Nikki Preston

Nikki Preston is a Herald reporter based in Hamilton.

Hamilton's rugby menu delivers a bite

A shark meal from Keystone. Photo / Christine Cornege
A shark meal from Keystone. Photo / Christine Cornege

Shark is on the menu at two Hamilton restaurants this week - and Chiefs supporters will be hoping it stays that way come Saturday night's Super rugby final against the Sharks.

John Lawrenson, who owns both restaurants, said 7kg of shark had already been ordered for his Keystone and The Abbey restaurants for Thursday night and he was expecting the dish to be a hit with diners not backing the South African team.

Keystone executive chef Mike Huitema, who enjoys cooking wild food, has come up with three ways to serve the fish, which was once used as a cheap substitute in fish and chips.

There's the traditional battered shark served with chips and salad on offer at both restaurants, with a more gourmet option of shark served on a smoked mash with cress and seared scallops served at Keystone, and shark served with a caprese salad, grilled tiger prawns and a lemon cream sauce at The Abbey. The shark dishes cost between $28 and $31.

"I think it will appeal to Waikato people. Waikato people seem to embrace this sort of stuff and I think the tongue-and-cheek shot at the Sharks will probably be appreciated.

"I expect quite a few people to come in and have a try of it," Mr Lawrenson said.

There's also a steak dish on Keystone's menu that is served with biltong, which might appeal more to any South African supporters in Hamilton.

Mr Lawrenson, who owns 12 Hamilton bars and restaurants, is bracing himself for a big night in the city, particularly since the game is on a Saturday.

He expects some out-of-towners but thinks most of the people will be Hamiltonians loyally backing the Chiefs.

He said he had spoken at the weekend to injured Chiefs player Richard Kahui, who with former Chiefs player Stephen Donald has shares in the Irish pub Shenanigans, and said some of the players would probably be in town after celebrating with family and friends at the Chiefs headquarters - if they had something to celebrate.

Waikato Motel Association president Mike Ward said his motel - Aquarius - was already a third booked and he expected it to be fully booked once tickets to the match went on sale to the public tomorrow.

The motel had had requests from people from the Bay of Plenty and Gisborne who came for the Chiefs-versus-Crusaders game on Friday night and had asked to be rebooked.

Yesterday, 6500 tickets were sold to season ticketholders at Waikato Stadium, which seats 25,800.

- NZ Herald

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