Unique Fine Dining
Pipis, paua, tuatua, feijoas, kumara, cervena, puha and horipito are just some of the unfamiliar items found on the menu in New Zealand restaurants, Winsor Dobbins of The Sydney Morning Herald discovers. All these flavours have influenced some of Australia’s leading chefs, including Iain Hewitson, Justin North and Philip Johnson, all of whom started their careers in the Land of the Long White Cloud. New Zealand chefs tend to use what is fresh, local and seasonal — and are blessed with a climate that aids their endeavours to provide fine dining with a difference. Geoff Scott, the chef at iconic Auckland restaurant Vinnies, changes his menu seasonally and features local specialities like Te Matuku Bay oysters from Waiheke Island in the Hauraki Gulf; mutton bird and diamond clams with field mushrooms and fresh kawakawa (wild bush basil) leaf crhme; and Cascade River whitebait with yuzu dressing, pickled fresh gherkin, parsley and capers.