Auckland Is Becoming a Global Dining Powerhouse
“Rather than thinking of Auckland as a progressive cultural hub, people envision its glistening harbors, lush green mountains, and untouched islands just off its coastline. But Auckland has become one of the most innovative culinary destinations in the South Pacific—rivaling even Sydney and Melbourne,” writes Amy Louise Bailey in an article for Bloomberg. While “restaurant options were limited to conventional white tablecloth spots” in the 90s”, “the city is now flourishing with stylish cafes-turned-hangouts, glossy restaurants, boutique dessert bars, and lively marketplaces.”
“Auckland’s slow culinary transformation began after the city hosted the America’s Cup back in 2000, prompting the redevelopment of the downtown Viaduct area into a mixed-use social hub. In came a series of creative restaurateurs, eager to translate the region’s natural resources into simple yet sophisticated dishes,” writes Bailey.
“Almost two decades later, there’s been a domino effect of creativity spilling from the Viaduct to such new areas as Ponsonby and Britomart,” according to Nicola Waldren, general manager of the Restaurant Association of New Zealand.
While it’s not unusual for any top-notch establishment around the world to source local produce, Auckland restaurateurs have an advantage: “It’s easier to be “local” and “seasonal” when you have a compact country spanning distinct climate zones and growing regions, from sub-tropic to high-altitude mountains, fertile volcanic soil, epic pasture land, and unpolluted waters for fishing.”
“Whereas other city chefs have their locavore goals limited by geography, Auckland’s are elevated by it, able to draw on a bounty of ingredients, both familiar and new, and reconfigure them into a sublime sense of place.”
“At Amano, that means tortellini with fennel soffrito, stuffed with crayfish from the Wairarapa Coast. At all-day dining spot Rosie, it’s ash-rolled venison with cocoa nib and tomato paste. At Ostro, a glass-walled dining room right on the water, it’s lobster-and-snapper pie, or Wakanui beef with roasted eggplant,” writes Bailey.
“It’s a very experimental but exciting time here right now in New Zealand,” said Orphan’s Kitchen chef Tom Hishon.
Auckland’s “food scene is currently evolving at a rapid-fire pace” and “prominent chefs are applying their firebrand, Kiwi-proud creativity to everything from bistros to coffee bars to food markets.”
“The beauty about being in this region is that there are very few rules or any deep culinary history that needs to be adhered to,” said Nic Watt, chef of Masu in the CBD.
“This allows us restaurateurs and chefs a blank canvas to showcase our individuality.”
To read more about the best places to eat in Auckland please click here.
Article Source: Bloomberg, Amy Louise Bailey, April 5, 2018
Image Source: Wikipedia