It felt very like the end of an era when, in September 2019, the MSA Restaurant closed its doors. But here we are, reopening just 18 months later, following a multi-million dollar rebuild and refurbishment that is very much the talk of the town! And why wouldn’t it be?  

The name, Noble 600, is a nod to the 600 original MSA Club members in the late 1890’s, early 1900’s, when Prohibition was the order of the day. It’s a nice touch – recognition of the past, for this modern, contemporary restaurant.

Open to the public, not just MSA Club members, Noble 600 will fill a much-needed gap for family dining, say MSA president Gary Fransen and trustee Shane Calder. “This is a new chapter for the club, and for Ashburton,” they say. “When it comes to great locations to meet your friends and enjoy a wine, we’re well catered for, but as soon as you mention children, that’s another story. Noble 600 will fill that void in a relaxed, casual and family-friendly setting.”

Entering from Burnett Street, you know you’re in for a treat before you even step inside. Noble 600’s striking black and white building promises a fantastic dining experience.

Upstairs, the complex includes a billiard room, offices and a function room; downstairs is the bar, restaurant and more functions rooms, and it’s the restaurant I’m most keen to discover.

The main dining room seats around 90 diners, but somehow manages to still feel intimate. Dining tables, bar leaners and comfy couches make up the internal seating options, all cleverly divided with the use of low walls and plants. It’s open and spacious with a really warm and welcoming vibe.  There’s also an exterior courtyard with retractable roof which will be perfect for weekend lunches and brunches, and evening dining once spring and summer roll around again.

Noble 600 has an experienced crew on board. Working Executive Chef, ???? and the talented crew have created a menu of very tempting tasters, classic mains with just enough variety to make the choice difficult, and my favourite – a delicious dessert menu that provides the perfect finishing touch to a most enjoyable occasion out.

Just glancing through, there’s a strong clue to the Noble 600 food philosophy throughout the menu.  It’s a very ingredient-focused offering with broad appeal and includes an excellent children’s menu.  As much as possible, ingredients are sourced locally, so its high quality, fresh and full of flavour.

With full table service, a great atmosphere, wonderful selection of beers, wines and spirits and family-friendly pricing, this is a unique and modern family dining experience.

The combined spaces could seat 200, catering for large groups and functions with ease, and there are plans to extend this capacity even further.  

If you’re feeling a bit snacky or thirsty, the bar has an extensive drinks list and smaller bites to eat too.

The MSA Club currently has close to 4,000 members and there are expectations that this will increase rapidly, as the new restaurant and other facilities such as the Super Liquor bottle store and TAB, become more widely used. “We see this as quickly becoming the social hub of Ashburton,” they say. “The club has a minimal joining fee, and so much to offer in terms of member discounts, interest groups and outings, regular entertainment and more.”

Behind the scenes, the executive and trustees of the MSA Club are fired up about the upcoming opening.  “Aside from a Covid curveball or two, Noble 600 has remained very much on track, thanks in no small part to the team at Bradfords. It’s been a colossal job pulling it all together, but now that we’re here, we can’t wait to open the doors and share it with the Ashburton public.”

Noble 600 will be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner providing the perfect setting to relax and enjoy the company of friends and family, but be warned, this is guaranteed to be a popular eatery, so book ahead.

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Judy McAuliffe is a writer, and publisher Essence Mid Canterbury. Her experience in media is extensive and includes approximately 15 years as Creative Director for The Radio Network, writing, and managing the writing of radio advertising, mainly in Invercargill and Greymouth. In the late 1990’s she transferred to Christchurch, moving into an Account Management role with 91ZM. In 2007 she and a business partner set up Essence Mid Canterbury, very quickly adapting her radio-writing skills to print media. Judy became sole owner of Essence Mid Canterbury in June 2014. Judy is a ‘people person’ and has found her niche writing feature stories about the community she lives in and the people who live there. She is also available for freelance writing assignments.