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Cuisine Salutes the Country’s Finest Restaurants

MEDIA RELEASE 21 FEBRUARY 2006]


Cuisine Salutes the Country’s Finest Restaurants
Winners of Cuisine Restaurant of the Year Awards Announced

The winners of the second annual Cuisine Restaurant of the Year Awards, in association with Singapore Airlines, have been announced following an intense judging process of the 25 finalists.

The finalists, selected from well over 100 initial entries, competed in three categories – metropolitan, provincial and winery restaurants – with the supreme winner – Cuisine Restaurant of the Year 2006 - chosen from the winners in each group.

The eight judges travelled the length and breadth of the country late last year, visiting each of the finalists in pairs, sampling the fare, critiquing wine lists, experiencing the service and examining the fine details that can make the difference between a good restaurant and an outstanding one.

Head Judge and Cuisine Food Editor, Lauraine Jacobs, comments, “We ate some excellent food, discovered some seriously good wine lists and noted service that was attentive, intelligent and neither too familiar or intrusive. Our overall winner was, in the words of one judge, “incredibly hard to fault” but the others came very close. In the restaurants that truly impressed us we found tight well-formed menus where every dish is tried, tested and worthy of presentation. There was also an air about the great places that tells you the staff really care, and the owners continually reinvest in and upgrade those restaurants.”

Cuisine congratulates the following winners:

Supreme Winner: Cuisine Restaurant of the Year 2006
The French Café, Auckland

Best Metropolitan Restaurant: Cuisine Restaurant of the Year 2006
The French Café, Auckland
Runners Up
The Grove Restaurant, Auckland
Logan Brown Restaurant & Bar, Wellington


Best Provincial Restaurant: Cuisine Restaurant of the Year 2006
The Bach, Taupo
Runner Up
Herzog Winery & Luxury Restaurant, Marlborough

Best Winery Restaurant: Cuisine Restaurant of the Year 2006
Amisfield Bistro, Central Otago
Runner Up
Te Awa Winery & Restaurant, Hawke’s Bay

Winner Best Metropolitan Restaurant and Supreme Winner
The French Café

Opaque glass windows, sitting amid the less fashionable shopfronts of Auckland’s upper Symonds Street, conceal the promise of the epicurean experience inside The French Café. This is a restaurant that has dedicated owners, Creghan who runs front of house and her chef husband Simon Wright are committed and inspired. Simon’s cooking is almost impossible to fault - the menu is tight, well conceived and the judges were partial to the way all entrees can be ordered as mains. Overall, a clear winner that Cuisine is proud to recommend.
The French Café, 210 Symonds St, ph: 09-377 1911, www.thefrenchcafe.co.nz

Winner Best Provincial Restaurant
The Bach

This small, well-run restaurant occupies a premier position on Taupo’s lake front with views across to the mountains of Tongariro National Park and the judges were delighted with their dining experience. For one it was “near-perfect” and another commented that “the staff were confident and fully in control which made for a very relaxing evening”. Owner Daniel Kemp has developed this tiny gem from an original Taupo bach (hence the name) into an inviting dining space where fine wine and food are presented in an informal setting.
The Bach, 2 Pataka Rd, Taupo, ph: 07-378 7856, www.thebach.co.nz

Winner Best Winery Restaurant
Amisfield Bistro

Constructed from heavy beams in the manner of the early colonial buildings of central Otago, Amisfield winery melds into the surrounding terrain, yet is strikingly architectural. The menu, from chef Daniel Monopoli, strikes the same balance between elegance and rusticity. There’s a strong Mediterranean influence, and while a full à la carte selection is available, most diners go for the fixed-price “trust the chef” option, and wait for the daily market-driven selection of small plates to unfold. It’s trust well placed. Casual but sophisticated, Amisfield is everything a holiday maker could want from a vineyard dining experience.
Amisfield Bistro, 10 Lakae Hayes Rd, RD1, Queenstown, ph: 03-442 0556, www.amisfield.co.nz

Lauraine Jacobs comments, “Some of the achievements of the finalists were outstanding but the three winners displayed elements of surprise, excelled at the basics and provided a memorable experience that left us wanting more. We look forward to regrouping later this year for the third annual Awards and no doubt the hospitality industry will have experienced more changes that contribute to keeping these awards fresh and exciting – not only for the judges but for our readers and diners.”

The latest issue of Cuisine (# 115) is on sale nationwide from 27 February priced $8.95 from all good newsagents and supermarkets.
ENDS.


NOTES TO EDITORS

Cuisine magazine is New Zealand’s leading authority on food, wine and good living.
The 2006 Cuisine Restaurant of the Year Awards judging panel is:
- Lauraine Jacobs: head judge, restaurant critic and food editor of Cuisine, Auckland
- David Burton: restaurant critic and food writer for Cuisine and The Dominion Post, Wellington
- Natalia Schamroth: chef and Cuisine food writer, Auckland
- Pip Duncan: restaurant and food industry consultant, Auckland
- Karl du Fresne: restaurant critic and wine writer for Cuisine and Sunday magazine, Wairarapa
- Jeremy Jones: former restaurateur and chef, Marlborough
- Charmian Smith: restaurant critic for Cuisine and editor of the Good Living section of the Otago Daily Times, Dunedin
- Simon Wilson: editor of Cuisine, Auckland

ENDS

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