Hosting people, a love of animals, and plant-based food are the three key pillars of Sumner’s latest vegan café, Bonobo, owned by Deane Simmonds and his partner Annelies Basten.
Opened just last week, the café is a fundraiser for the couple’s long-term goal of opening their own animal sanctuary.
The café’s renovation has transformed the Marriner St corner in Sumner, which Simmonds and Basten drove past for years, playing with ideas of reinvigorating the space. Now, they are proud of how the corner looks.
Using only plant-based ingredients, the menu features common meals with a vegan twist.
A few of the menu's headliners include a homemade burger on focaccia bread, crispy tofu bites, and a specialist selection of smoothies.
Sumner’s locals have embraced the food, with the couple being overwhelmed with the support since opening.
Simmonds used to work for ChristchurchNZ, and Basten was a fundraiser for animal charities before opening the café.
Both Simmonds and Basten’s son and daughter are found running about the café, waiting tables and helping out. The café is also pet-friendly.
After leasing the building in June, the couple cleaned, painted and redeveloped the café, keeping its footprint the same but changing the cosmetics.
They have also applied for a liquor licence to operate longer hours in summer, with outdoor seating, cocktails and wine.
The plan for five to six years from now is for the café to raise enough money to buy land, create a sanctuary and rescue farm animals.