Clooney has always been an elegant and atmospheric venue, particularly for special occasion dining. Tony Stewart (pictured) is a dedicated long-term player on the high end of the New Zealand dining scene. His passion for fine dining is infectious and his attention to detail is second to none. Chef Nobu Lee is clearly a great fit for the restaurant and he has taken Tony Stewart’s brief – of using only New Zealand ingredients – and run with it. That it works so well is testament to the capability of them both. The canapé selection shouldn’t be missed: each course tells a story of Aotearoa’s culinary history and it’s an immaculately woven tale. Truly a triumph, a Te Makutu oyster is served with three seaweeds and crystal-clear sea water gel that shouts of brininess. In an innovative twist, the degustation menu offers either a wine pairing, a non-alcoholic house drink or a tea pairing.

IN BRIEF Immaculate renditions of the very essence of New Zealand