Vudu Café and Larder is as much a café icon for locals as it is a popular hot spot for tourists. Situated in the mountainous resort town of Queenstown, partners Michelle freeman, Chris Vile and Rae Ellis opened Vudu as their second café, after the successful venture of long standing café in Beach street, Queenstown of the same name.
Using Melbourne’s café scene as their influence, Vudu Café and Larder showcases a retro, industrial interior, thanks to Michelle’s fine arts degree. She describes the café as “modern, slick and quite cosmopolitan”. Michelle used her creative skills to decorate the space with pendant lights made from preserving jars, old school chairs, green vinyl booth seats, fresh plants, an old oil drum and a huge 1950s aerial photograph of Queenstown. It’s a home away from home,” Michelle says. “It’s quite relaxed and at times buzzing as well. It’s a real visual experience for our customers.”
There is a fresh, local and organic philosophy behind both the food and coffee. Using allpress Coffee, the house blend is organic, which Michelle describes as “smooth, rich and well-rounded.” Michelle says four experienced baristas will serve the best latte they can muster on a La Marzocco, semi-automatic, three-group machine.
Everything except the bread is made on-site and three chefs prepare a menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner that includes a range of gluten-free products. Favourites include a quesadilla, organic porridge, haloumi with honey roasted beetroot and spinach salad and harissa marinated chicken. “We’re always thinking up new ideas, new recipes and new ways to present things,” Michelle says. Vudu Café and Larder also sells a range of New Zealand products and a recipe calendar they produce each year.
The staff are a multicultural bunch with waiters from New Zealand, Australia, England and Ireland. “I love the great staff we have,” Michelle says. “They all make lots of good friends and it adds a great vibe to Vudu and for the customers. It certainly makes it enjoyable to come to work every day.”