Riverstone features in Cuisine awards again

June 10, 2014

Riverstone Kitchen, the first regional restaurant to win Cuisine’s restaurant of the year, features in the awards again this year as runner-up for the regional award.

Auckland fine-diner Sidart is Cuisine’s Restaurant of the Year 2014, heading off a string of strong contenders in the highest restaurant count in the 10-year history of the awards.

Winners of the prestigious Cuisine NZ Good Food Awards, held in association with Vittoria Coffee, were announced last night at a glitzy who’s who of the restaurant industry at St-Matthew-in-the-City.

Sidart also took out the title of Sanpellegrino Best Metropolitan Restaurant, with head judge Kerry Tyack describing the degustation-only menu of inspirational and innovative chef Sid Sahrawat as “art on a plate”.

The picture-perfect presentation of superbly flavoured dishes, a complementary drinks list and seamless service made dining at Sidart an experience to be savoured in every way, Tyack says. “Good chefs never stand still – they continuously experiment, evolve and adjust. Over the past year, Sid Sahrawat’s food at Sidart has come into its own and truly excelled.”

Adds Cuisine editor Sarah Nicholson, “This year it’s been tougher than ever before to create a dining experience that stands out from the exceptional group of restaurants in New Zealand. Sid Sahrawat’s food is clever and technical, and looks amazing, but at the end of the day it is absolutely delicious, and that is the most important thing.”

Sixteen new eateries made the cut in the nationwide awards this year, with the total number of coveted chef’s hats increasing to 30 from 2013’s twenty.

The Grove, plus its buzzing new Italian offspring Baduzzi, earned executive chef Benjamin Bayly the title of Vittoria Coffee Chef of the Year. Baduzzi was crowned American Express Best Specialist Restaurant, with Wellington’s popular Ortega Fish Shack & Bar the runner-up.

Nic Watts’ chic Japanese eatery Masu at Auckland’s SkyCity was named Electrolux Best New Restaurant, with the intimate Roots in Lyttelton as runner-up.

The KitchenAid Best Regional Restaurant title went to the smart, laid-back Chim Choo Ree in Hamilton, with North Otago’s awards stalwart Riverstone Kitchen the runner-up. The House of Travel Best Winery Restaurant was Hawke’s Bay’s elegant Elephant Hill, with Central Otago’s picturesque Amisfield Bistro the runner-up.

Proprietor Chris Upton’s long-standing dedication to wine service earned Auckland’s O’Connell Street Bistro the Negociants New Zealand Best Wine Experience award, a new category this year, and the captivating Mojo Horiuchi, manager-sommelier at Auckland’s Kazuya, was named European Foods Restaurant Personality of the Year.

Find full profiles of the winners and other successful restaurants in the Cuisine NZ Good Food Awards 2014 on cuisinegoodfoodguide.co.nz, or get the Cuisine Good Food Guide 2014 free with the July issue of Cuisine, on sale 16 June 2014.

Cuisine NZ Good Food Awards 2014 winners:

RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR 2014: Sidart, Auckland

Vittoria Coffee Chef of the Year: Benjamin Bayly, Baduzzi and The Grove, Auckland

Sanpellegrino Best Metropolitan Restaurant: Sidart, Auckland

KitchenAid Best Regional Restaurant: Chim Choo Ree, Hamilton
Runner-up: Riverstone Kitchen, North Otago

Electrolux Best New Restaurant: Masu, Auckland
Runner-up: Roots, Lyttelton

American Express Best Specialist Restaurant: Baduzzi, Auckland
Runner-up: Ortega Fish Shack & Bar, Wellington

House of Travel Best Winery Restaurant: Elephant Hill, Hawke’s Bay
Runner-up: Amisfield Bistro, Central Otago

European Foods Restaurant Personality of the Year: Mojo Horiuchi, Kazuya, Auckland

Negociants New Zealand Best Wine Experience: O’Connell Street Bistro, Auckland

2014 Hat recipients
Scores out of 20 determine a restaurant’s hat rating. One hat is considered very good, two hats are great to excellent and three hats (18-20) mean a restaurant is consistently amazing and among the best of the best.

3 HATS
Clooney, Auckland
Sidart, Auckland
The French Café, Auckland
The Grove, Auckland

2 HATS
Baduzzi, Auckland
Kazuya, Auckland
Logan Brown, Wellington
Masu, Auckland
Merediths, Auckland
The Grill by Sean Connolly, Auckland

1 HAT
Amisfield Bistro, Queenstown
Bracu, Auckland
Cazador, Auckland
Charley Noble, Wellington
Chim Choo Ree, Hamilton
Depot, Auckland
Elephant Hill, Hawke’s Bay
O’Connell Street Bistro, Auckland
Orphans Kitchen, Auckland
Ortega Fish Shack & Bar, Wellington
Ortolana, Auckland
Pegasus Bay, Waipara, North Canterbury
Pescatore, Christchurch
Ponsonby Road Bistro, Auckland
Rata, Otago
Riverstone Kitchen, Oamaru
Roots, Christchurch
Soul Bar & Bistro, Auckland
Taylors on Jackson, Petone
The Larder, Wellington

One of the benefits of tourism and provincial development is the improvement in the quality of food in smaller towns.

In North Otago we’ve got Riverstone Kitchen just north of Oamaru,  Fleurs Place at Moeraki to the south and in Oamaru for the finest of dining there’s Pen-y-Bryn Lodge.

Portside, at the harbour and Northstar are also worth a visit and for more casual dining Fat Sally’s is also good.

There’s others featured here.


Gingerbread cathedral

December 4, 2013

Oamaru’s  award-winning Pen-y-Bryn Lodge has many claims to fame including its category A listed historic house, its gourmet meals and its warm hospitality.

It is also has a reputation for the annual gingerbread creations which co-owners James Boussy and James Glucksman have been making since 1997.

This year’s was unveiled today:

The Oamaru Mail has another photo.


Oamaru gingerbread house in WSJ

November 30, 2013

There’s a little piece of Oamaru in the Wall Street Journal:

Hot properties Home Sweet Home is a slide show on gingerbread houses.

One of those featured is magnificent castle crafted by the owners of Oamaru’s  Pen-y-bryn Lodge, about which the WSJ says:

VAST LABYRINTHINE CASTLE | Fairy-tale gorging at its finest! Many tasty turrets; 87 bedrooms, most with partial views of exhausted bakers. Includes marzipan support staff.


Pen-y-bryn Qualmark Luxury Lodge

August 30, 2013

Oamaru’s historic Pen-y-bryn Lodge has been named Qualmark’s second ‘New Zealand Luxury Lodge’ in a new quality assurance category launched earlier this year in conjunction with Luxury Lodges of New Zealand.

Pen-y-bryn has joined the ranks of lodges that have earned this distinction through membership of a handful of international luxury hotel groups.

To achieve its latest distinction, Pen-y-bryn Lodge was visited by two Qualmark assessors who spent a night at the property, enjoying the full lodge experience including a gourmet dinner and guest activities.

Built in 1889 for Oamaru businessman John Bulleid, who gave the building its Welsh name meaning ‘On Top of the Hill’, the exclusive property features five ensuite guest rooms overlooking historic Oamaru and the coast.

Co-owner and Pen-y-bryn Lodge host James Glucksman said he and co-owner James Boussy were “delighted” to receive the New Zealand Luxury Lodge Qualmark rating, rewarding them for their commitment to the historic Victorian mansion and the service they offer.

“We’re proud and honoured to have won this distinction, which we feel not only acknowledges the ongoing efforts we’ve made to upgrade the lodge since we took it over in 2010, but also the unique charms of our historic property and of the surrounding township of Oamaru.”

The Qualmark assessors enjoyed the full lodge experience, including a gourmet dinner, a croissant baking class led by James Glucksman, a Chinese tea degustation and a visit to the Oamaru Blue Penguin Colony.

The two ‘Jameses’ said they made a point to have the assessors experience activities in and out of the lodge.

“That reflects the fact that we actively encourage all our guests to make the most of their time in Oamaru, which has so many things for visitors to do, while also recognising that many of our guests arrive at Pen-y-bryn and don’t want to leave,” said Mr Boussy.

“We ensured they experienced the comfort and exclusivity of our hilltop location, sampled our excellent menu, and enjoyed activities out of the lodge,” he said.

“When we moved here we immersed ourselves in this community and fell in love with everything it has to offer, and with this in mind we encourage our guests to experience the tranquil charm of the township. Combined with a stay in our historic, warm and welcoming lodge, we feel this is a captivating combination.” . . .

 Oamaru used to be just another town people drove through to get somewhere else.

Gradually, recognition and restoration of its historic buildings, the tourist potential of the little blue penguins, its artists and artisans and other attractions have turned it into a destination in its own right.

Some people come to visit, others like the Jameses have made it their home and made a major contribution to the economic, cultural, culinary and social fabric of the town.

You can find out more about Pen-y-bryn  here.

 

 


Victoria rules

November 17, 2012

Prince Charles has been getting attention further north, but in Oamaru this weekend it’s his great, great (do I need some more greats?) granny who  rules as the town  celebrates its Victorian heritage.

Charles Dickens is the them of this year’s celebrations which began on Wednesday.

Activities and events today include a vintage car swap meet, a street parade, a military black powder camp, high tea at Pen-y-bryn Lodge, Widow Corney’s Workhouse Shindig and Charles Dickens Performs A Christmas Carol.

Tomorrow celebrations conclude with the Victorian fete from 10am.

A day jam-packed with superb entertainment, dozens of stalls showcasing their unique and individual wares, exquisite Victorian costume, competitions to test strength and skill, street performers and children’s entertainment around every corner with food stalls and refreshments to whet every appetite. It has to be experienced to be believed.

Highlights this year will be Beyondsemble, just back from their world tour with their most exciting, energetic and enchanting acoustic music to come out of NZ in recent times. From gypsy to jazz, rocksteady to Celtic, Congo to bluegrass and beyond. Music to move you and make you move. With a strong improvisational edge, Beyondsemble perform an incredible mix of styles sourced from all over the world as well as their own original compositions.

And the incongruous Bikes for Fun. Over seventy bikes and scooters for the young and the young at heart which defy gravity and any thoughts of Victorian staidness! Fabulous fun!

Legend, humour and fiction surround the origins of Wellington perfumery Fragrifert which is coming to Oamaru for the Celebrations. But the fragrances are real and Fragrifert (pronounced frah-gree-fair) will delight visitors with live performances in the Harbour Street theatrette.

Watch out for Fagin and his mischievous band of rascals – they’ll burst into song and instead of picking your pocket, might leave a treat for you! You too could dress up as your favourite Dickens’ character and join in all the fun of the Fair!

The  celebrations started a couple of decades ago by a small group of enthusiasts  who wanted to showcase Oamaru’s Victorian heritage.

They’re now an annual fixture which attracts visitors from around New Zealand and further afield.

You can download a full programme here.


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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