You had me at Hullo! When Tom Cruise says this infamous line to Renee Zellweger in Jerry Maguire I think he was mid story about a trip to New Zealand. Everyone raves about the stunning landscape but its close rival is the food culture. It embodies the fine art of grazing. Our wonderful friends gave us insider local knowledge on where to experience the best produce NZ has to offer. So here is our shortlist of the top 5 must eat spots in NZ where grazing truly excels.
Depot Eatery – Auckland
The fit out of this little eatery is eclectic and amusing with the walls carrying all kinds of different knick knacks on display. Don’t go past the Turbot sliders with pickled lemon mayo and watercress – they’re out of this world! The lamb ribs with cumin paprika oil were packed with bag loads of flavour and the meat just fell off the bone. The service was unparalleled with the waiter sitting with us at our table, humorously suggesting different beers to go with our dishes. I’ll go brave and say this was the culinary highlight of our entire stay in NZ.
These farmers markets are open on Saturdays 8-1pm and feature a range of local produce. If you’re into “home grazing” stop in at Nosh food market to pick up a selection of local cheeses, pates, dips and freshly baked bread.
Stop along Leigh Road at a little shack called Matakana Coast Oysters and pick up a tray of fresh oysters. How can you go wrong when a dozen fat and creamy oysters are only $10! That’s right folks, a simple tenner will bring you immense joy in one sitting. A squeeze of lemon, a twist of salt and pepper and we were in heaven. It also helped that we stocked up at Nosh earlier in the day and selected a fine chicken pate, brie cheese, guava jelly and a fresh baguette to accompany.
Moore Wilson’s – downtown Wellington
Our good friend and talented chef, Matt Hollingsworth, recommended Moore Wilson’s to us and described it as “big fancy grocery store that chef’s love.” We wandered the aisles for an hour before collecting an ensemble of local produce for dinner. Skip purchased some fresh prawns for dinner which he sautéed in garlic and chilli oil and served with pate, a local blue cheese, salami with sliced olives and mini red peppers stuffed with feta. We also treated ourselves to a bottle of Cloudy Bay Pelorus which made for a perfect aperitif.
Federal Diner – downtown Wanaka
The bacon and egg rolls in this place are banging! It’s the moorish relish which sets this bacon and egg roll apart from your average joe greasy hangover breaky. That and the eggs are iridescent yellow and jammed with flavour. The barista can make a mean coffee too – do your taste buds a favour and visit the Federal Diner.
Ivy & Lola’s Kitchen + Bar – lakeside Queenstown
This funky place is adjacent to Lake Wakatipu. Dine in or outdoors, just bring appropriate attire if you choose the latter as the winds off the lake are icy. The breakfast menu is intriguing and certainly a twist on your standard breakfast menu expectations. Their dishes showcase a number of ingredients which all sit surprisingly well together. Skip had the Belgian waffles with southern fried chicken, bacon, jalapeno chutney and maple syrup. I had smoked salmon and avocado served on a toasted bagel with potato and caper salad, fennel, orange and salmon caviar. Divine!