ADDRESS: 17 Tamamutu St, Taupō
CONTACT: 07 377 3111
Check website for opening hours
MAINS: $38 – $47

SCORE: 17/20

There’s a very simple secret to this great Taupō success story: “Keep it simple but nice.” That’s the message co-owners Jude and Tiffany Messenger constantly hold to at their family restaurant. And family is a big feature at this gem of a spot in the heart of the town where a sextet of Messenger offspring like to lend a hand in the business. Chef Jude, who was raised in Foxton, gleaned experience in the US and at Huka Lodge and he’s honed his culinary skills here crafting menus that are ever mindful of the seasons’ cycles. He’s game to offer game (wild rabbit and chicken liver terrine), there’s daily changing fresh fish from Hawke’s Bay, and confit Cambridge duck. The wines are largely and delightfully local, with a few European drops to lend an international touch. And it’s all done with style minus pretension at non-stratospheric prices.

IN BRIEF: Family-run favourite keeps things local


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