Hospitality awards: Outstanding Winery Restaurant category

By Amy Shanks

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Craggy range looks out towards the back of Te Mata Peak and puts emphasis on using quality local produce. Photo/File
Craggy range looks out towards the back of Te Mata Peak and puts emphasis on using quality local produce. Photo/File

Hawke's Bay's Hospitality Awards recognise the best in business as voted by their peers, with winners of all 16 categories to be announced at a special award ceremony at MTG Century Theatre, on May 19. For the next few days, Hawke's Bay Today will be profiling the finalists.

Food and wine go hand in hand - something many local businesses have discovered with great success.

There's nothing quite like sitting among the very vines that produced the wine you are sipping, enjoying a well crafted meal.

This year's Hospitality Awards Oustanding Winery Restaurant category pays homage to four of Hawke's Bay's finest, which have the full experience down to a fine art.

Craggy Range's Terroir Restaurant features expansive windows and alfresco dining in summer, which make the most of romantic views across the vineyard towards Te Mata Peak.

Their chefs use top produce from throughout the region, as well as their on-site garden, but influences come from across the globe.

"We use the best produce we can find, and source that from Hawke's Bay, where possible we use our garden," hospitality manager Tracey Bartlett said.

"Leyton's inspired by the French style, but we make it our own."

Elephant Hill offers contemporary New Zealand fine dining at its best - in an idyllic setting that contrasts glimpses of the rugged Te Awanga coastline, with a warm, welcoming stylish interior.

"The setting is hugely important, the vineyard, the waiters out front, the food itself, the wine matches - we use Hawke's Bay ingredients and produce as much as possible, and the service is hugely important," marketing and sales manager Vince Labat said.

Black Barn Bistro emphasises food with a seasonal flavour, in an environment that is laid back, yet timelessly elegant.

"It's a bistro, so it's casual dining in the surrounds of the vineyard, it's seasonal, it's fresh it's simple," cellar door and events manager Francis de Jager said.

A newly modelled menu simplified the process even further, by removing entree and main titles.

"It's a basic list of fantastic dishes that reflect the season and the mood of Hawke's Bay - lamb, olive oil ... we strive for three simple things, a fantastic atmosphere, great food and even better service."

Clearview took the Winery Restaurant title last year, for their magical lunch restaurant with a dash of Mediterranean colour.

Co-owner Helma van den Berg puts their success down to a seaside location, consistent ownership and team of staff who are more like family.

"We are focussed on fresh, regional Mediterranean - we started in 1991, the climate here is good, for us it's longevity, maturity - we are the original owners.

"Our point of difference is that flexibility, it's very child friendly, but high quality - informal, rustic comfortable is what we do."

- HAWKES BAY TODAY

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