Standing alone in the countryside just south of the Waitaki River, Riverstone Kitchen is definitely a destination worth seeking out. The menu is well-honed, the food lifted by the freshness of the produce gathered from the vast kitchen gardens and the ethical approach that chef and owner Bevan Smith (pictured) takes when sourcing ingredients. Smoky bacon tones and truffle oil enrich a cassoulet starring slow-cooked pork shoulder from pigs raised in the Hunter Hills, and a popping, house-made harissa is the star of the show in a dish of seared squid with artisan chorizo. The drinks list goes beyond expectations, too. Stand-out service is offered with genuine warmth with the whole team making diners feel well looked after and welcome.

IN BRIEF Super-fresh in-season ingredients served with care