Cafe Food and Wine

A Bespoke Cafe Experience

Written by Margo Berryman

The highly successful downtown Queenstown café Bespoke Kitchen underlines many years of experience and expertise clocked by its owners in the local hospitality industry.

Michelle Freeman, Rae Ellis and Chris Vile are the driving force behind the award-winning Isle Street business with its consistently fresh approach to homestyle dishes, vegan and gluten free offerings and delicious daily baked goods. 

“Small details are very important to us,” says Michelle. “Our entire team puts real effort into creating a welcoming atmosphere for locals and visitors. That’s down to everything we do from the fresh flowers on the tables to well stocked and inviting food cabinets and an efficient coffee service.”

“The outside fire in our garden courtyard is inviting during all seasons and it has always been our mantra to create a warm environment where everyone can feel at home.”

Bespoke Kitchen is open seven days a week from 7.30am – 4.00pm serving an all-day menu, fresh smoothies and juices, organic Allpress coffee, teas and take-out food. While the café is a locals’ favourite the word is also out with visitors.

“Post Covid-19 lockdown last year we were busy with a huge variety of people from university students to other New Zealanders travelling around checking out the country,” says Michelle. “We see our locals every day from road workers to neighbouring medical centre staff and it’s a busy vibe here. Our day starts early in the kitchen from 6.00 and we all love being here.”

The menu changes seasonally and demonstrates the team’s versatility with raw, vegan and gluten free cooking. 

“We are continually tweaking dishes to keep it fresh. Discovering new ingredients keeps things interesting like making our own cashew cheese and vegan benedict sauce which was quite ahead of its time,” she says. 

“People want a whole experience – great coffee, good music, delicious food and a warm, welcoming ambience.”

Urban Oasis

Bespoke Kitchen neighbourhood café, on the edge of Queenstown’s CBD, has developed into a lush, green, urban oasis surrounded by a maturing native garden attracting bellbirds, tuis and bees. 

“The outdoor courtyard is a lovely versatile space encircled by our beautiful and peaceful little garden,” says Rae. “We have bird feeders out there attracting the birds and the garden continues to flourish all year round making it a perfect spot to sit and relax in the sunshine or beside the outdoor fire on cooler days.”

“Our close proximity to the Skyline Mountain Bike Park means bikers coming down can stop and chill out after a day on the trails. Think beers, bikes and some great food while sharing stories of the day’s adventures. There is a bike rack outside and plenty of space to feel refreshed and reinvigorated.”

Bespoke Kitchen’s close proximity to Queenstown makes it an easy location to get to with parking available directly outside the café.

“We recently added a new glasshouse for growing edible herbs and flowers to our back garden area along with a beehive from local supplier Buzzstop with the intention of producing some of our own honey from the garden.

“The courtyard has long tables which are ideal for larger groups and we are dog friendly so people can bring their dogs to the café,” says Rae. “It’s become a complete urban oasis here and a total sweet spot for morning coffee and cake or an afternoon session relaxing in the sun with a glass of beer, kombucha, cider or wine and some of our salty savoury dishes.”

About the author

Margo Berryman