And the Metro Peugeot Restaurant Of The Year 2017 is...

by Metro / 01 May, 2017
<iframe src="//players.brightcove.net/761709621001/BJoeCerXx_default/index.html?videoId=5414009329001" width="100%" height="349px" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe>
Judging the restaurant awards gets tougher each year, because Auckland’s dining scene just keeps going from strength to strength.

Then there’s the judging itself – a rigorous three-part, months-long process  involving multiple anonymous visits, complicated spreadsheets, robust debates and the occasional argument. The panel considered the merits of over 100 restaurants before arriving at this year’s Top 50 list. Being named one of Auckland’s Top 50 restaurants is a significant achievement in itself. Every restaurant on the list is also a finalist in the Metro Peugeot Restaurant of the Year Awards.

Our Supreme Winner is a restaurant that not only came through the rigorous judging process but also came up first for the second year in a row: Cassia, Sid and Chand Sahrawat’s modern Indian bistro. Located on Fort Lane – Auckland’s best impersonation of an arty Melbourne laneway - its unimposing glass door slides open on approach, setting the tone for service that seems to anticipate your every need, conscious and unconscious. Inside, festoon lighting twinkles from a low, concrete ceiling. The intimacy of it all brings the bustle of the open kitchen, with its seemingly infinite team of chefs, to the table — a canny shortcut to an always-vibrant atmosphere.

But it’s the first mouthful of each dish that continues to enthral us. Robust, moreish, Indian flavours are presented with conviction and precision, with less-ordinary cuts of meat and game ingeniously employed. All this from a chef who spends half his working week at his flagship fine-dining restaurant, Sidart, the other half playing with nostalgia here.

There are some other big winners in this year’s awards, including Auckland dining institution Cazador, the runner-up for the Supreme Award. Family owned and operated for 30 years, Cazador also won Best Neighbourhood Bistro and Dariush Lolaiy, son of founding owners and chefs Barbara and Tony Lolaiy, was named Best Chef. Cazador’s recent renaissance has seen it forge ahead of some of the most highly -anticipated restaurant openings in Auckland this year, offering a dining experience that’s steeped in heritage yet utterly relevant.

Restaurateur of the Year was jointly awarded to Damaris and Renee Coulter from Coco’s Cantina. The sisters, who recently launched a website which connects diners with independent restaurants nationwide, are renowned not only for their food and hospitality but also for their community spirit.

In a new category for 2017, Orphans Kitchen won the Food for Good award, which recognises the Top 50 restaurant that goes above and beyond to positively contribute to the natural and cultural environment it operates in. Urban gardening, bee-keeping and chefs volunteering weekly at a local community garden are just the start of Orphans’ commitment to sustainability. The Food for Good award celebrates that.

New restaurants Pasture and Amano had great success in this year’s awards, with Pasture winning Best New Restaurant and Amano taking runner up. In the Best New Fit-out category, Amano was the winner while Pasture was named runner up.

Pasture, Amano and Orphans’ Kitchen are part of a new generation of restaurants of evolving Aucklanders’ understanding of what makes for a quality dining experience, with authenticity and provenance now among the hallmarks.

In this month’s Metro, we highlight the trends and reveal just why Cassia and Cazador are making such an impact. And don’t forget: with each copy of the magazine there’s a handy booklet introducing the entire Top 50.                  

Supreme Winner

Cassia

Chef and owner Sid Sahrawat, Cassia.

Runner-up

Cazador

Finalists

Depot

Ponsonby Road Bistro

The Grove

 

Best Chef

Dariush Lolaiy (Cazador)

<iframe src="//players.brightcove.net/761709621001/BJoeCerXx_default/index.html?videoId=5414496264001" width="100%" height="349px" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe>

Finalists


Samir Allen (Gemmayze St)

Ben Bayly (Baduzzi & The Grove)

Leslie Hottiaux (Apéro)

Jacob Kear (Clooney)

Jo Pearson (Hip Group: Amano, Ortolana & Rosie)

Sid Sahrawat (Cassia & Sidart) 

Makoto Tokuyama (Cocoro)

Ed Verner (Pasture) 

 

Best Fine-Dining Restaurant

The Grove

The Grove. Photo by Simon Young

The Grove. Photo Simon Young

Runner-up

The French Café

Best Smart-Dining Restaurant

Cassia

Cassia. Photo by Josh Griggs

Runner-up (Joint)

Cocoro

Euro

Best Inner-City Bistro

Depot

Depot. Photo by Simon Young

Runner-up

Amano

 

Best City-Fringe Bistro

Ponsonby Road Bistro

Ponsonby Road Bistro. Photo by Ken Downie

Runner-up

Woodpecker Hill 

 

Best Neighbourhood Bistro

Cazador

Cazador. Photo by Laura Forest.

Runner-up

The Engine Room

Restaurateur of the Year

Damaris & Renee Coulter (Coco’s Cantina)

Damaris & Renee Coulter. Photo by Meek Zuiderwyk

Finalists

Michael Meredith (Merediths)

Creghan Molloy-Wright & Simon Wright (The French Café)

Chand & Sid Sahrawat (Cassia & Sidart)

Rebecca Smidt & Dariush Lolaiy (Cazador)

Kyle Street & Jordan Macdonald (Culprit)

Ed & Laura Verner (Pasture) 

 

Restaurant Personality of the Year

 Petaia Unoi (Coco's Cantina)

<iframe src="//players.brightcove.net/761709621001/BJoeCerXx_default/index.html?videoId=5414588533001" width="100%" height="349px" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="allowfullscreen"></iframe>

Finalists

Laura Foolchand (Cassia)

Nick Guet (Merediths)

Michelle Moore (The French Café)

Ken Toyota (Azabu)

 

Food for Good

Orphans Kitchen

Orphan's Kitchen.

Finalists

Cazador

Coco’s Cantina

Hip Group (Amano, Ortolana, Rosie)

Merediths

Pasture

 

Best Service

The French Café

The French Cafe.

Pasta & Cuore. Photo by Caitlin McKone.

Runner-up

O’Connell Street Bistro

Finalists

Amano

Apéro

Molten

Ponsonby Road Bistro 

  

Best New Restaurant

Pasture

Pasture. Photo by Josh Griggs.

Runner-up

Amano

Best New Fit-out

Amano

Amano.

Runner-up

Pasture

Finalists

Augustus Bistro

Azabu

 

Peugeot People’s Choice Award for Auckland’s Favourite Dish

Fry-pan brownie, raspberries, raspberry marshmallows, butterscotch raspberry ripple ice cream (Cibo)

Pan-fry brownie- Cibo.

Finalists

Charcuterie plate (Cazador)

Freshly shucked Te Matuku oysters & Orphans’ sourdough with burnt butter (Orphans Kitchen)

Lon phu nim: soft-shell crab with pickled crab and coconut sauce, dill and coriander (Saan)

Marrakesh: hot pepper lamb, smoked almond tabbouleh, carrot and sumac yoghurt (True Food & Yoga)

Organic chicken cotoletta, lemon, rocket, celery (Ortolana)

Organic free-range pork sausage with walnut mustard & pickles (Apéro)

Tandoori fish, coconut, coriander & pickled cucumber (Cassia)

 

Latest

Should we bring our fallen soldiers home?
90004 2018-04-25 00:00:00Z Television

Should we bring our fallen soldiers home?

by Fiona Rae

One of our most successful writers visited six countries to speak to the families of those buried in Commonwealth war graves.

Read more
This may be the most beautiful natural history documentary ever
90022 2018-04-25 00:00:00Z Television

This may be the most beautiful natural history doc…

by Fiona Rae

Will Smith and Darren Aronofsky come together to create a jaw-dropping documentary about Planet Earth.

Read more
Lest they forget: Anzac books for children and young readers
90033 2018-04-25 00:00:00Z Books

Lest they forget: Anzac books for children and you…

by Ann Packer

In time for Anzac Day, books for younger readers make war stories easy to digest.

Read more
Scout cafe owner Roger Liu opens Woolfy’s, a new place to eat in east Auckland
90050 2018-04-24 14:22:44Z Auckland Eats

Scout cafe owner Roger Liu opens Woolfy’s, a new p…

by Kate Richards

East Auckland gets a new cafe, Woolfy's, from the brains behind Scout in Torbay.

Read more
How to find your family's Anzac history online
90042 2018-04-24 13:16:14Z History

How to find your family's Anzac history online

by Peter Griffin

As Anzac Day looms there’s an opportunity to delve into millions of World War I documents, which are available for a limited time.

Read more
Grey District's retiring mayor Tony Kokshoorn, the accidental author
90027 2018-04-24 11:31:52Z Profiles

Grey District's retiring mayor Tony Kokshoorn, the…

by Clare de Lore

Grey District's long-serving mayor, Tony Kokshoorn, is retiring from politics next year. We look back at a 2016 profile from the Listener archives.

Read more
The Australian Government has gone to war with itself
89860 2018-04-24 00:00:00Z World

The Australian Government has gone to war with its…

by Bernard Lagan

Sydney swelters and the ruling Liberal Party is bitterly divided between progressives and pro-coal conservatives.

Read more
Why Witi Ihimaera wants New Zealand to bring its war dead home
89883 2018-04-24 00:00:00Z Profiles

Why Witi Ihimaera wants New Zealand to bring its w…

by Clare de Lore

Witi Ihimaera's journey to Commonwealth war graves for a new documentary, In Foreign Fields, is both personal and political.

Read more