Hataitai’s living room: BambuchiSan & Coolsville Trading Post
Two eateries at the heart of Hataitai village where locals come to meet, eat and perhaps drink a cheeky mid-week cocktail
The best compliment BambuchiSan and Coolsville owner Lindsay Phillips has received was when a customer ran back inside after paying to say, “Thank you so much – that felt like eating in my own living room."
Lindsay opened Coolsville in 2015, back when Hataitai village was mainly takeaway outlets. Originally designed as a coffee spot offering good gluten-free counter and takeaway food, the locals immediately showed Lindsay what they wanted. “On the first day we opened, everyone was standing around by the fridges, drinking their coffee and chatting. Hataitai is such a village – everyone knows everyone.”
Quickly realising that people wanted to sit down and hang out, Lindsay ran out and bought chairs and tables. Six years on, Coolsville has become a community hub where parents meet after the school drop-off, freelancers work on laptops making use of the free Wi-Fi and there’s always at least one dog sitting outside (plus Lindsay’s pooch, Brisket).
An ex-tattoo shop across the road caught Lindsay’s eye and when the lease came up in 2017, she took it over and opened Bambuchi (the ‘San’ came later). Initially, the restaurant had a fine-dining vibe, but Bambuchi’s approach has been adapted over time as Lindsay has gotten to know what Hataitai locals want from their neighbourhood eatery.
The restaurant was named after Smuchi Bambuchi, the owner's husky Labrador cross, and the patio is dog-friendly in his honour
The menu is now much more casual, featuring Japanese-fusion food with some Canadian influences which reflect Lindsay’s British Colombian roots (you’ve got to try the Japoutine – fries topped with miso gravy and mozzarella). There’s a mix of accessible and complex dishes to appeal to families and foodies alike. Plates are made for sharing, and since Lindsay can’t eat gluten, the whole menu is gluten-free. On the drinks side, there’s a fun Asian-inspired cocktail menu, good wine and beer list and you can even bring your own bottle of wine to enjoy with dinner.
Turning the patio out the back into an all-weather space complete with heaters and a roof, has expanded the restaurant and made the garden space popular all year round - and it’s dog-friendly so all members of the family can come for dinner, which is exactly how Lindsay likes it.