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Connoisseurs’ Corner – where to eat and drink in July

Bastien Cervero of Auckland's Bellini bar.

Jacqui Loates-Haver
Sun, 04 Jul 2021

Bastien Cervero of Auckland's Bellini bar.

July brings with it some cold weather, but it also gives you truffle season and a host of dining and drinking experiences to fill your belly and warm your soul. This month sees the return of a popular cocktail masterclass, a new street food cafe with an impressive pedigree, and festivals to look forward to.

Fancy fungi

With truffle season in full swing, Auckland’s Esther restaurant is holding a Truffle Triumph lunch on July 10. Chef Sean Connolly will present an eight-course menu featuring the venerated fungi, which are sourced from Christchurch producer Tewnion Truffière. Think Périgold truffle fonduta with toasted ciabatta to start, followed by ricotta gnocchi with mushrooms and truffles and an apple tart fin with truffle ice cream. If you can’t make it on the day, Esther will also have a four-course truffle lunch set menu available on weekdays until July 31. 

Bonjour, Bastille Day

In honour of this year’s Bastille Day, Ed Le Goff and his team at Auckland’s Le Chef will be going full fromage from July 14-17 with the Raclette Pop-Up. The star of the show will, of course, be cheese – a meal of raclette, charcuterie and condiments (vegetarian options are also available). There’ll be a glass of Chardonnay Joseph Drouhin Mâcon-Lugny or Barton & Guestier Les Galets 2019 on arrival, and lively entertainment.

Running hot and cold

A new addition to the stellar line-up of bars and restaurants that currently adorn the area around Auckland’s K’ Road is Bar Magda. Located in Cross Street, a lane that runs parallel to the main drag, this subterranean bar and eatery is serving up some exciting flavours. Owners Craig Thompson (Orphans Kitchen), Carlo Buenaventura (Culprit, Gemmayze Street) and Matt Venables have created a 52-seat venue, which is currently undergoing a “soft” launch to iron out any issues before going full-throttle on July 17.

The space is low-lit with red-hued lighting and features rough brick walls, concrete floors and wooden seats, giving it an easy, unpretentious vibe that will sit well with the K’ Road set. But the food is the most exciting part – not exactly Filipino, but some of the flavours are a nod in that direction under the guidance of Philippines-born Buenaventura. The sharing-plate menu is divided into “to start”, “something cold”, “something hot”, dessert, and a banquet-style set menu for larger groups. Dishes include market fish suglaw, ginger and rhubarb leche de tigre, and grilled pork rillette with horseradish and tobiko, both from the cold menu. On the hot side you’ll find lamb ribs “pyanggang” with courgette and green sambal, and beef cheek, feijoa glaze and broccoli. It’s worth checking out. 

Tenor Geoff Sewell and chef Josh Emett are hosting Sound Bites at Auckland's Park Hyatt.


If music be the food of love, play on

If you like a side of sweet tunes with your meal, celebrated chef Josh Emett (Onslow, The Oyster Inn) and multi-platinum-selling tenor Geoff Sewell (Amici Forever) will present Sound Bites, an evening of food and music on July 29 at Auckland’s Park Hyatt. The one-hour concert will be complemented by champagne and canapes followed by a fine-dining experience with wine matches. The event is limited to 80 guests and tickets include a night at the hotel and breakfast at in-house restaurant Onemata. 

The good life

Simon Wright and Creghan Molloy-Wright, the formidable partnership behind renowned Auckland fine-dining restaurant The French Café for many years, have embraced small-town life and opened a food-truck kitchen in the Coromandel township of Whangamata. Gather & Roam is a space dedicated to the consumption of fresh, seasonal dishes and a good cup of Kōkako coffee. Specialising in street food, the menu changes frequently depending on what produce is available locally. Good news for Coromandel locals is that dinners are also in the offing. 

Chef Des Harris is the new culinary director at Auckland's Hilton hotel.


A prize catch

Award-winning chef Des Harris is lending his considerable experience to the Hilton Auckland, accepting the role of culinary director of Fish Restaurant and the hotel’s Bellini Bar and in-room dining service. Harris honed his craft at Wellington’s iconic Logan Brown and was head chef at Tony Stewart’s top-notch Clooney restaurant in Auckland and, more recently, The Hunting Lodge in the northwest of the city and Tantalus Estate on Waiheke Island.

Harris’ vision for Fish includes mixing modern and primal cooking techniques and partnering with local produce growers and providers of ethically caught seafood. “New Zealand has its own unique cold-water range of fish species,” he says. “We’ll want to hero this.”

Joining Harris are two new hires at Bellini Bar – bar manager Bastien Cervero, who brings his European experience to the party, and head bartender Alexandra Bardou, who has worked in some of Melbourne’s top bars, including George on Collins and Berlin Bar.  The pair are bound to be a popular addition, not least because they’re bringing back the ever-popular Mixology Masterclasses

Wellington's Beervana Festival.

 

Plan ahead

Touted as a “fantasy land for beer lovers and the beer curious”, Wellington’s famous Beervana festival is taking place on Aug 13-14 as part of the Visa Wellington On a Plate series. More than 75 beer and culinary exhibitors will be on hand, including craft-beer royalty Garage Project, Parrotdog and Tuatara, who will be pulling their pints alongside eight new attendee breweries such as New Plymouth’s Three Sisters and Wānaka’s Rhyme and Reason. If you think a beer festival isn’t for you, think again. As festival manager Ryan McArthur puts it: “We want to break past the misconception that Beervana is just popular with men or fiending hop heads. It’s for everyone.” Here, here.

Sunny side up

Let’s raise a glass to warmer days ahead. The New Zealand Cider Festival will be held on Nov 13 as part of the Hawke’s Bay Summer F.A.W.C! Food and Wine Classic. Previously held in Nelson, the Cider Festival will now alternate between the two locations. “Our region is New Zealand’s largest producer of apples, so naturally we have some very clever people making ciders here,” says Hawke’s Bay Tourism CEO Hamish Saxton. The festival will include tastings, food and music and will be family friendly, with a children’s entertainment area. Tickets are available now at nzciderfestival.com

Follow Jacqui @jacqui.loates.haver

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jacqui Loates-Haver
Head of lifestyle and features
jacqui@businessdesk.co.nz
Jacqui has more than 20 years’ experience working in the New Zealand media industry, including senior roles at MediaWorks and NZME. Most recently she was editor of Air New Zealand’s award-winning inflight magazine, Kia Ora. She is based in the Auckland office. You can connect with her on LinkedIn here.
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Connoisseurs’ Corner – where to eat and drink in July | BusinessDesk
Subscribe today - find out more
Why you should consider BusinessDesk
THE LIFE FREE ARTICLE

Connoisseurs’ Corner – where to eat and drink in July

Bastien Cervero of Auckland's Bellini bar.

Jacqui Loates-Haver
Sun, 04 Jul 2021

Bastien Cervero of Auckland's Bellini bar.

July brings with it some cold weather, but it also gives you truffle season and a host of dining and drinking experiences to fill your belly and warm your soul. This month sees the return of a popular cocktail masterclass, a new street food cafe with an impressive pedigree, and festivals to look forward to.

Fancy fungi

With truffle season in full swing, Auckland’s Esther restaurant is holding a Truffle Triumph lunch on July 10. Chef Sean Connolly will present an eight-course menu featuring the venerated fungi, which are sourced from Christchurch producer Tewnion Truffière. Think Périgold truffle fonduta with toasted ciabatta to start, followed by ricotta gnocchi with mushrooms and truffles and an apple tart fin with truffle ice cream. If you can’t make it on the day, Esther will also have a four-course truffle lunch set menu available on weekdays until July 31. 

Bonjour, Bastille Day

In honour of this year’s Bastille Day, Ed Le Goff and his team at Auckland’s Le Chef will be going full fromage from July 14-17 with the Raclette Pop-Up. The star of the show will, of course, be cheese – a meal of raclette, charcuterie and condiments (vegetarian options are also available). There’ll be a glass of Chardonnay Joseph Drouhin Mâcon-Lugny or Barton & Guestier Les Galets 2019 on arrival, and lively entertainment.

Running hot and cold

A new addition to the stellar line-up of bars and restaurants that currently adorn the area around Auckland’s K’ Road is Bar Magda. Located in Cross Street, a lane that runs parallel to the main drag, this subterranean bar and eatery is serving up some exciting flavours. Owners Craig Thompson (Orphans Kitchen), Carlo Buenaventura (Culprit, Gemmayze Street) and Matt Venables have created a 52-seat venue, which is currently undergoing a “soft” launch to iron out any issues before going full-throttle on July 17.

The space is low-lit with red-hued lighting and features rough brick walls, concrete floors and wooden seats, giving it an easy, unpretentious vibe that will sit well with the K’ Road set. But the food is the most exciting part – not exactly Filipino, but some of the flavours are a nod in that direction under the guidance of Philippines-born Buenaventura. The sharing-plate menu is divided into “to start”, “something cold”, “something hot”, dessert, and a banquet-style set menu for larger groups. Dishes include market fish suglaw, ginger and rhubarb leche de tigre, and grilled pork rillette with horseradish and tobiko, both from the cold menu. On the hot side you’ll find lamb ribs “pyanggang” with courgette and green sambal, and beef cheek, feijoa glaze and broccoli. It’s worth checking out. 

Tenor Geoff Sewell and chef Josh Emett are hosting Sound Bites at Auckland's Park Hyatt.


If music be the food of love, play on

If you like a side of sweet tunes with your meal, celebrated chef Josh Emett (Onslow, The Oyster Inn) and multi-platinum-selling tenor Geoff Sewell (Amici Forever) will present Sound Bites, an evening of food and music on July 29 at Auckland’s Park Hyatt. The one-hour concert will be complemented by champagne and canapes followed by a fine-dining experience with wine matches. The event is limited to 80 guests and tickets include a night at the hotel and breakfast at in-house restaurant Onemata. 

The good life

Simon Wright and Creghan Molloy-Wright, the formidable partnership behind renowned Auckland fine-dining restaurant The French Café for many years, have embraced small-town life and opened a food-truck kitchen in the Coromandel township of Whangamata. Gather & Roam is a space dedicated to the consumption of fresh, seasonal dishes and a good cup of Kōkako coffee. Specialising in street food, the menu changes frequently depending on what produce is available locally. Good news for Coromandel locals is that dinners are also in the offing. 

Chef Des Harris is the new culinary director at Auckland's Hilton hotel.


A prize catch

Award-winning chef Des Harris is lending his considerable experience to the Hilton Auckland, accepting the role of culinary director of Fish Restaurant and the hotel’s Bellini Bar and in-room dining service. Harris honed his craft at Wellington’s iconic Logan Brown and was head chef at Tony Stewart’s top-notch Clooney restaurant in Auckland and, more recently, The Hunting Lodge in the northwest of the city and Tantalus Estate on Waiheke Island.

Harris’ vision for Fish includes mixing modern and primal cooking techniques and partnering with local produce growers and providers of ethically caught seafood. “New Zealand has its own unique cold-water range of fish species,” he says. “We’ll want to hero this.”

Joining Harris are two new hires at Bellini Bar – bar manager Bastien Cervero, who brings his European experience to the party, and head bartender Alexandra Bardou, who has worked in some of Melbourne’s top bars, including George on Collins and Berlin Bar.  The pair are bound to be a popular addition, not least because they’re bringing back the ever-popular Mixology Masterclasses

Wellington's Beervana Festival.

 

Plan ahead

Touted as a “fantasy land for beer lovers and the beer curious”, Wellington’s famous Beervana festival is taking place on Aug 13-14 as part of the Visa Wellington On a Plate series. More than 75 beer and culinary exhibitors will be on hand, including craft-beer royalty Garage Project, Parrotdog and Tuatara, who will be pulling their pints alongside eight new attendee breweries such as New Plymouth’s Three Sisters and Wānaka’s Rhyme and Reason. If you think a beer festival isn’t for you, think again. As festival manager Ryan McArthur puts it: “We want to break past the misconception that Beervana is just popular with men or fiending hop heads. It’s for everyone.” Here, here.

Sunny side up

Let’s raise a glass to warmer days ahead. The New Zealand Cider Festival will be held on Nov 13 as part of the Hawke’s Bay Summer F.A.W.C! Food and Wine Classic. Previously held in Nelson, the Cider Festival will now alternate between the two locations. “Our region is New Zealand’s largest producer of apples, so naturally we have some very clever people making ciders here,” says Hawke’s Bay Tourism CEO Hamish Saxton. The festival will include tastings, food and music and will be family friendly, with a children’s entertainment area. Tickets are available now at nzciderfestival.com

Follow Jacqui @jacqui.loates.haver

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jacqui Loates-Haver
Head of lifestyle and features
jacqui@businessdesk.co.nz
Jacqui has more than 20 years’ experience working in the New Zealand media industry, including senior roles at MediaWorks and NZME. Most recently she was editor of Air New Zealand’s award-winning inflight magazine, Kia Ora. She is based in the Auckland office. You can connect with her on LinkedIn here.
Latest articles
Talking Shop: Elisha Watson, Nisa CEO, on how to crowdfund
Talking Shop: Fund manager and DJ Lauren Fong on mastering the side-hustle
Talking Shop: Fashion designers Kate Sylvester and Kathryn Wilson on rebuilding during covid
Connoisseurs’ Corner – where to wine and dine in August
Connoisseurs’ Corner – where to eat and drink in July
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Decarbonising infrastructure – navigating an abundance of policy and analysis

We have a rare opportunity to align significant public infrastructure investment with urgent climate change reform, but time is short and we all need to act.

Sponsored
Let's not lose sight of the wood for the trees

As much generation will need to be built in the next 14 years as has been built in the last 40+ years for Aotearoa to meet its commitment of achieving net zero emissions by 2050.