Napier is a sun-drenched city, famous for having an abundance of Hawke’s Bay wineries and its pristine Art Deco architecture. Prevailing since the 1930’s, this bold and optimistic Art Deco culture has come to define the city, extending to its vibrant restaurant scene, as featured below.
MINT Restaurant is an obvious but welcome anomaly in Napier, as it is the only restaurant to be housed within one of the few surviving Victorian-era buildings. While the facade might mark it out as an exception in Napier, the food on offer inside MINT is a keen reflection of its setting. The freshly steamed New Zealand greenlip mussels are a local favorite, and here they are infused with manuka smoke and cooked with shallots, white wine and marinated lemon. As though it were competing to be the most ‘Kiwi’ dish on the menu, the 14-hour braised lamb shoulder and pan-fried lamb loin is accompanied by the New Zealand staple of creamed kumara with a carrot and Pernod purée and fennel-infused juice.
MINT Restaurant, 189 Marine Parade, Napier, New Zealand, +64 (06) 835 4050
High-end dining is on offer within Pacifica, which provides a refreshingly relaxed and endearing setting. New Zealand’s familial, unpretentious and welcoming spirit fills this restaurant, which is housed inside a weathered beach bungalow. Diners are treated to an ever-changing array of dishes, determined according to the best available local produce. According to their website, the cuisine at Pacifica is ‘based on emotion and bravery rather than convention’, an assertion which could feel contrived in most other cities around the world, but not in Napier. The strong connection that New Zealanders have with their surroundings is captured in a menu celebrating locally sourced seafood.
Salvare is a boutique winery with an award winning wine cellar. Though the food options available here may be limited, the platter that accompanies wine tastings at the distinctive ‘Red Shed’ are exceptional. Alongside locally sourced cured meats and cheeses are homemade olive oils, a spicy crushed nut Dukkah and a delectable Chardonnay mustard to slather over rustic cuts of bread. Salvare’s unique frozen shots of wine finish these platters with the deep, satisfying feeling of a sorbet.
Salvare, 403 Ngatarawa Rd, Napier, New Zealand, +64 (06) 874 9409