Parisian bistros, Spanish pintxos bars and Italian trattorias serve as inspiration for Alfie Inghamâs menu at Aucklandâs Hugoâs Bistro.
âWe work with small suppliers, cheesemongers, fisherman and butchers. Their produce makes up the majority of the menu,â says the head chef. Inghamâs love for simple, bold flavours sees a menu that lets the produce take centre stage, while a passion for local ingredients drives the menuâs direction. Ingham spoke with STYLE to share his favourite restaurants and dining spots around Aotearoa.
La Fuente Wine & Mezcal, Auckland
Tucked down the CBDâs Snickel Lane is Aucklandâs go-to mezcal bar. âA great spot to try a diverse range of wines and let Mundo guide you through the world of mezcal,â says Ingham.
Ingham loves the modern Korean cuisine on offer at Commercial Bayâs Gochu. âYouâll have to get Jasonâs fried chicken which is amazing. But donât miss out on dishes like the Mool Hwe, cold fish soup or Soon Dae, venison black pudding wrapped in seaweed.â
Wellingtonâs iconic Rita is the dinner spot where Ingham is dying to go. âIâve heard nothing but great things about this restaurant, a daily changing three-course menu inspired by the seasons.â
âFraser and Shannon have created a truly beautiful restaurant with innovative dishes, using incredible produce,â says Ingham. âTheir creative uses of vegetables always surprise me – the yam tart for dessert is incredible!â
Sid Sarhawatâs award-winning Cassia is a âguaranteed fun night outâ says Ingham. âI think Cassia set the bar for restaurants in New Zealand years ago, and itâs still at the top.â
Whitiangaâs Cooked serves up world-class Mexican cuisine in a laid-back setting. Ingham recommends the tacos and tequila at this hidden gem in the heart of the Coromandel.
At Cazador, youâll find a unique family restaurant thatâs famous for its wild game. âDrink sherry, eat the charcuterie and let them treat you like a local,â says Ingham. Choose from the a la carte menu to try the feast menu for the ultimate Cazador experience.
Visit Wanakaâs Kika for âsome of the best food in the country,â says Ingham. âMy old boss, James Stapley, is one of the best chefs in the country.â The eclectic space and unique menu is matched with a carefully curated wine list of local and international varietals.
Blackboard specials and delicious meats are Inghamâs recommendations when dining at ApĂ©ro. âEat terrine, sausage, everything on the blackboard and let Mo decide your drinks,â he says. âGo in for a quick wine and leave far later than you planned.â
Discover vintage-inspired rooms and an exceptional restaurant at this boutique hotel in Queenstown. âThey grow a lot of their own produce and it shows in their seasonal menu,â says Ingham.