Saturday, 11 August 2018


Suzy's Coffee Lounge used to be in Willis Street just down from the Willis and Manners Streets corner. I remember this in the late 1960s through the mid 1970s although I believe it started up earlier in the 60s and lasted to the 80s.

The 'lounge' was classy in that it had been architecturally designed with a distinct modern European look quite different from the other tea shops and cafes of the day. It was on two levels with a mezzanine upper level. I remember that it was small with a long and narrow room that never really seemed cramped due no doubt to the design and the decor which was 'artsy' and minimalistic.

Suzy (Suzy van der Kwast) was Dutch and a lot older than me to the point that I found her a little intimidating. She was tall and strikingly good looking and had a sophisticated air different to most other restaurant and cafe proprietors (except for the scary harridan at a French-themed restaurant around the Thorndon area).

Old Bruce Campbell my boss at Murray Roberts and Co fancied Suzy and would fawn over her when she visited. He would usher his 'boys' into carrying Suzy's wine and spirit purchases to her car where we would line up to receive a 50 cent piece each for our troubles. Very Dickensian.

Another reason I liked Suzy's Coffee Lounge was that it offered much more interesting food than the others in the area. It had, I think, the first salad bar with more interesting fare than prawn cocktails and shredded lettuce salads. The Dutch and other European cakes and pastries seemed quite exotic.


So why the Suzy's reminiscence?

Well one 'salad' that I would buy often was a cold beef dish like cubes of curried meat mixed through with rice and some julienned vegetable. It was stunning and I sometimes think of this and try to recreate the recipe but have never mastered it. Some things have to remain in the past I guess like the outstanding buttered toast that could be had at the Paramount tearooms in Courtenay Place. This was  toast made from huge slabs of bread - bigger than normally available from the shops and toasted under a big grill.


I think I'd better go and make some brunch. 


Richard (of RBB) said...

Do you remember the Case Fontana not far from the library. It was huge and always empty at night. Tony and I used to go there to try to pick up girls. Okay, we had many single nights.


Yes, the Casa.
The staff there probably thought that Tony and you were a couple.


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