ADDRESS: 20 Alma St, Hamilton Central
CONTACT: 07 834 2921
Check website for opening hours
MAINS: $46

SCORE: 17.5/20

The mighty Waikato has a good friend in Palate – a resident now in its late teens. Locally trained chef Mat McLean started his first place by this name in Victoria St before decamping to a bigger, brighter spot by the river. Here he delivers dishes that keep true to his original promise of providing consistently excellent food paired with stunning New Zealand wines. The à la carte menu is tight and precise – a quartet each of entrées, mains and desserts – which suggests to us that Mat likes to distill his skills, something we welcome. He doesn’t take all the credit though, acknowledging suppliers on the menu (Greenstone Creek ribeye, mushroom tortellini, black pudding, smoked potato croquette and beetroot purée being but one illustration). A five-course dégustation menu and a seven-course kitchen-table experience offer further opportunity to explore from your table with a riverside view.

IN BRIEF: A true palate-pleaser of long standing


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