ADDRESS:   19 Khyber Pass Rd, Grafton
SET MENU:   $100pp three courses, $170pp six courses
CONTACT:   09 217 4069
SCORE:   18 / 20

Amidst the mayhem at the top end of Khyber Pass Rd, this is an unexpected oasis of calm and serenity. Enter and know instantly you are in the world of true innovation. In this chic and urbane setting, chef Fraser McCarthy elevates the art of cooking to a point beyond where most stop. He chooses playful interaction with the food, fully utilising more than one sense in each dish – embracing taste, touch, texture, umami and even differing temperatures. The Tora Bay pāua starter is a masterclass in pāua perfection; the market fish hāpuku main near-faultless. The presentation of every dish is totally considered and with many there’s an interaction worthy of the finest modern works of art – think Gibbs Farm sculpture park or Banksy. We also love that the drinks list is very much targeted to complementing the food.

IN BRIEF: Truly innovative – sculpture on a plate