ADDRESS:   54 Cuba St, Te Aro, Wellington
MAINS:   $21 – $90
CONTACT:   04 210 4420
SCORE:   16 / 20

When friends Rachael Stevens, Alric Hansen and Ben Farren returned from Melbourne, they brought a little bit back with them. They’ve done so courtesy this busy, buzzy Cuba St spot. Many of the architectural features of the revered old building are focal points in the interior design. Head chef Hansen has designed food to share, introducing a mix of Highwater classics and ever- changing seasonal favourites, with some admirable tweaks along the way, such as a smoked venison tartare. Drinks are well matched to the menu, which is largely meat- and fish-based. Lunch is served too. It says a lot that you’re looking forward to a repeat visit even before you’ve finished dessert (in this case meringue, white chocolate and raspberry). Simple, fresh and surprisingly comforting.

IN BRIEF Slick, modern city dining