Get a taste of Dunedin
Get a taste of Dunedin
From its homegrown produce to gourmet delicacies, quirky cafes to craft breweries, Dunedin’s food scene may be the country’s best-kept secret.
Perhaps not for long: Air New Zealand currently flies non-stop from Auckland three times a day, but next month they’ll kick it up a notch, adding five more non-stop services a week. So you can start the day with Marmite and Vogel’s at home and lunch on Vogel St in the southern city’s trendy Warehouse Precinct.
A newly rediscovered city treasure, the vibrant Warehouse Precinct is home to a range of top-notch eateries. To get the feel of the place, go to Vogel St Kitchen, which kicked off the movement to revitalise Dunedin’s historic neighbourhood. Once a derelict printing shop, it has been renovated into a modern industrial space, a buzzing space packed with locals and visitors seeking specialties like the Bannockburn pizza or pulled pork sandwich.
Precinct Cafe also embraces its industrial past with polished concrete floors, exposed beams and wooden designer furniture for a modern sophisticated vibe. The menu changes daily depending on what’s in season, like blackened hot smoked salmon or the house-made filled breads.
New Zealand’s reckoned to serve the best coffee on the planet, and right up there is Heritage Coffee with its locally roasted Common Ground espresso and simple fare that reflects “all the things we love about our small city with a big heart”.
For a sweet treat, OCHO – aka Otago Chocolate Company – handcrafts morsels made from cacao beans ethically grown in the Pacific. Taste sensations include Beekeeper with manuka honey, or the indigenous plant flavours of horopito and kawakawa.
New New New, or NNN, is a craft brewery, a short walk from the Warehouse precinct, with an innovative range like Synaptic Voyage – a Thai lime and lemongrass sour, or Mr Wow! Black – a black Belgian IPA. Its taproom on Crawford St is open on Fridays.
Octagon and surrounds
Nothing says Dunedin like the Octagon. Kickstart the day at Nova: the all-day bistro has been a favourite for over a decade. Delicious breakfasts include warm banana bread, eggs benedict or lambs fry; at lunch or later on, it’s a trip around the world with mushrooms of toast, Singapore laksa or southern American gumbo.
Bacchus Wine Bar and Restaurant is one of Dunedin’s longest established dining destinations, housed in a striking building from the late 1800s. Chef Rose Lock has been at its ovens for more than 20 years; her lengthy list of awards and the cellar’s extraordinary list of the world’s leading wines make an evening here something special.
Later on, you can’t go past Vault 21 for a DJ, dance floor and original cocktails – its Candy Cosmopolitan includes a tuft of pink candy floss – and fusion-inspired sharing plates.
Beside the sea
Harbourside eatery Plato serves the freshest and best seafood in town, gems like hot smoked fish pie, pork and clams. You can’t get much quicker from keg to glass than their Birch Street Brewery beers: they’re crafted onsite.
Who needs Bondi when there’s Starfish in the heart of St Clair Esplanade? Dine inside or out to watch the surf crash while munching fish’n’chips battered with the local brew, Emerson’s.
You don’t have to be a beer-lover to enjoy a visit to Emerson’s brewery itself. The tour and tasting sessions are an attraction in their own right, but founder Richard Emerson’s longtime dream – the on-site restaurant – offers great bar snacks, sharing plates, and meals that leave ordinary pub-fare for dead.
Reflecting the iconic buildings of Dunedin, Ombrello’s is a lovely pair of houses joined together by an all-weather patio, it’s a crowded and quirky local favourite. Their menus are famously good, both as cafe-style in the day or bar/restaurant in the evening. Renowned as the city’s premium craft beer spot, wine-drinkers aren’t forgotten: sample Brendan Seal’s Urban Vino pinot noirs, made in the city using grapes supplied by Central Otago vineyards.
You’ll need to time your visit to Highgate Bridge, or The Friday Shop as it’s better known. It’s only open Fridays and the French-inspired delicacies – like beef bourguignon, bolognaise, tarts and croissants – created by former Michelin-star chef Jim Byars, often sell out by 10am. You do however have the option to pre-order and collect.
Get a taste of Dunedin this summer.
Air New Zealand flies non-stop to Dunedin from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch with connections from all Air New Zealand-serviced domestic airports. For more information and bookings, visit the Air New Zealand website.