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Sid at the French Café

AUCKLAND. It can’t be easy taking over an institution that is synonymous with excellence in food, service and style. For three decades, The French Café has been in the careful hands of some of the country’s best chefs. Until September 2018, owners for 20 years, Simon Wright and Creghan Molloy-Wright, delivered food with simple elegance backed up with impeccable technique that made Simon’s cooking much loved. Assured service headed by Creghan made dining there a delight.


Māha @ Wharepuke

NORTHLAND. Earthy and esoteric elements meld in a pan-Asian menu where authenticity frames every dish, as the food stories of chef-proprietor Ming Poon’s journey from China to Spain to New Zealand are portrayed in flavour and form; a plated travelogue presented with passion and precision.



WELLINGTON. Despite fresh jungle-themed wallpaper and new lampshades that look like swollen eel traps, Pico Bar + Eatery is still easily recognisable as the old Zibibbo. But the significant change is that this Wellington institution is no longer so much a restaurant as a bar with good food.



Kung pao chicken with mouth-numbing Sichuan peppercorns and plenty of chilli is one of my favourite things. I’m also partial to chicken wings and felt that they were made to go together especially with a messy, sticky and spicy sauce. You’ll just need to provide plenty of serviettes or finger bowls. If the numbing qualities of Sichuan peppercorns aren’t really your thing you could omit them from the sauce.