Since opening in 2016 in the stylish Eva St, down Hannah’s Laneway, Shepherd has become a stalwart on the Wellington food scene. In a vibrant atmosphere with an inspired menu, diners can perch themselves comfortably on elegant Hans Wegner chairs as they wait to eat. Chef and co-owner Shepherd Elliot draws on novel flavouring and sophisticated techniques to create original cuisine that would not be out of place in a fine-dining restaurant. Steamed asparagus is embedded in a Japanese-style chawanmushi. Beef brisket is transformed by a two-day cooking process into meat so tender its connective tissue has softened into jelly. Shredded brussels sprouts and raw mushroom cut through the richness of the meat and a parsnip purée adds creaminess. With welcoming and engaged staff and a diverse drinks list, it is an easy place to settle in for a good night.

IN BRIEF Fun times, fine food, wicked drinks