With Elly Ansell out front looking after diners and husband Paul in the kitchen, this Martinborough bistro buzzes along nicely. Paul’s skill as a chef is to elevate classic combinations to a higher level and this he does ably in dishes such as a braised beef cheek, with an earthy parsnip puree and a crunchy, creamy celeriac remoulade. For dessert, a smooth and creamy mango sorbet shares space with meringue, crisp on the outside, chewy, and pillowy within. Being a wine town, it is understandable that a great deal of attention is put into the wine list. They really know their stuff, mostly showcasing local wineries but also including some rock stars in the varietals that aren’t easily produced in the Wairarapa. In summer, dinner in the sunny courtyard is a delight.

IN BRIEF Warm hospitality and flavoursome bistro favourites