The shaded verandah tables at Bracu overlook glorious views of undulating olive groves on the Simunovich Olive Estate in the rural Bombay Hills. Crisp starched linen is paired with polished cutlery and fresh flowers adorn every table. The style is refined and full of country-estate charm. The menu is on the traditional side with some innovative twists and a commitment to fresh seasonal produce. Among the offerings are line-caught fish served with a crumbed oyster, pancetta and caviar. Or, if the country air has left you in the mood for game, a Pāmu venison fillet with beetroot, smoked potatoes, blackcurrant and parsnip should do the trick. All the meals are served with the estate olive oil and homemade crusty sourdough. A ‘chocolate death’ dessert is a Valrhona masterclass – if you have room left at the end, that is. A meal here is well worth the 40-minute drive from Auckland.

IN BRIEF Masterful cuisine in a lovely setting with gracious hospitality

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