ADDRESS:   90 Cable St, Te Aro, Wellington
SET MENU:   $95pp three courses
CONTACT:   04 802 8935
SCORE:   17 / 20

Enter the age of the new gourmet, as prescribed by executive chef Jiwon Do, who has a life-long love of classical French cookery. This is special dégustation dining, which turns the term ‘fine dining’ on its head. “I want to serve the stories of my producers and tell diners about the beautiful product of our land and sea,” Do says. Well, get ready: he does it with a theatrical bent and audience participation too. The chateaubriand or rack of lamb is delivered with pomp and ceremony, with guests spritzing Lot Eight oil from a French-style perfume diffuser. Hospitality is in Do’s DNA as his parents and grandparents are in the business, too. After the show is over at Hippopotamus, he likes to gauge his audience. When customers react as he would wish, “I’m beyond happy. It’s a phenomenal thing. It’s the most satisfying factor of the job.”

IN BRIEF Quirky, top-quality and impeccable technique