A Chat with Emma Mettrick, Co-Owner and Operator of Twenty Seven Steps

Emma and Paul 27 Steps


What’s the story behind Twenty Seven Steps?

Paul Howells (chef) and I met working in Ireland in 2007. On our return to New Zealand we set up a small restaurant in Akaroa in 2009. With our son approaching school age and sentimentality to return to Christchurch post-quakes, we searched for the perfect site. Twenty Seven Steps opened almost five years ago on New Regent Street and was the culmination of the many places Paul and I had worked over the years.

What is special about Twenty Seven Steps? What kind of atmosphere do you cultivate?

We are a classic restaurant, no theme, offering honest food. We welcome you with bread; meals are complete with no need for sides. Everything is ethically sourced and local. We want people to feel welcome.

Whilst we have extensive knowledge about the products and wine we provide, it really is about providing what the customer wants, to ensure they leave completely satisfied. Whilst we may think the beef fillet is better served rare, if you want it well done, we are here to provide the best well-done steak! (And of course rare, if that’s what you want!)

What kind of food and drink do you specialise in?

We have described our food as rustic and European-inspired in the past, and this is at the root of what we do. Food is well-sourced and local, with flavour at the forefront.

We have a large wine list, with 50% of our glass pours being from North Canterbury. Our motto is to serve food and wine we love, and that’s grown, created, and/or provided by people we love.

What’s your favourite dish?

Our soups are always delicious. We serve them in either a teacup or a bowl, and no matter what flavour is on the blackboard, I recommend trying it.

Also, the quality of our venison sourced by the Merchant of Venison is incredible. It melts. We first met James (Merchant of Venison) as a customer in Akaroa, and the relationship has continued.

How has the Covid-19 crisis affected your restaurant? Have you made any changes in the aftermath of the crisis?

I guess in weird way it has re-focussed our attention. We had been doing really well and it has made us realise we were taking the restaurant’s success… not for granted, but I guess not appreciating it as much as we do currently. Times are tough for many, so it is a real compliment when people choose to spend their money with us.

We have added some more comfort-food options for winter, such as the pork cheek, and a value dine-and-dash option for early or mid-week dining.

But, we have also stayed who we are and have been over the last 10 years. We truly just want to keep doing what we are doing. It is what we love

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