Providing a fantastic range of deliciously fresh and high-quality food is number one for Blenheim’s CBD Eatery owners Mike and Tania Godsall.
But right up there also is having a great team of staff with bubbly and bright personalities who listen to and provide for their customers’ wants and needs. “We serve great food and have a fantastic team who provide service with a real personal touch,” says Tania.
The Blenheim couple was devastated when its café in The Forum burnt down in February. In a relatively short time, it had become incredibly popular developing its own loyal following, particularly amongst workers in the central business district. In 2018 it was named best café in Marlborough and won the small business and supreme business categories in the Marlborough Chamber of Commerce Business Awards.
That all came crashing down with the fire, then Covid-19, but undeterred, the Godsalls found empty premises in Queen St and set about planning a new eatery. They had to completely fit out and furnish the empty building and customers today are greeted with a slick European-style interior with warm mint walls (matching the coffee cups) and a smart cabinet that beautifully displays their massive range of freshly prepared food.
It was a bit like Phoenix rising from the ashes – the Godsalls knew they had to reopen as quickly as possible and when the chance came to move from The Forum to the next block in Queen St, they didn’t hesitate. “When you are in the hospitality business you can’t sit around and wait and we knew we had to be up and running for summer,” says Mike. “We also had our staff to think of and wanted to get them back to work as soon as we could.”
Their new eatery has a slightly different emphasis to the CBD Café. When they first opened, their plan was to serve gourmet food and barista coffee on a ‘grab and go’ basis. They soon developed a loyal following of people who wanted to sit in and eat and became so popular they started opening Sundays. “You do have to know your market and listen to them,” says Tania. “You don’t do what you think you should, you listen to what your clientele are saying and we did that and evolved and expanded to suit.”
Both Mike and Tania are London City and Guilds trained chefs with Mike spending time in the army and Tania in the air force. Both have cooked for a huge range of people including dignitaries, from fine dining for small numbers through to mass catering. They know food well and their philosophy is to use only the very best ingredients for a wholesome range of gourmet food.
“For example, we could buy cheap cuts of meat but we go to Meaters and get the very best so yes, our prices might be a bit higher but that is because we use the best,” says Mike.
With the bigger premises in Queen St, Mike and Tania are able to offer more in the way of out catering and even have a special corner dedicated to the sale of their very own handmade pantry items such as delectable relish and their famous black sauce. They can offer catering for small through to large events, whether they are weddings, funerals or workplace shouts.
They don’t have a designated menu, much preferring to sit down with people and discuss their wants and needs and budgets.
At CBD Eatery they have a range of gluten-free options as well as freshly prepared salads, sandwiches, bagels, pies, cakes and scones. They are increasingly popular for a brunch or lunch venue but still have fantastic espresso coffee for those who are on the run.