Chef Paul Patterson — currently on our screens looking for love in The Bachelorette — has teamed up with Olympic decathlete Brent Newdick to open a restaurant in Parnell.
The pair, together with Parnell hospitality legend Esmeralda Kasmara, will open "va bene" — an Italian and French venue, based on the travels of Patterson and Newdick. "I have opened about 17 restaurants in Paris over the past seven years and it's been fun," Patterson told Spy.
"I was supposed to open in New York last year but Covid threw a spanner in the works and I lost the restaurant so I'm a little bit nervous about this one in Auckland."
"We are definitely trying to bring a bit of Italy dining to Parnell because of Brent's time and training spent in Italy. Also a bit of French dining culture because I love it and miss it, having been previously based there."
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In between his sporting career highs and lows due to injury, Newdick — who is still training in the hope of competing this year — opened the successful Italian sandwich bar Aperitivo.
The new restaurant will open just up the road, helped by the might of Kasmara, who brings her 10 years of experience at Non Solo Pizza.
Newdick says it's a "bitter-sweet story" as the new operation takes over from Malaysian restaurant Kopio "a real Parnell favourite and my neighbours for the past four years".
The pair hope to open their doors in the next few weeks. And although Patterson wouldn't give anything away about the latest season of The Bachelorette, he did say Lexie Brown would be in for dinner.