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Cuisine Restaurant Of The Year Awards Winners

PRESS RELEASE:

CUISINE RESTAURANT OF THE YEAR AWARDS
Winners Announced

Cuisine magazine has announced the winners of its inaugural Restaurant of the Year Awards - proudly supported by Singapore Airlines.

20 finalists from across the country were announced in early October and the judging panel has been dining, discussing, cogitating and ruminating each finalist's redeeming features in order to make the unanimous decision on each of the winners in the four categories: an overall winner, The Restaurant of the Year, and three other categories recognising Best Service, Best Wine Service and Best Casual or Café Style Restaurant.

The four winners have all been extensively featured in the latest issue of Cuisine - #109 - dedicated to the art of dining out.

Cuisine food editor and head judge Lauraine Jacobs comments, "At Cuisine, we are always reviewing restaurants and cafes throughout New Zealand but this judging process has given us even more reason to celebrate the excellence now being achieved in many areas."

Cuisine congratulates the following winners:

<> Overall Winner: Cuisine Restaurant of the Year 2005 The judges commented that Café Bastille achieved the four requirements of any winning restaurant - innovation, excellence, consistency and reliability - a combination that left the judges enchanted. The restaurant looks and feels like a neighbourhood café but it serves outstandingly good food. Owner Mark Limacher and his chefs love what they are doing and the wait staff share their kitchen's enthusiasm seeing to customers' needs with a warm and polished efficiency, backed by a unique wine list. Café Bastille has an unabashed enthusiasm for French cuisine, which incorporates the wonderful ingredients New Zealand has to offer, and the customers seem to agree. Café Bastille is a very deserving winner of the title Restaurant of the Year.

Best Service: Cuisine Restaurant of the Year 2005 Soul Bar and Bistro is located in Auckland's Viaduct Basin and serves more than 300 people on a good day. It is many things to many people, diners looking for a quick and elegant lunch, tourists, those celebrating and those looking for long enjoyable dining experiences. Being able to turn this into a quality experience for all patrons takes considerable skill. Employing over 60 staff, owner Judith Tabron oversees the floor with her managers to ensure everything is just so. Walk through the doors of Soul and expect to be in very good hands.

Best Wine Service: Cuisine Restaurant of the Year 2005 Wine is an integral part of any restaurant. With an almost perfect score the winner, Logan Brown in Wellington, offers the place to indulge in wine whether you are a beginner or a connoisseur. More than 230 wines appear on the list with owners Steve Logan and Alistair Brown continually tweaking and changing their list to complement the menu. 27 wines are offered by the glass and they even offer a BYO evening on Sunday for regular customers to bring bottles from their own cellar to enjoy with the outstanding food. A sommelier works the floor to introduce wines to diners and help with selection and food and wine matching wherever needed. This restaurant offers an incredible experience for the discerning wine lover.

Best Casual or Café Style Restaurant: Cuisine Restaurant of the Year 2005 A casual dining place must offer a relaxed environment for all ages to enjoy with superb food that is delivered quickly matched to an excellent wine experience. The Pegasus Bay Winery restaurant in the Waipara wine region in Canterbury fits the bill perfectly. This is a family owned operation where everything is guided by passion in a truly professional manner. The menu reflects seasonal produce and makes the most of the bounty from their gardens. The restaurant exists to provide a stage for the Pegasus Bay wines - one of New Zealand's best known boutique wineries. But in the true style of casual dining, one of the best platters in the country can be found here - there is even a children's platter. The idyllic peaceful setting, the care taken with wine, the family pride and the delicious food made this a clear winner.

Lauraine Jacobs comments, "Some of the achievements of the 20 finalists were outstanding. Do not believe those who say that standards in the provinces are lower - we experienced some incredible dining experiences all over the country. To those who say New Zealand restaurant food is all the same - we say get out and visit our featured finalists who display bold culinary directions and a fun atmosphere. These four winners displayed elements of surprise, excelled at the basics and provided a memorable experience that left us wanting more. Our judging panel was experienced, had great integrity and had a robust approach to the judging procedure. We look forward to regrouping later this year for the second awards and assessing the hospitality industry and what it is offering to customers, and rewarding excellence."

The latest issue of Cuisine (# 109) is on sale nationwide from 14 February priced $8.95 from all good newsagents and supermarkets.

ENDS Notes to editors:

The judging panel comprises food professionals from within the New Zealand hospitality industry including a number of Cuisine's regular restaurant critics:

* Lauraine Jacobs, head judge and Cuisine food editor, Auckland

* David Burton, restaurant critic and food writer for Cuisine and the Dominion Post, Wellington

* Don Fletcher, Former Restaurateur, Auckland

* Kate Fraser, restaurant critic for Cuisine and editor of the Zest section of The Press, Christchurch

* Stephen Morris, co-executive chef at the Bolton Hotel, Wellington

* Simon Wilson, editor of Cuisine, Auckland


ENDS

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