Two new Asian eateries have opened this week in Auckland - but don't expect to find butter chicken or sweet sour pork on the menu.

Epicer, by Michelin-star chef Manjunath Mural and restaurateur Delhiite Aditya Sudan, opened on Friday on Ponsonby Road with offerings of modern Indian cuisine and cocktails.

On Thursday night, fine dining Chinese degustation restaurant Red Wall 1939 opened at the Parnell Rose Garden, revolving around a menu based on China's state banquets.

Owners of both restaurants say they are on a mission to redefine Asian dining in Auckland.

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Michelin-star chef Manjunath Mural of Epicer on Ponsonby Road is on a mission to change how Kiwis view Indian food. Photo / Dean Purcell
Michelin-star chef Manjunath Mural of Epicer on Ponsonby Road is on a mission to change how Kiwis view Indian food. Photo / Dean Purcell

Sudan, owner of Epicer, said he wanted his restaurant to make Kiwis "reconsider how they perceive Indian cuisine".

"Indian cuisine has been seen as a cheap, family takeout filled with heavy, oily curries for too long, despite the richness and diversity of its culinary history," Sudan said.

"We're coupling ethically-sourced proteins and a commitment to gathered organic produce with a first-rate international chef, some of the best mixologists New Zealand has to offer, sommelier-trained staff and excellent service.

Flaming slow cook lamb chop Kashmiri at Epicer. Photo / Dean Purcell
Flaming slow cook lamb chop Kashmiri at Epicer. Photo / Dean Purcell

"I spent several months putting together a team that gives modern Indian cuisine the respect, and platform, it deserves."

Sudan said diners would find a French influence on both the food menu and the cocktail list.

Chef Mural's Song of India restaurant in Singapore was the first Indian restaurant in South East Asia to be awarded a Michelin star in 2016, something which it has now won for three consecutive years.

Now he has his sight on getting the first Michelin star restaurant for New Zealand.

A selection of food from the new Indian restaurant called Epicer on Ponsonby Road. For Weekend story about super-premium Asian restaurants opening in Auckland. 28 February 2019 New Zealand Herald Phot
A selection of food from the new Indian restaurant called Epicer on Ponsonby Road. For Weekend story about super-premium Asian restaurants opening in Auckland. 28 February 2019 New Zealand Herald Phot

Born in Mumbai, Mural spent the last 12 years in Singapore.

"I want to bring Indian food to the same level as that of the French, but I know changing the Kiwi perception that Indian food is just greasy curries won't be easy," Mural said.

"I am in this for the long haul ... this mission is not a short mission, but a long mission."

Local food experts too say the restaurateurs have a tough road ahead.

AUT University Professor of Diversity Edwina Pio said New Zealanders had a "colonial hangover" and a thinking that fine dining belonged exclusively to Europeans.

Jian Liu, the owner of the Red Wall 1939 Restaurant. Photo / Doug Sherring.
Jian Liu, the owner of the Red Wall 1939 Restaurant. Photo / Doug Sherring.

Food critic and judge of Metro Magazine's Top 100 cheap eats William Chen said "narrow minded stereotypes" about Asian food being "cheap and cheerful" was rife.

Red Wall 1939 was started by Kevin Jian Liu, the grandson of Chairman Mao Zedong's executive chef.

Liu said his menu was based on recipes from Chinese state banquets - dishes that leaders used to impress presidents, royalty and other visiting dignitaries.

"At official state dinners, what is served is dishes that bring out the best of Chinese and the cuisine of where the visitor is from," Liu explained.

"For example, when China hosted US President Donald Trump, it was Americanised Chinese food cooked with intricate Chinese techniques."

Red Wall 1939's pine nut fish, blue cod is cut to resemble a pine nut. Photo / Rebecca Zephyr Thomas
Red Wall 1939's pine nut fish, blue cod is cut to resemble a pine nut. Photo / Rebecca Zephyr Thomas

Liu said he was hopeful that his restaurant would add to the diversity of Chinese restaurants here, and "raise the status" of Chinese cuisine.

Professor Pio said there was a huge market in New Zealand for Indian fine dining.

"But cultural inertia, gastronomic stereotypes and thinking beyond butter chicken still have a long way to go," she said.

"Fine dining is equated with French cuisine or European cuisine – something like a colonial hangover, which displays a reluctance to engage and embrace foods from exoticised natives, whose image conjures up cheap and average take-aways."

However, Pio said the growing Indian population here and India's mega superpower status could slowly change that.

"It would be prudent to remember that India was the jewel in the crown of the British Empire and her cuisine matched the glamour and glitz of royalty," Pio added.