Nectar Espresso Bar & Cafe

by Insiders Dunedin

Right in the heart of the Exchange is Nectar Espresso Bar & Cafe. Located on the edge of the warehouse precinct, it’s a cafe that was established over 7 years ago for the change we see happening in that area of town now.  

We caught up with owner / operator Steve Calvert to find out more about the cafe and why it is a popular choice for many working and residing in that part of town. Steve has an extensive background in hospitality having worked for the past eighteen years in the industry. His passion for making great espresso and quality café-style food began after landing a job in one of Dunedin's early cafes, Sirens Espresso back in 1998.  

Working for four years in bars and cafés in London and Edinburgh provided further insight into the industry and provided increased motivation for Steve to open his own cafe.  On returning to their hometown, Steve and his wife, Bushie knew they wanted to open a café in the Exchange, as they could see the beginnings of redevelopment and rejuvenation in the area and were excited when they found the vacant space that was to become Nectar. Having identified that they wanted their café to be initially focused on serving the business people of Dunedin they did some research to find out the whereabouts of those people and it became apparent that there was a large number of offices in the buildings within the Exchange. Even seven and a half years ago it was no surprise to find so many people in that area after considering the buildings that surround it; John Wickliffe House, Phillip Lang House, Cargill House and Consultancy House, just to name a few.  

Right from the outset, the couple always wanted to be part of rejuvenating the area of town around the Exchange. They wanted to be the first major / modern cafe in the area, serving the best espresso and although Nectar began with Monday-Friday hours, that quickly extended to being open every day and incorporating a weekend brunch into their menu. They have created an amazing space with three distinct levels, a corporate look with a warm and friendly atmosphere as well as an outside courtyard, the perfect place to escape the office for a quick coffee on those #dunnerstunners. The interior of the café with the exposed brick walls and wooden floors makes you feel as though you have been transported to a different city, when walking through Nectar’s doors for the first time.     

More recently, Nectar has been supportive of all the initiatives put forward to improve the area. They have been vocal enthusiasts of the Street Art, Dunedin Heritage Fund and the redevelopment of the old Chief Post Office, directly across the road from the cafe.

In regard to Nectar's food, there are a number of options and prices for breakfast, brunch or lunch. The food is fresh, locally produced and cooked to a high standard in their basement kitchen. They serve amazing coffee using popular Coffee Supreme beans, and their cabinet food is always evolving.  They have become renowned for their in-house smoked salmon as well as their subtly flavoured rye bread, baked fresh each morning on site. The menu has some tried and true favourites but they have recently introduced weekly specials that have created some crowd favourites. The recent beef burger with oven baked chips was so well received by customers it’s going to be added to the menu as a permanent item. The venue is also fully licensed, and they stock a quality selection of New Zealand craft beers and wine. 

If you are looking for a new venue for that next meeting or a change of scene for your weekend brunch, then you should definitely consider Nectar. It is closer to the Octagon than many people realise and sits in a beautiful part of the city surrounded by incredible, historic buildings.  Perfect for meetings, lunch dates and morning coffees and also available for corporate functions in the evenings. Amazing food, great coffee and excellent service makes this place hard to walk past. 

Be sure to pop in and try one of their classic menu items, a freshly prepared cabinet dish or the always delicious weekly special.

Open from 7am till 4:30pm Monday to Friday and 8am till 3pm on Saturday and Sunday. 

Find Nectar at 286 Princes Street


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