above. Quite a bright, colourful place then. The restaurant was fairly full and busy. The clientele comprising of mostly relatively young people, although there were more mature diners and one Japanese family. I got the impression you could expect pretty much anyone and they would all feel equally at home, so another tick there, as easy listening music played in the background.
The menu had many Japanese and Korean dishes, such as Korean BBQ (from my experience, a kind of thick, spicy marinade), sushi, udon noodles, stews, katsu (breaded meat) and tempura. I felt somewhat spoilt for choice, and felt temped by some of the more unusual dishes on offer. To drink, I ordered an orange juice and Ms Larsbaby a pineapple juice, but they made a mistake and brought 2 orange juices. I don't think we made a fuss as it wasn't a huge issue.
As a starter I ordered a seafood pancake. This came divided into triangular sections but served whole with a sprig of parsley in the middle and a small bowl of soy sauce on the side for dipping. This tasted lovely, the omelette having a quite smooth, batter like texture, soft in the middle with plenty of seafood morsels of prawn, squid and mussel. It was very succulent and not at all greasy.
Ms Larsbaby ordered a sushi starter, which was 6 mixed rolls with a couple of salmon, crab and tuna rolls. These were large pieces, nice and firm with a good taste.
As a main, I ordered Bee Beam Bap, a Korean dish of sliced beef with 6 seasonal vegetables and a fried egg on top, served in a deep bowl, underlaid with boiled rice. The seasonal vegetables in this case were beansprouts, shredded carrot, onion, mushroom potato and cucumber, all in equal amounts. Served as sides were a bowl of miso soup, kimchi (Korean spicy pickled vegetables), beansprouts, shredded cold potato and a sweet chilli sauce in a squeezy bottle. I really liked this dish, which was fairly spicy and very simple, but very interesting with all the different flavours mingling together, with the tender, possibly marinated beef, though perhaps it was a little dry. I found that the sweet chilli sauce helped with this a lot. The miso soup was also nice.
Ms Larsbaby had Chicken Katsu, which was a large portion of breaded chicken cut into strips but arranged as a whole fillet, drizzled with a kind of sweet soy sauce, with some rice on the side topped artistically with 3 peas, with lettuce and shredded carrot on the side, as well as 3 slices of pickled yellow vegetable that tasted somewhat like the ginger you get with sushi. I found the presentation of this really well done. Served on the side was some miso soup. The chicken was very nice, the crisp breadcrumb very tasty and covered with just the right amount of tangy sauce.
Having already got our drinks order wrong, they also managed to forget to serve Ms Larsbaby's main course, and we had to remind them some time later, when I was already tucking into mine. As we watched other diners who arrived after us get their dishes, we knew something was wrong. To be fair to them though, the service was friendly and helpful throughout, and the manager came over to apologise and explain that they had made a mistake, honesty which you have to commend. I guess anyone can make a mistake and it's how they deal with it that's important.
This food here was quite excellent and represented excellent value for money at about $46 (around £21) for a 2 course meal for 2 plus drinks.
The issues with our food and drinks did take the gloss off slightly, but it didn't quite spoilt the experience for us. I would say we were unlucky and recommend this homely establishment, even though I knocked off a star for their mistakes.
Mum's 24 Restaurant
728 Colombo Street,