Food awards for Waiheke restaurants welcome news

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Four Waiheke restaurants have been recognised as among the best in the country at the Cuisine Good Food Awards 2021/2022. Tantalus Estate, The Oyster Inn and Three Seven Two all recieved a prestigious chef hats’ rating, and while Te Motu Vineyard didn’t, it is also being included in Cuisine’s Good Food guide for 2022.

Carrie Aitken, who owns Tantalus Estate with her husband Campbell Aitken, says it’s welcome news for Waiheke’s hospitality industry, after two years of struggling through the pandemic’s disruption. “It’s a real morale boost, the way Waiheke Island has been recognised in the awards.” The awards are judged by a team of 40 anonymous reviewers, who slipped in unannounced among the diners at each candidate restaurant. One of Cuisine’s reviewers praised Tantalus as a “one-stop destination,” with great views, food and a fine selection of homegrown wine and award-winning craft beers from Alibi Brewing Company, based below the restaurant itself. 

“While most tables have a view over the vines, just as you might find in the heart of the ancient wine countries of Europe, the menu is definitively local. It’s inspired by what’s grown and made on the estate or can be sourced from around the island. On offer are two-, three-, or four-course set menus crafted by chef Gideon Landman. Standouts are the Leigh snapper crudo with fennel, battered oyster and a deilicious verjuice. Meat eaters will love the aged beef with a tip-top potato terrine and pickled walnuts.” Carrie says the restaurant’s “trust the chef” set menu changes from week to week. “What that allows is for our kitchen to get really creative, and have a lot of fun with the menu,” she says.”I’m always so in awe with our chefs, they’re artists who put their heart and soul into their food.” • Paul Mitchell

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