Riverstone Cuisine finalist again

June 18, 2012

North  Otago’s Riverstone Kitchen is a finalist in Cuisine’s restaurant of the year again.

It won the supreme award two years ago and was the regional winner last year.

The food and service are equal to any I’ve had anywhere in the world and it’s continuing success in these awards show it’s not justparochial people like me who thinks so.

It specialises in simple, fresh food, much of which is grown on the property or near by.

If you can’t get there in person, you could get a taste of what they serve via chef Bevan Smith’s recipe books.

The 50 finalists are:

Northland
Á Deco

Auckland
Antoine’s RestauranT, Café HanoI, Cibo, Clooney, Cocoro, Coco’s Cantina, Depot! District Dining, Ebisu, Kitchen at Hotel De Brett, Merediths, MooChowChow, O’Connell Street Bistro, Ponsonby Road Bistro, Roxy, Sidart, Soul Bar and Bistro, The Engine Room, The French Café, The Grill, The Grove, TriBeCa, Vinnie

Waikato/BOP
Palate, Chim-Choo-Ree, Victoria Street Bistro

Hawkes Bay
Black Barn Bistro, Elephant Hill Estate & Winery, Terroir at Craggy Range

Wellington
Ambeli, Arbitrageur, Capitol, Hippopotamus, Logan Brown, Martin Bosley’s! Matterhorn, Ortega Fish Shack & Bar, The Larder, The White House

Marlborough/ Nelson
Hopgood

Canterbury/ Christchurch
Edesia, Pegasus Bay Winery Restaurant,  Pestacore

South Canterbury/ Oamaru *
Riverstone Kitchen

Central Otago
Amisfield Bistro, Wai, Wakatipu Grill

Dunedin
Pier 24, Two Chefs Bistro

Cuisine profiles them all here.
* I think South Canterbury/Oamaru is a category not a geographical mistake.

Hip, funky, hot and cool

April 3, 2012

Last month Cuisine listed Oamaru as one of the 25 hippest places in the world, this month AA Directions reckons it’s funky:

‘Character’ according to the dictionary is the quality of being individual, typically in an interesting or unusual way. With that definition in mind, we went in search of New Zealand towns with genuine character, towns with strong, distinct personalities. Here’s what we found…

Walk the cobbled streets of Oamaru’s heritage precinct outside school hours, and there’s a good chance of spotting the fugitive sky pirate, Sir Livin Hope, or a small girl carrying a case full of deadly ray guns.

These are characters who reside in the weird and wonderful world of Steampunk – an imagined Victorian future where electricity fizzled out and steam remained king.

Some call it science fiction, others an alternative history. It’s a style of dress, a form of art and, for a select few, a way of life. However it’s defined, one thing is certain: Steampunk is alive and well in Oamaru.

It all started two years ago, with a beer mug. . .

Stempunk is fascinating and fun, think art meets science mixed with history and fantasy.

It’s as small as a piece of jewellery or as large as a steam train which rewards those who feed it with $2 coins with a light and sound show:

Steampunk isn’t the only thing that’s hot down here, via Oamaru Life I discovered that wine blogger Robert Giorgione asks if Waitaki could be the next wine hot spot:

Before we proceed any further, I know exactly what you’re thinking right now. Who or what the hell is Waitaki? More to the point – where is Waitaki, more like? To put it plainly and simply, the Waitaki Valley (a.k.a Waitaki) is a very small wine region out in the middle of nowhere in New Zealand. Or as Kiwis would say – “it’s out in the woop woops mate!” In fact, I passed through this remote and picturesque little piece of bush in 2004 during my road trip around the South Island. . .

Passing quickly over the phrase which is not woop wopps but wop wops and the quibble that there’s little if any bush left in the valley, his praise is welcome recognition of the valley’s growing wine industry.

The Waitaki Valley isn’t the easiest place in which to grow grapes, but the wine which results from those who persevere has a growing reputation for its quality.


Tourist hot-spots and hot tourist spots

March 1, 2012

There are tourist hot spots and there are hot tourist spots.

The hot-spots are the ones most people know about and where most tourists will be directed by travel agents.

The hot tourist spots are often less well known and none the less attractive for that. Among these is Oamaru and its hinterland and it’s not just parochial people like me who think so.

In this month’s 25th anniversary issue of Cuisine Amanda Hyde lists 25 of the hippest destinations.

Only two of the hip destinations are in New Zealand – one of those is the Te Araroa Trail, the other is the Waitaki Valley and Oamaru.

 Want your holiday to come with spectacular scenery, good food, top wine and cute penguins? Head to New Zealand’s Waitaki Valley.

Oamaru’s beautiful historic stone buildings will transport you back several centuries – complete the illusion with morning tea at Annie’s Victorian Tea Rooms, where you’ll be served leaf tea and homemade cakes by staff dressed in period costume.

Steampunk HQ continues the historic vibe – through art, music, film and machines, it imagines a world where steam power is king.

The region is also home to the renowned Riverstone Kitchen, Fleurs Place and The Loan & Merc, as well as a host of vineyards and, of course, the blue penguin colony. visitoamaru.co.nz

The ODT and Oamaru Mail have more on the story.

If you want to learn more about the area’s charms, have a look at Oamaru Life. This is the blog written by the owner of Pen-y-bryn Lodge, a  five star, category-one historic residence. He has travelled widely and lived in many different exotic locations but is now pleased and proud to call Oamaru home.


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