New Zealander Matt Lambert appears to be on a mission to debunk some stereotypes and defy a few expectations about his homeland. For a chef raised in a country famous for its wild, rugged terrain and obsession with rugby, his contemporary cuisine is surprisingly subtle, thoughtful and at times even quite delicate—and if you come here expecting to find lamb on the menu, you’ll probably be disappointed. It is obvious that this is a kitchen with a mastery of all the modern culinary techniques. Don’t go thinking this is all about presentation though, because the dishes really do deliver on flavor and are ridiculously easy to eat. Nothing demonstrates the ability here more than the succulent New Zealand venison accompanied by “flavors of gin” which are dots of juniper meringue, fennel, and a licorice-infused sauce. Even that antipodean classic, the pavlova, is given a new lease of life by not so much being deconstructed as being reinvented, as a subtle and delicious delicacy made with passion fruit. The warm and inviting room fits seamlessly into the neighborhood and comes with a 20-foot walnut timbered bar and lime-washed exposed brick walls.
- MICHELIN guide inspectors