Michael Meredith's new restaurant Mr Morris has made an immediate impact in the Auckland dining scene, being named the best eatery in Auckland.
NZ Herald magazine Viva today launched its first Restaurant Awards, naming the top 50 places to eat in central Auckland in 2021. The Supreme Winner, Mr Morris, is in Britomart and only opened last November.
Viva's dining out editor Jesse Mulligan teamed up with the city's foremost food influencer and creator of @Eatlitfood, Albert Cho, to create the list, which includes an incredible 16 new Auckland eateries, all of which have opened in the past year.
The awards are a celebration of Auckland's diverse and thriving dining scene, despite adversity.
"It's incredible to think that given what New Zealand was going through 12 months ago that we could be here giving out a Top 50 Restaurants list which includes 16 new restaurants, which each bring something totally unique and unexpected. We're one of the luckiest countries in the world and Auckland is a truly international dining city," says Mulligan.
As well as the supreme winner, the awards carve out a top 10, and some special awards for restaurants in the top 50.
The pair's special awards recognise everyone who loves food, from the best restaurants to take the family for a child-friendly dinner, to those looking for a romantic evening, and where to enjoy a meal solo.
"Jesse has dined out at least once a week, every week, for the past seven years in his role at Viva," says editor Amanda Linnell. "And Albert is out on the town at least a couple of nights a week. They are an unlikely duo, but they share a passion for good food.
"As this list shows, Aucklanders are lucky to have so many great restaurants to choose from. We know that so many in the food industry have had a tough year, and this list is about celebrating the hard work and talent that has ensured our restaurant scene has become one of the most vital in the world right now."
When it came to choosing the supreme winner, Mulligan and Cho were unanimous - Mr Morris is "the restaurant we've been waiting for", says Mulligan.
"The food tastes better than it has any right to taste, and it just happens to be cooked by Michael Meredith, who would be the ideal poster boy for New Zealand food even if all he cooked was steak and chips"
"This is a list we're both proud of, a top 10 we're excited about, and a supreme winner that each of us loves more than any other restaurant in the city."
Mr Morris, which opened in November last year, received a glowing 20/20 review when it was first reviewed by Jesse in January, with the restaurant earning praise for its chef's "gifted cooking", its knowledgeable staff, exquisite wine list, and elegant interior.
Other restaurants in the top 10 include another new opening, Ben Bayly's Ahi, and old favourites such as Depot and Soul Bar.
See the full list here.