First look: Hugo’s Bistro

by Alice Harbourne / 30 May, 2017
ArticleGalleryModule - Hugo's Bistro

Google the history of Shortland Street and you’ll quickly be lost down TV memory lane, but it’s the upmarket heritage of the actual road – Auckland’s first commercial thoroughfare – that informed the feel of new all-day restaurant Hugo’s Bistro.

Despite technically being the younger sibling to Odettes Eatery, Hugo’s (yes, apostrophes are esoterically employed) feels like the grown-up. Situated midway up the steep street, once known for its high-end boutiques, the rectangular space has been transformed into an intimate, sophisticated dining room by restaurant co-owner Clare van den Berg. Her signature attention to detail and appreciation for comfort manifests in tactile surfaces, luxurious light fittings and understated artworks.

The fourth Auckland eatery by Clare and her husband Joost van den Berg, who began with now-sold cafes Zus & Zo and Zomer, shelves Dutch nomenclature for an aesthetically pleasing first name.  “Going forward as a model, we wanted beautiful names that fit the space and where it is in the city,” says Clare. “We thought Hugo’s and Odettes go really well together.”

Clare’s design process for Hugo’s began with four colours – forest green, blush, brass and grey – introduced in contrasting textures, from corduroy to New Zealand cedar. Although the space had been a restaurant in several former lives, the team gutted it to start anew. They added a street-side awning and floor-to-ceiling glass doors, which will open fully on hot summer days, making breakfast, lunch and dinner (though there are actually two menus, “earlier” and “later”) feel distinctly European. Classic bistro design touches like Peugeot pepper mills and bespoke Thonet chairs extend the subtle theme, as do executive chef Josh Kucharick’s menus. Odettes fans will be familiar with Canadian-born Kucharick’s contemporary, hero ingredient-focused style, but at Hugo’s he riffs on Continental classics, with dishes such as sirloin, pasta, pistou and lemon; and brisket, creamed spinach, Dijon and rye.

On less sunny days and in the evenings, statement light fittings – from a trio of Lee Broom Crescent Lights to custom-made wall lamps – emit a warm glow over the cosy, living room-like space and its Marmorino-plastered (a centuries-old Italian plastering technique) wall.  As you can tell, you can learn a lot of new words sitting in Hugo’s – every surface, object and artwork has a backstory. Lucky then, that familiar Odettes faces like Poi Eruera – now operations manager across the two restaurants – will be on hand with the details.

Hugo's Bistro
67 Shortland Street

Central city

Latest

Dear Oliver: A son's poignant tribute to his mother
93895 2018-12-13 00:00:00Z Books

Dear Oliver: A son's poignant tribute to his mothe…

by Peter Wells

A reminder that nothing can really prepare us for the death of a beloved parent.

Read more
Big Little Lies author does it again in Nine Perfect Strangers
100041 2018-12-13 00:00:00Z Books

Big Little Lies author does it again in Nine Perfe…

by Catherine Woulfe

The new book by Liane Moriarty can induce cravings despite its health retreat setting.

Read more
Barbershop confidential: Nelson's Man Cave offers more than just haircuts
99534 2018-12-13 00:00:00Z Psychology

Barbershop confidential: Nelson's Man Cave offers …

by Fiona Terry

In Nelson, there’s a place where modern “cavemen” can go to be groomed, chill out to music, and find someone to tell their troubles to.

Read more
The Listener's 50 Best Champagnes of 2018
100190 2018-12-13 00:00:00Z Wine

The Listener's 50 Best Champagnes of 2018

by Michael Cooper

Celebrate the festive season with sparkling wines from Central Otago to Champagne, priced from $10 to $125.

Read more
Win a double pass to Vice, the new Dick Cheney movie
100368 2018-12-12 10:44:10Z Win

Win a double pass to Vice, the new Dick Cheney mov…

by The Listener

Oscar-winning writer-director Adam McKay brings his trademark wit to the true story of US Vice President Dick Cheney in Vice.

Read more
End of an era: Auckland's independent film library Videon to shut its doors
100360 2018-12-12 10:00:59Z Small business

End of an era: Auckland's independent film library…

by Alex Blackwood

An iconic Auckland store is closing.

Read more
Michael Moore takes on Trump with fire and fury in Fahrenheit 11/9
100230 2018-12-12 00:00:00Z Movies

Michael Moore takes on Trump with fire and fury in…

by James Robins

The conflagration that gave the US President Trump is traced to September 2001.

Read more
10 ideas for the perfect summer Christmas menu
100210 2018-12-12 00:00:00Z Food

10 ideas for the perfect summer Christmas menu

by Lauraine Jacobs

Seafood stars in the entrée courses before turkey takes centre stage, with all the trimmings, to be followed by a fantastic fruity pudding.

Read more