Modern New Zealand cuisine is enjoying a resurgence of popularity or, perhaps more accurately, finally finding its way onto our gastronomic radar. Chef Jeremy Rameka is leading this charge as he showcases his exceptional skills to produce some of the best kaimoana this country has to offer. With Kiwiana décor (think driftwood and pāua shells) inspired by its waterfront setting, Pacifica is housed in a weathered beach bungalow painted ocean blue. The menu is five-course dégustation only with a focus on seafood. A starter of creamed spiced pāua and hoki mousse arrives – and it’s not unlike deconstructed, garnished ravioli. It’s stunningly fresh and the flavours are perfectly balanced. A rich meat and pekepeke-koire mushroom stew is next to the table; heady aromas announce its arrival. And, in a final flourish, an airy coconut soufflé with a creamy liquorice ice-cream. All the dishes are anchored by Rameka’s unique and creative hand and he achieves a fanatical level of execution.

IN BRIEF The essence of New Zealand served with exceptional skill