Herne Bay welcomes a vibrant new neighbourhood eatery, serving Mediterranean food and delicious wine

Set on the busy corner of Jervois and Ardmore Road, but offering an intimate escape from its bustling suburban surrounds, Squisito Trattoria is Herne Bay’s charming new neighbourhood eatery, offering simple, delicious food, beautiful wine and a very convenient takeaway window (which is proving to be a godsend over the festive season).

Opened by Tony Matches and Buki Prekazi (both coming from extensive careers in hospitality in New Zealand and overseas) Squisito offers exactly what you want from a neighbourhood spot. Step inside the framed-glass frontage and you will be greeted with a space that is sleek and contemporary while still feeling warm, welcoming and fun. Offsetting its simple, black furnishings (which Matches tells me he and his team handmade themselves), Squisito’s walls are rendered in unexpected tones of peach and vibrant blue, a combination that not only works to inject a bit of character into the small space but cultivate a relaxed, elevated vibe. (In fact, Matches explains that they called on design consultant Steve Reid to help create the perfect environment at Squisito — something that, in our opinion, has been achieved with considerable success.) Here, one might just as happily park up on the comfortable, window-side bench seats to enjoy a quiet after-work drink, as they might luxuriate in a long, drawn-out dinner or a convivial night with friends — such is the versatility of Squisito’s space and menu.

As for the latter, Squisito’s food offering has been inspired by the flavours of the Mediterranean, allowing Matches and Prekazi to create dishes that draw on a vast range of culinary influences — from Italy to Spain to Portugal to North Africa. The menu, Matches tells me, will be ever-changing and seasonally driven, anchored in al dente pasta, perfectly-cooked meats and wood-fired pizza, but with the core focus always on offering tasty food to suit any kind of palate. At the moment, there is a strong Italian influence running through all of Squisito’s dishes, from small bites to heavier mains to perfectly-executed pizzas, and everything feels fresh and full of flavour.

Highlights include the mouth-watering roast duck gnocchi with black olives, mushrooms and pecorino, the venison (cooked overnight in Squisito’s wood-fired oven), served with a sprinkling of blueberries and grana padano (perfect for those seeking something slightly rich) and the lemon and prawn risotto with avocado and shaved parmesan. That said, it’s almost impossible to pass up one of Squisito’s wood-fired pizzas, which range from the classic Margherita and prosciutto varieties to pork and fennel sausage with broccoli and pecorino, and a garlic prawn and chilli option. All of Squisito’s pizzas are made using a San Marzano tomato base, which delivers a deeper, more authentic flavour.

There is also, of course, a range of tantalising vegetarian dishes (from vegetarian lasagne to pizza topped with cauliflower, confit mushrooms and wood-fired roasted pumpkin) as well as a concise but undeniably enticing dessert menu of tiramisu, chocolate mousse (with caramelised orange) and basil and lemon panna cotta.

Notably, there isn’t a wine list at Squisito. Instead, Matches explains to me that customers can simply walk up to the eatery’s extensive wine racks (taking up an entire wall), choose the bottle that takes their fancy, take it back to their table and pour away. It’s a very casual, help-yourself style that allows diners to get up close and personal with Squisito’s vast and varied wine offering, and allows Matches and Prekazi the freedom to regularly change the wines they choose to stock. Really, it’s part of the beauty of Squisito that nothing here is totally set in stone, making it the perfect place for locals who are looking for somewhere they can pop into regularly without running the risk of it ever feeling repetitive or stale.

Aside from Squisito’s dine-in offering, Matches and Prekazi have also launched a strategic (and already popular) takeaway option for anyone seeking Squisito’s delicious food without actually sitting in. Via a dedicated takeaway window located on Ardmore Road just down from the restaurant’s entrance, hungry punters can order anything off Squisito’s menu to enjoy at home, which is a pretty appealing prospect, particularly as the festive season really starts to ramp up.

“I just wanted to create a place with a bright, interesting, atmosphere, where people could enjoy tasty food and a fun, neighbourhood vibe,” Matches tells me. “Squisito is a real local,” he continues, “a friendly eatery where friends can meet over great food and great wine… come in and say hi, you’ll probably know someone sitting at another table.”

Opening hours:
Tuesday until Thursday, 4pm — 10pm
Friday until Sunday, 12pm — 10pm

Squisito Trattoria

170a Jervois Road
Herne Bay
Auckland

www.squisito.co.nz

Gastronomy

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Image credit: Laura Sciacovelli.

This season, treat yourself or someone special to a piece from Christian Dior’s chic new accessories

Enticing embroidery, dusty tones and classic shapes collide in these accessories from Christian Dior’s Cruise 2023 collection, capturing the mood of the season perfectly. Inspired by the spirit of Spain, the collection features details that are eye-catching and chic, from pom-pom-lined Saddle Bags to bejewelled sunglasses to floral Book Totes.

So, whether you are looking for a showstopping gift for someone special this Christmas, or are simply wanting to treat yourself, find all the inspiration you need in our picks from Christian Dior’s new-season accessories.

Saddle bag from Christian Dior.
Bucket bag Christian Dior.
Small Book Tote Christian Dior.
MissDior B1U sunglasses Christian Dior.
Saddle bag Christian Dior.
Empreinte boot Christian Dior.
Medium Lady Dior bag Christian Dior.
Saddle bag Christian Dior.
Book tote Christian Dior.

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Denizen’s definitive Christmas Gift Guide: What to buy the person who loves adventure

For the intrepid, adventuring type, these handy gadgets and elevated accessories promise to tick all the boxes. From essential, fashion-forward footwear, to tools and tech for those who like to explore the outdoors, this season we’ve curated the ultimate guide to ensure everyone adventurous in your life is taken care of.

Barista & Co Twist Coffee Press from The Studio of Tableware
A thirst for adventure needn’t require a compromise on taste; we happen to think good coffee should be readily available regardless of where you wake up each morning. This twist-press emulates the same depth and breadth of a pour-over coffee, with the added convenience of fitting in your pack’s smallest pocket, should you require a fresh cup at a moment’s notice.

Moncler Trail Grip GTX Sneakers from Moncler
For when the most rugged of trails call for a more stylish sleight of hand, Moncler can be relied upon for the ultimate shoe that embodies the essence of adventure. Featuring a Gore-Tex exterior for essential waterproofing, and constructed from durable ripstop, these shoes are grounded in a function-first approach.

Moscot Fliptosh Sunglasses from Parker & Co
With 20-20 vision in mind, Moscot’s iconic Fliptosh frames are the perfect gift for someone seeking both practicality and style. Designed as a dual-purpose frame, which can be easily fitted with prescription lenses, the style is handcrafted from Italian acetate — a vision of the iconic brand’s 107 years of expertise in eyewear.

Bellerby & Co Globemakers Mini Desk Globes from Mr Porter
Inspired by a little old-world glamour, where globes are housed in dusty libraries whose shelves reveal tales of intrepid adventure, these mini versions by the iconic Bellerby & Co Globemakers fit perfectly atop a desk, inspiring a newfound sense of adventure at every glance. The perfect gift for the office worker who would much rather be anywhere else.

Fujinon Techno-Stabilized Binoculars from Photo Warehouse
The best kinds of gifts are always those that we would never buy for ourselves, and binoculars are always a welcome addition for any adventurer. Designed to scope out far-flung locations, or pry on wildlife from afar, these Fujinon binos are some of the best on the market. Not only do they offer an innovative techno-stabiliser, and the strength of Fujifilm’s famed technology, but they also offer up to 14x magnification — all without you having to move a muscle.

Swiss Army Knife from Everyday Needs
It goes without saying that practicality should be at the heart of every gift for an adventurer, and there are few items more suitable than a Swiss Army Knife — an indisputable fact, according to literally anyone who has one. This iteration from Everyday Needs features an elegant, sustainable European walnut wood, that offers the perfect combination of outdoorsy and chic.

The Weekender Bag in Navy from Honest Wolf
The essential addition for any summer travel is the Weekender bag from Honest Wolf, a local accessory brand bringing quality wool goods back to their former glory. With the textile sourced from husband and wife founders Sam and Sophie Hurley’s 3,300-hectare third-generation farm, this bag fits in overhead cabins — perfect for those who love a last-minute adventure.

Diorizon Hiking Boot from Dior
Should hiking be your loved one’s favourite pastime, Dior’s latest boot will see them trekking into the summer in high-end style. Boasting the same kind of aesthetic as our beloved tramping boots, but with a more slender rubber sole allowing for a lighter, easier step, these are the kind of boots you find yourself reaching for more often than you would think (whether a hike is on the cards, or not).

Reto 3D x Retrospekt Camera from Splendid Photo
The best adventures are ones with lasting photos that keep the memory alive, and nothing is quite as nostalgic and sweet as a savoured roll of film. This camera in particular is perfectly pocket-friendly, allowing anyone the chance to capture precious moments in the beauty of 35mm.

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My Year of Magical Eating: Auckland’s 2022 culinary scene-stealers you simply have to try

In this regular column, our Editor-in-Chief embraces her long-held passion for dining, sharing the unexpected, fascinating and delicious experiences from restaurants, bars, pops-up and cheap and cheerful spots all across the country. Here, she details Auckland’s culinary scene-stealers, from coveted new openings to neighbourhood classics, all of which you simply must visit.

It’s been a year all right. One that, despite the lifting of tiresome restrictions, has still left many in the hospitality sector struggling to survive. While making it through the ongoing closures of 2020 and 2021 may have seemed challenging, navigating a restaurant through the demands of 2022; lack of staff, inability to hire international workers, increases in food costs, increases in wages, and the continued working from home practices carried out by large city corporates, has left the industry in tatters. One could suggest that in hospitality, if you’ve made it through 2022 without losing the shirt off your back, then you can survive anything. 

Life has certainly been sticky this year for many, and I’d hazard a guess that those feeling it most are the people keeping the wheels of our hospitality industry turning. So in true Denizen style, as the year draws to a close, we salute the industry that not only keeps us satiated, but provides us with some much-needed respite from our own situations. Because whether you choose to eat out for breakfast, lunch or dinner, when it’s prepared with love and expertise, and served in a welcoming, warm environment, it’s just the salve we need to face whatever comes our way.

Claire wears Alexandre Vauthier dress from Faradays, Serpenti Viper necklace, earrings and rings from Bulgari.

Bivacco Bar & Grill
Ever since Savor Group announced they were taking over the iconic Viaduct Harbour site that once housed Headquarters to turn it into a bold new waterfront bar and brasserie, there has been huge anticipation and excitement for what is arguably the biggest new opening of the year. Bivacco Bar and Grill offers the kind of experience that compares to the likes of Balthazar in New York or Totti’s in Sydney (or others of that ilk). Set in one of the best positions on the waterfront, this exceptional new hospitality destination is serving great drinks, tantalising food, breathtaking views and a convivial vibe.

Accommodating 300 people at any given time, the space is on a scale that we don’t often see here, although it has been cleverly designed to feel intimate and inviting, thanks to a fit-out by award-winning Commercial Designer, Paul Izzard. The interior is truly spectacular, finished in deep, jewel-green tones, dark timber, travertine and marble with sumptuous booth seating and tables surrounding an open kitchen on one side, and casual bar stools and leaners drawing attention to a bar on the other. And while the inside feels cosy and cool, it gives way to a light-filled, covered verandah space that spills out onto the surrounding Viaduct Harbour walkway, where sun-soaked outdoor tables and the bustling hum of celebratory patrons entice anyone strolling by to pop in for a drink, or a delicious bite overlooking the water. 

Bivacco.

On Bivacco’s menu, overseen by Head Chef Ryan Moore, delicious Italian food takes centre stage, where an array of unfussy, flavoursome options cater as perfectly to those seeking late-afternoon aperitivo as it does a long, indulgent lunch. Fresh Mediterranean flavours are heroed in locally-sourced seafood, not only via dedicated platters of prawns, marinated chilli mussels, calamari and scallops (served with salsa verde) but in grilled dishes too, like a wood-fired octopus with celery and potato salad and white bean purée or a wood-fired whole John Dory, served with pickled shishito and preserved lemon gremolata. 

Those seeking something more substantial will find it in beautifully al dente handmade pasta (think goats cheese ravioli with asparagus, burnt honey and pistachio or braised lamb agnolotti with sheep’s milk ricotta, zucchini and mint), and satiating pizzas (with toppings that range from classic Margherita to mushroom and truffle or spicy salami). There is also a line-up of sustainably-sourced, meticulously-prepared meat dishes, cooked to perfection on an open flame. 

All of this is only made better when enjoyed with one of Bivacco’s signature cocktails, a crisp Peroni or a glass of wine from the bar’s extensive list. While the house spritzes with concoctions which include the Hugo (with elderflower and mint), and the Island Time (with rum, lime, sugar and cucumber tonic) promise the perfect antidotes to humid summer days. 

Nailing the balance between laid-back and elevated, and offering the kind of festive atmosphere that makes it the ideal starting point for any fun day or night out. Bivacco Bar and Grill is definitely where you’ll find me this summer.

Bivacco is making after-work drinks more appealing than ever, with a dedicated aperitivo special every weekday from 4pm until 6pm. Patrons can watch the sun go down over Viaduct Harbour with refreshing Peroni paired with a range of complimentary bites like raw white asparagus, drizzled with aged balsamic and thyme and finished with parmesan, or fried mozzarella sticks with caviar, or delicate beef carpaccio with truffle, wild garlic, pickled mushroom and ricotta salata. A casual, pre-dinner snack has never sounded more appealing.

From left: Tokki, Origine.

Origine
This stellar bistro is the brainchild of renowned chef, Ben Bayly and wife Cara Bayly, alongside their Ahi co-owners, Chris Martin and wife, Lucile Fortuna (a group who, combined, have five decades of experience in French-inspired cuisine). Here, the trifecta of French cooking comes alive — seasonality, terroir and technique — with dishes that are flavourful and unique, without losing any of the richness or depth one might expect from a French dining experience. The menu is divided into hors d’oeuvres (snacks), à partager (to share), pour commencer (starters), plats principaux (mains), accompagnements (sides), les desserts, and fromages (cheese), and boasts a comprehensive ‘steak frites’ offering, an enticing line-up of ‘fruits de mer’ (seafood) and basically all of the classic dishes, done with a distinctly New Zealand twist.

Tokki
While it’s highly likely that you’re familiar with Jason Kim’s culinary handiwork in the kitchen of Commercial Bay’s popular spot, Gochu, his newest offering in Milford, Tokki, offers something different. Its menu heroes pared-back yet delightfully inspired cuisine that puts an unexpected twist on authentic flavours. Expect classic Korean fare, with none of the fried chicken, bubbling clay pots or lashings of chilli and cheese one might expect from a typical Korean restaurant. Instead you’ll find a homage to traditional foods in dishes like the crispy chicken wing, carefully stuffed with prawn and mushroom, or the Tokki toasties, filled with layers of mortadella and oiji (pickled cucumbers), or the mouth-watering beef short ribs with black garlic jus and white kimchi. For dessert? Melona smores, of course — a traditional Korean ice cream, presented as little works of art.

MoVida.

MoVida
Regarded as one of Melbourne’s greatest legacy eateries, MoVida, (the Hosier Lane stalwart) put Frank Camorra’s refined, convivial and wholly original take on Spanish tapas on the culinary map when it opened in 2003. In the past few years, with several frustrating delays along the way, Camorra and Savor Group’s Lucien Law collaborated to bring Camorra’s much loved MoVida to our shores, and since opening in August, it’s been a battle to even secure a reservation, it’s that popular. But boy is it worth it. Expect a line-up of iconic MoVida dishes like Anchovy with Smoked Tomato Sorbet and Carrilera De Buey (very soft beef cheek braised in spiced red wine and sweet Pedro Ximenez sherry and served with cauliflower purée), along with a selection of wood-fired seafood dishes like paella, designed to capitalise on New Zealand’s abundant kai moana. The wood-fired oven is a MoVida first, but is something that Camorra has utilised as a new vehicle for his culinary vision and to show off the extent of his talent in his Auckland kitchen. If you haven’t ventured here yet, I suggest you do. You will not be disappointed. 

Duo
A formative force in creating the likes of Culprit and Lowbrow, hospitality figurehead Jordan MacDonald joined forces with his wife Sarah (of Masterchef fame among many other talents) earlier this year to create Duo, which would fast become one of the most popular eateries in Birkenhead. The all-day eatery boasts an evening menu that comprises a selection of snacks to share alongside smaller and larger plates that can either be kept for one or shared around the table. The lamb ribs, for instance, which come with a Sicilian olive gremolata and smothered in apple glaze, are best when shared between friends. But brunch is where Duo has amassed such notoriety, with inspired takes on eggs benedict, alongside fish tartare on toast and indulgent cream donuts. Delicious.  

Ooh-Fa
Since opening in St. Kevin’s Arcade two years ago, Pici has become a firm favourite, and fantastic addition to the City’s burgeoning Italian culinary scene. Bringing in the essence of traditional flavours, the Pici team’s newest venture Ooh-Fa, offers another Italian classic: pizza. (Though, once again, they have stepped it up a notch.) The pizza here is better than any you’ve likely tried before, where flavours range from perfected classics like the marinara with tomato, garlic,
oregano and added stracciatella to more seasonally-inspired offerings, like the cavolo nero with Italian sausage, mozzarella and oregano. And while all the pizza bases are fermented, the use of fermentation extends to the wider menu as well, with small snacks available like pickled cauliflower, carrots, beetroot and onion served with bagna gauda. My hot tip? Ensure you try the woodfired carrots with whipped ricotta and pistachios — a simple side dish that is out of this world. Given Ooh-Fa’s popularity, I also suggest booking in advance.

Gastronomy

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Step inside this sleek, modern Amsterdam residence with heritage at its heart

Located on the outskirts of Amsterdam, the DB11 house is an ode to the ‘Amsterdamse School’ architectural movement (popular between 1910 and 1930) that informed much of the original character of its area. From the outside, its brick facade, wooden window frames and red roof cladding speak directly to this history, but venture inside and you’ll discover how the idea of heritage has been more seamlessly integrated into the design, resulting in a residence that is unique, wonderfully layered and inherently contemporary. 

Renowned Dutch firm, Framework Studio, were the designers tasked with reimagining this home for a young family, and for them, moving the residence into the future required first delving into its past. According to the studio Founder, Thomas Geerlings, this meant searching through archives to understand more about the original architect in order to get insight into materials, texture and light. It was this knowledge about the building’s heritage that Framework Studio used to inform its designs, starting with a carefully selected material palette. 

Here, white-washed parquet timber flooring, light drapery and clean white walls are layered with dark timber pieces, sculptural steel accents and a generous use of green that, not only connects to the lush gardens surrounding the home, but lends the otherwise minimalist spaces some tonal depth. In using this more organic palette, Framework has managed to create spaces that feel unapologetically modern without losing any of the warmth or comfort necessary for a family home. 

Atollo table lamp by Vico Magistretti for Oluce from ECC, CH58 barstools by Hans J. Wegner for Carl Hansen & Søn.

In the kitchen and its adjacent dining area, this balanced design comes alive, where the rigid lines of a marble island are softened by rounded Hans J. Wegner bar stools and a commanding Atollo table lamp. Similarly, a sturdy dining table in dark wood is rendered less severe by rounded legs, raw edges, and the rattan detailing on each of the Pierre Jeanneret chairs that surround it. Meanwhile, painted oak cupboards in a subtle (but sophisticated) neutral tone serve to enhance the contrasting detail in the kitchen’s marble and bring a dimension to the space that white alone couldn’t deliver. 

Chandigarh chairs by Pierre Jeanneret.

In the home’s more private spaces, timber has been used liberally (although this time via dark parquet flooring and honey-toned cupboards) to create bedrooms that feel intimate and inviting. Again, while the underlying palette is clean and simple, the tonal accents are cool and contemporary as the green motif continues in an intriguing marble (used on floors and in the smaller bathroom) and understated touches of blue that recall the industrial tones of the steel pieces seen elsewhere in the house.

Framework Studio has cleverly designed a home that is both grounded in its history and prepared for the future. In weaving these two ideas seamlessly into every space, the designers have transcended trends to create a residence that will stand the test of time — the measure of success for any modern home.

Clockwise: Lateral light from Powersurge, Atollo table lamp by Vico Magistretti for Oluce from ECC, Casey credenza by Thomas Bina from Frobisher.
From left: Tycho II Small wall light from Desejo, Darian sideboard from Desejo.

From left: Egg Sculpture in Solid Ōamaru Stone by Fourth Street Home from Simon James, NVL table by Jean Nouvel Design for MDF Italia from Matisse, Mr dining chair by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe for Knoll from Studio Italia.

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Silky Otter Ponsonby
Silky Otter Ponsonby
Silky Otter Ponsonby

Ponsonby Central welcomes a new boutique cinema and we’re giving away dinner and a movie for four to celebrate

The mood is certainly festive at Ponsonby Central, the restaurants abuzz with jovial gatherings and the precinct’s infamous Santa statue gracing us with his cheeky presence. To top it all off, newcomer and boutique cinema Silky Otter has just opened its doors, promising to entertain and delight its patrons in serious style. 

Silky Otter is more than just a movie theatre, boasting a sleek restaurant and bar area, ‘So Lounge’, which serves fresh fare, barista-made coffee, and delectable cocktails. There’s never been a better reason to make a night of it, and you can even have food and drinks delivered to your luxurious theatre recliner as you indulge in your film of choice. 

Movies currently showing at Silky Otter Ponsonby include the highly anticipated Black Panther: Wakanda ForeverThe Menu, and to entertain the children, the newly released animation Strange World. With state-of-the-art auditoriums, each seating 28 people, and the opportunity to hire out a specially-designed space with its very own bar, lounge and Laurent-Perrier screen, Silky Otter will undoubtedly elevate your cinema experience to new heights. 

To welcome Silky Otter to Ponsonby Central, we’re giving away the ultimate evening experience for four people — dinner at Inca and a Silky Otter movie experience. Your evening will kick off with Inca’s ‘Let Us Feed You’ tasting menu — a selection of the restaurant’s greatest hits designed for sharing. Then, you’ll head to Silky Otter, where you’ll enjoy a movie and dessert. To enter, fill out the form below. Good luck!

This competition is now closed.

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Bossi

Wondering what to eat this weekend? Consult our definitive dining guide

As the weekend rolls around again and we are left wondering how exactly to get the most out of our days off, it is to Auckland’s vast and varied dining scene that we turn, sure to find something convivial or delicious in which to indulge. From celebratory parties to wine pop-ups to chefs in residence, here are all the best foodie happenings to know about (and book into) over the weekend ahead.

Party at Soul Bar & Bistro on Friday and Saturday
Viaduct Harbour stalwart Soul Bar & Bistro is marking its milestone 21st birthday with an all-week party that kicked off on Monday and runs until this weekend. Inviting everyone to come down and celebrate with them, on Friday, Soul will be upgrading bottles of Mumm Champagne to magnums (although only 21 magnums are available, so don’t miss out), while on Saturday, it’s bottles of Mt Difficulty’s Roaring Meg rosé that will be given the upgrade treatment.

Roses Dining Room

Imbibe the best at Ashleigh Barrowman’s takeover at Roses Dining Room
For its inaugural Winemaker In Residence event, Roses Dining Room has called on Ashleigh Barrowman (of Wine Diamonds and Still Life Wine) to curate a dining event anchored by a dream wine list full of her favourite tipples. Set to take place this Sunday (for one night only), Bowerman’s delectable wine list (which even includes some of her own bottles from her now sold-out new release) will be perfectly accompanied by a selection of tasty plates whipped up by Roses Co-Owner and Chef, Karl Bayly. Walk-ins are welcome from 4:30pm, but bookings are recommended (here).

Enjoy a taste sensation at Pickled Plates’ pop-up at Annabel’s Wine Bar
This Saturday (26th November), renowned food writer, author, cook, and preserver Kylie Newton (@themodernpreserver) will be taking over Annabel’s Wine Bar for another round of her popular series, Pickled Plates. Here, she will be creating a variety of delicious small bites based around pickled or fermented ingredients, which will be served alongside Bare Wines’ best new Beaujolais of the season, from sparkling varietals to reds. And with Newton recently releasing an early teaser of what to expect on the menu (think home-cured salmon with pickled pea potato salad, and charred pickled beetroot carpaccio with horseradish rare beef), we couldn’t be more excited for this gastronomic affair. Note, there will be two seatings available, one at 5pm, and the other at 7:30 — bookings are strongly recommended and can be made by emailing Annabel’s here.

Free range chicken schnitzel with whipped feta, zucchini, peas, lemon and anchovy butter and dill from Jervois Steak House

Indulge in Jervois Steak House’s new summer menu
One of our most beloved restaurants has just given its menu a seasonal shake-up, with Jervois Steak House adding a raft of fresh, enticing fare to its already-lauded offering. From Skull Island prawns with n’duja butter, lime salt and soft house-made bread to Free range chicken schnitzel with whipped feta, zucchini, peas, lemon and anchovy butter and dill, the new dishes are utterly mouth-watering and perfect for the season ahead. And if that wasn’t enough, we are giving one lucky Denizen the chance to win dinner for four. See here to read more and to enter.

Bivacco

Try something new at one of Auckland’s newest openings
Switch up your weekend routine by paying a visit to one of Auckland’s new openings. For a flavour sensation and some seriously moreish noodles, head to David Lee’s Aigo on Ponsonby Road. For casual but delicious cafe fare and perfectly elevated Bruch, drop into Huddle in Glen Innes. For an intimate but bustling vibe, great drinks and tasty, seafood-centric food, try Underground Bistro — the new restaurant and bar that has just opened in K’Road’s St Kevin’s Arcade. For comforting Italian (just like Nonna makes) be one of the first to book a table at Bossi — which officially opens next Friday (we are also giving away two tickets to its opening party, see here). Or, for a fun atmosphere, a spectacular view, flowing drinks and a selection of relaxed Italian bites and mouthwatering, made-to-share dishes, look no further than Bivacco — the epic new opening in Viaduct Harbour.

Gastronomy

Pie Rolla’s is the epic new pie purveyor on K’ Road drawing a crowd
Soul’s new cocktails are just the tonic for the inclement weather ahead — these are our go-to orders
One Queen Dining is unveiling an elevated Aperitivo Hour this week, and we have all of the details

Our Editor-in-Chief joins forces with Grand Designs NZ host Tom Webber, to take the sleek Jaguar I-PACE on an architectural tour

With a grand (excuse the pun) history, which includes a total of 23 years, and 24 seasons, Grand Designs UK is one of the longest running TV shows that I personally have ever committed to watching. And that’s saying a lot for someone who really doesn’t watch much of what the world of television offers anymore. But Grand Designs is not just any TV show. The reason this show is resolutely watchable is the promise of hubris amongst the rubble, of bold ambitions realised in steel and glass, weakened gradually over the course of each episode by human folly, only to be resurrected in an architectural marvel of glorious success. 

Each episode begins in a similar vein, with owners seemingly unaware of the scale or the costs of what they are about to embark upon (a premise that makes the payoff all the more impactful). As time drags on, building costs mount and deadlines are not met, and despite our obvious judgement, as viewers, we find ourselves rooting deeply for the family who have laid it all on the line in the name of impassioned design. These people have dared to take on such an arduous task, assuming they can achieve it quickly and relatively cheaply, and despite the odds, they actually manage to pull it off, leaving those of us at home inspired not only by their dedication but their creative prowess. 

Our own incarnation of Grand Designs New Zealand is no less nail biting, nor less inspirational in the homeowners’ quest to create the designs of their dreams. Something I recently learned, after having an exclusive one-on-one tour of some of the show’s greatest homes in the Auckland region, with Grand Designs New Zealand’s host, architect Tom Webster.

“Jaguar is passionate about championing innovation, it’s at the heart of everything they do, so their collaboration with Grand Designs NZ makes a lot of sense.” 

The British-born architect — known locally for his involvement in the design of The Hotel Britomart, and his time at Cheshire Architects (though he now has a practice with his wife Anna, Webster Harding Architects), is no stranger to ambitious designs. His diverse portfolio moves from designing and repurposing ancient and historic buildings, to projects for Google. Webster also has a huge passion for cars, so the Grand Designs New Zealand partnership with Jaguar is one he finds immensely rewarding from an aesthetic synergies perspective.

Our tour of some of the grandest of homes from previous seasons of the show takes place behind the wheel of Jaguar’s fully-electric I-PACE. Once inside the elegant, highly aerodynamic car, Webster informs me just how deep his obsession with cars goes. Having graduated in architecture in the UK, but always having a love of cars, Webster tells me that “in my third year of architecture school, my sketchbook was filled with drawings of cars.” This passion quickly saw him study car design in Coventry, which also happens to be the home of Jaguar, and the centre of the UK motor industry.

We immediately begin an analysis on the variations between automotive design and residential architecture. “Architecture,” explains Tom Webster, “is a far more comprehensive beast. It involves every aspect of the build, from electrical, to plumbing to engineering, while car design is purely about styling and aesthetics.” 

And with the advent of electric cars changing the game completely, we both agree that car designs are evolving massively. Webster suggests, “They really have the opportunity to become like spaceships now, you actually don’t need a car to look like a car anymore.” Take the I-PACE that I am driving. While it still carries the DNA of its fuel-powered predecessors, its shape is more elegant and refined and it is clear it has been created to provide efficiency by slicing cleanly through the air for maximum range and stability. Its flowing waistline, dramatic bonnet scoop and signature rear haunches elevate this into a truly beautiful looking car. As Webster offers, “car design now, is really all about the battery and aerodynamics. You no longer need an exhaust or a radiator grill, allowing for the design to be far more interesting than ever before.” I get the feeling that he would be happy to be back in the world of car design again now (he got back into architecture when he moved to New Zealand with his wife six years ago). 

I suggest that cars have always been about elegant engineering, and those at the luxury end of the market are more than just a mode of transportation; they are in fact an extension of your stylistic leanings, or of who you are. Webster reminds me that “Jaguar is passionate about championing innovation, it’s at the heart of everything they do, so their collaboration with Grand Designs New Zealand makes a lot of sense.” Their progress in the EV space is also extremely compatible with Webster’s own design philosophy, which is to embrace projects that are sustainable. When asked about the houses they select out of all that are submitted to the show, Webster suggests, “we’ve got to love the houses, and I have a strong leaning towards passive housing, so yes, the house needs to look beautiful, but it also needs to be environmentally responsible, much like your choice of vehicle.”

Webster is clearly incredibly suited to his new hosting position, his immense passion for representing great architecture in New Zealand is obvious. “So many of the owners have an aesthetic leaning towards a particular type of design, and it’s interesting to see their car leanings are often similarly suited. We had one homeowner that owned two beautiful E-Type Jaguars, which seemed like we were coming full circle with the show and our partnership with Jaguar.”

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Take your outdoor area to a whole new level with Kettal’s customisable Pavilion H design

It is around this time of year that we start to think more and more about our outdoor areas, from their layouts and functionality to their furniture. It’s hardly surprising really, given the amount of time we are likely to be spending outside in the coming months. But this year, we think it’s time to look beyond simply adding a new outdoor sofa or coffee table to the terrace and calling it a day. After all, why not create a space that truly gives meaning to the idea of outdoor living?

That is the essence of what Kettal’s Pavilion H offers. A space designed on the same principles of any good interior, but built to withstand the elements, it puts outdoor living on a whole new scale and will provide the perfect place to while away summer days.

Pavilion H is a fully customisable (from dimensions to material finishes), standalone, covered space that is anchored by a solid, aluminium frame. Side panels (available in a range of finishes) help to define its areas and shape its layout — whether realised as wooden slats or sliding partitions or sheer curtains or grid planters — while sliding glass doors work to keep the interior space connected to its surrounding environment.

The ceiling is able to be made in a range of materials too — each offering different degrees of weather-proofing — and is fully equipped with integrated lighting solutions that can be designed to curate the perfect atmosphere. Pavilion H is also fitted with power outlets and the ability to house a TV, should that be deemed necessary. (And considering that the structure can be made to house a full dining room or living room set-up, this may very well be the case.)

Available locally from Studio Italia and promising to take any kind of outdoor space to a whole new level, Kettal’s Pavilion H will make days in the garden, or drinks by the pool, or barbecues with friends more comfortable yes, but a whole lot more chic, too.

Design

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Soho Home available from Design Central

Denizen’s definitive Christmas Gift Guide: What to buy the gourmand in your life

If someone special in your life is passionate about cooking or just considers themselves a dedicated ‘foodie,’ treat them to a selection of sleek kitchen accoutrements that are as practical as they are polished. From elevated tableware to precise chefs knives to sculptural salt-and-pepper shakers, these are the essential kitchen-adjacent accessories and tools that the gourmand in your life will simply love this Christmas.

Ginori 1735 Oriente Italiano tableware from Faradays
Beautiful tableware (particularly of the Italian-made variety) is such a luxury that it always makes for a good present come Christmas time. Ginori 1735 is a brand that has honed its craft over nearly 300 years, and everything about it oozes Italian sophistication and charm — from its exquisite craftsmanship to its artisanal designs. Available locally from Faradays, each Ginori 1735 piece is precious and totally unique, which makes this brand the obvious go-to for anyone who loves to host.

Kai Shun knives from The Studio of Tableware
Very few kitchen tools are as satisfying to use, or as sleek in appearance as a Japanese chef’s knife. Svelte, smooth and meticulously handmade to offer unmatched precision, these Kai Shun Knives from The Studio of Tableware are the perfect gift for anyone who loves to spend time cooking and offer something that the recipient can cherish and use for many many years.

Isosceles Book & iPad stand from Powersurge
If you are looking to buy something for someone who loves a cookbook, look no further than Powersurge’s elegant Isosceles book and iPad stand. Made in New Zealand from pure brass before being hand-finished with a clear satin lacquer, this minimalist stand might be multi-purpose but will look damn fine atop a kitchen bench. It’s the perfect way for your recipient to keep their favourite recipe book at an arm’s length, always.

Junto by Rosenthal Soft Shell Deep Plate from The Studio of Tableware
An ideal gift for the person who just loves to have people round for a drink and a bite, this beautiful plate, part of the Junto by Rosenthal collection from The Studio of Tableware, is a simple but useful addition to anyone’s kitchen set-up.

Mono Germany Zeug cutlery set from Simon James
Step up your cutlery game with this exceptional Zeug cutlery set by Mono Germany, putting a creative spin on staple styles of the old. Originally designed by Michael Schneider and released on the occasion of the brand’s 100th anniversary in 1995, this set’s ultra-modern design was actually inspired by prehistoric tools (the knife after a hand axe, the thin fork after early spit tools and the spoon after a scooping hand), and has remained a covetable cutlery set for over two decades.

Vertuo Next White & Barista from Nespresso
The next step-up in innovative, coffee-making capability, Nespresso’s Vertuo Next White & Barista machine is able to make a vast array of coffee, whether the user is a staunch long-black drinker, or can’t go past a topping of frothy milk. In fact, this machine can create over 20 types of coffee, and delivers them café-quality, at the touch of a button. Moreover, the Vertuo Next machine is made using 54% recycled materials, has Bluetooth smart technology and is Wi-Fi enabled. Trust us, any coffee-lover will be proud to display this in their kitchen. And if you want to take your gifting game to the next level, add Nespresso’s Barista milk frother in for good measure. Beyond the classic cappuccinos, lattes and flat whites, this handy tool will see the recipient making affogatos, iced frappes, mochas and latte macchiatos (to name a few). Its integrated touch screen and connected app will allow them to navigate through recipes and personalise their own recipe with ease.

Anissa Kermiche Tit for Tat ceramic salt and pepper shakers from Matches Fashion
These are the perfect gift for the person who is always seeking out something different with which to dress their dining table. Ceramicist Anissa Kermiche has made quite a name for herself with pieces that are practical but that play with ideas of the human form in their aesthetic, and these salt and pepper shakers are no exception. Designed after the curvy torso of the female form, they are sure to draw comment at any dinner party and offer the perfect injection of personality into any table setting.

Bundles of Iron Bundle in Bronzed from The Ironclad Pan Co.
Buy the foodie in your life something that they can get years and years of use out of with a line-up of premium iron skillets and pans from The Ironclad Pan Co. The Bundles of Iron Bundle includes the brand’s Legacy PanLil’ Legacy and Old Dutch, and is the ultimate package for someone who loves to cook. Oh, and every one of The Ironclad Pan Co.’s products comes with a three-generation guarantee — so you know you’re buying unmatched quality. (You can also opt to have the pans expertly pre-seasoned, to take the gourmet element to another level.)

Aarke Carbonator 3 in Steel from Paper Plane Store
While one might not immediately think of a sparkling water as a typical Christmas gift, this particular iteration is utterly perfect for that practical person in your life. The Aarke Carbonator 3 is designed to be the slimmest, most compact sparkling water maker on the market and makes accessing perfectly-carbonated water easier than ever before.

Serax Surface Casserole Dishes from ECC
Buy your gourmand friend some luxurious casserole dishes by Serax from ECC. Made from cast-iron, with coloured glazing designed specifically to withstand high temperatures and retain heat, these dishes also boast cleverly-designed lids that will moisten a stew or simmer a dish with condensation so that the dish can reduce without drying up. Not only are these dishes some of the highest quality iterations of their kind, but they look the part too, with sleek lines and contemporary finishes.

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