Mission Bay Pavilion: A new seaside eatery just in time for summer

by Kate Richards / 26 October, 2017
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First look: Mission Bay Pavillion

In the 1850s, Anglican missionaries would spread the good word from Mission Bay to Melanesia – a group of islands that includes Fiji, The Solomons, and Vanuatu. The old Stonehouse Building on the west side of this eastern bay, now re-branded Mission Bay Pavilion, was at the heart of this – serving firstly as a Christian school for Melanesian boys living in Auckland, then later as a museum honouring that past. Recently, the grounds were let to Savor Group – the hospitality maestros behind Ostro, Ebisu, Azabu and Seafarers – with The Stonehouse renovated (under the watchful eyes of Heritage New Zealand, who own it) by Herbst Architects and Katie Lockhart, who also designed a sparkly new pavilion built next door.

Spearheaded by Savor’s director Lucien Law, the Mission Bay Pavilion is worlds away from the rambunctious downtown venues we’ve previously seen from the group. Everything, from the bi-folding doors beckoning children from the adjacent playground to the soon-to-open takeaway arm offering fish and chips or ice cream, is geared towards cultivating a casual, family environment.

The room wears a nautical influence proudly, with bulbous light fittings running down its centre, blue and white striped bench seating, and charming bentwood chairs. Chefs peer out over a high, brass-barred pass. There is an air of understated luxury, with ceramics by Peter Collis, linen napkins, and water jugs hand-painted by Tracey Tawhiao (her hand-drawn fish also feature on the placemats). The renovated Stonehouse, adjacent to all of this, is now a mixed-use private room that can host both corporate functions and community events like movie nights.

Staff might look familiar, because most have been borrowed from other Savor Group outfits. The executive chef, on the other hand, is an import. Camillo Bisaccioni started his career in Italy nearly 30 years ago and has worked his way around the world with two chefs – “the Balducci Brothers” – in tow. He insists they work with him everywhere he goes. Those mates, they know bread, so the menu kicks off at 7am each day with fresh loaves and pastries from the on-site bakery. Later, lunch, and onwards to dinner where marketing and event director Vinci Gin-Nen hopes the wine will flow late – the restaurant’s licenced until midnight. It’s a community-minded affair, however, and that’s likely to mean a big change in clientele from the rowdy groups Savor’s staff are used to downtown. Here, they’ll be dealing with a different kind of riff raff.

The menu will focus on bistro classics, with dishes like chicken liver parfait, and fresh pastas served in both the open-plan dining room and awning-covered outdoor area. A small section of open-air seating will act as a holding bay for those waiting for takeaways and (probably) for naughty children evicted from the dining room by their parents. This courtyard space is planted with edibles like lemon trees and potted herbs, with a vegetable garden likely to follow later down the track.

 

Mission Bay Pavilion
44 Tamaki Drive
Mission Bay
missionbaypavilion.co.nz

Scheduled to Open Friday 27 October

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