Dark, a little brooding and faultless in its theme, Bessie is an immaculate display of fine dining in the inner city. Antlers take the place of coat hooks, while saws, cleavers and skillets hang from the kitchen framing and fur pelts dangle off chairs. Heavy menus are encased in leather and brass edging giving a modern day twist. Long tables, black leather booths and plenty of tables for two, mean the space flawlessly caters to all size groups.
Friendly staff greet you upon arrival and talk you through the menu (they are definitely worth listening to for condiment advice). A bar tucked at the street end provides an elegant area to wait for a table, or simply to start the night with a tipple or two of the fine stuff they keep on the shelves.
Not afraid to show you where your food comes from, Bessie has nearly all the meat options on show in their special dry-aged cabinet which sits pride of place next to the kitchen. The meat hanging here is aged for days in extremely specific conditions (low humidity, low temperature) and is finished off once ordered, in an old Spanish charcoal oven.
What otherwise might be seen as garish and a little shocking, is quietly stylish, the effort having gone into making sure the space is so well presented that the hanging beef is less of an eyesore and more of an awe induced moment. It’s not often animal carcasses are displayed for public viewing, but Bessie makes sure it’s done well.
Keen endorsers of sharing, the larger meat meals are served on chunky wooden blocks with carving knifes tucked underneath. Bessie staff will happily advise you on how to cut your meat.
In a clever move and an obvious push away from the current plant-based eating lifestyle, Bessie caters to those who love meat, and meat done well. Using only Canterbury meat and produce, diners can be sure they’re eating some of the best quality products around. The dark, dimly lit interior lends the whole place a quiet, sophisticated atmosphere where you’re free to enjoy some of Christchurch’s most original fine dining.