Cafe Food and Wine Wanaka

New Direction for Wanaka’s Alchemy Cafe

Written by Margo Berryman

Support and patronage from the Wānaka community has been integral to the growth of Alchemy Café since owner Claire Dice took over the waterfront premises last year.

“ This is probably the single most important factor that keeps us in business and keeps us loving what we do. We like knowing what our regulars order and their favourite places to sit which makes the café feel very much like our home. There is an incredibly supportive network of hospitality people here and Mo McKenzie,  the owner of the Trout Bar next door, has been a beacon of support.”

Claire purchased Alchemy Café last year while on holiday in Wānaka  after being made redundant from her corporate job in Hong Kong.

“I was very keen to get my boys into school here and it all just fell into place at the right time. We recently renovated the café interior, increased the kitchen size and built a new bar. We are fortunate to have one of the best views in Wānaka overlooking the lake, making it a very welcoming and picturesque spot to sip cocktails, enjoy sharing platters and soak up the views.”

Alchemy prides itself on offering a relaxed, family friendly vibe with a warm and cosy atmosphere. There is a selection of freshly made cabinet food and daily baked goods alongside a seasonal menu. 

“ Our new head chef is Daryl Higgs and his menus have been getting rave reviews which is a testament to the creative energy he puts into the food served here. We have a very hardworking team dedicated to the café.” 

Claire says their coffee is a definite highlight.

“We serve Hummingbird coffee which I think is some of the best in Wānaka and we are incredibly proud of our baristas who make it. They have been developing some new coffee concoctions including cold drip coffee blends and spirulina lattes.”

Alchemy is open 8.00am until 3.00pm from Sunday to Wednesday and from Thursday to Saturday from 8.00am until late.

“ Customers have to be early for our cinnamon scrolls and delicious cheese scones that often sell out before Wānaka11.00am. Our vegan and gluten free cabinet food changes daily,” says Claire. “The breakfast taco dish and new vegan tofu chilli scramble is popular as is the  crispy pork belly salad and roasted cauliflower bowl which are locals’ favourites. On Thursdays we run a dining special where two people can dine for $69.”

Alchemy Café is not just a café but also a wine bar which Claire is evolving and sourcing interesting wines, as a key point of difference.

“ People can come here for breakfast, lunch or dinner but it’s also the perfect place for sundowners and cocktails while taking in this amazing location. We purposely placed the bar at the front of the café so guests can sit back, relax and soak up the views.”

The last 12 months have been a whirlwind of activity for Claire since moving her family to Wānaka and taking on her new life at Alchemy.

“ Happy customers, returning customers and great reviews have been some of the highlights of the past year reinforced by the engaging and friendly service our front of house and kitchen staff deliver. But, above all we have been overwhelmed and are very thankful for the support from all our local customers.”

About the author

Margo Berryman