Good things come in small packages, something that is certainly the case for Auckland's best restaurant of the year Pasture.

Last night the six-seat Parnell-based restaurant claimed the title of Metro Peugeot Restaurant of the Year, with owner Ed Verner also named best chef.

Pasture was the big winner of the night, also winning the best fine-dining category, the best dish and runner-up for best drinks list.

After the awards announcement, Verner said the team at Pasture felt like the underdogs but were honoured to be recognised for the work they do.

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"All of us at Pasture have killed ourselves to do what we do and sometimes it felt like it was impossible because there's only three of us that run the restaurant," he said.

Verner wanted to thank staff members past and present and his ex-wife Laura for the hard work they put in and for sticking with him during the tough times.

Ed Verner and his Parnell restaurant Pasture came up trumps at this year’s restaurant awards. Photo / Josh Griggs
Ed Verner and his Parnell restaurant Pasture came up trumps at this year’s restaurant awards. Photo / Josh Griggs

At present, he has no future plans for the restaurant and wants to continue to "have fun".

Meanwhile, Metro editor Henry Oliver said the restaurant might lack in size but it makes up for it in ambience, detail and experimentation.

"We set out to find not just Auckland's best food, but its best dining experience, and Pasture gave us one we'd never had before, pushing the limits of what a night at a restaurant can be," he said.

"Six guests are seated at a bar, and see their dishes cooked right in front of them by a small team of chefs who take care of the entire experience, pouring wine, mixing cocktails, clearing plates and guiding you through the evening.

"Each dish is as surprising and innovative as the last, with chef Ed Verner combining traditional methods of fermentation with modern techniques and a relentless dedication to quality ingredients."

Similarly, after Jesse Mulligan visited Pasture for a Herald Viva Magazine restaurant review, he labelled it "world class" and gave it a perfect rating.

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Pasture Restaurant won the restaurant of the year and best fine-dining. Photo / Josh Griggs
Pasture Restaurant won the restaurant of the year and best fine-dining. Photo / Josh Griggs

Cazador won best neighbourhood restaurant and overall runner-up for the second year in a row at the awards night held at the Auckland Town Hall.

The restaurant's family ownership over two generations appealed to international executive judge Pat Nourse, as well as its nose-to-tail eating.

"Cazador is like nothing else I've seen anywhere, really — an incredible mix of wild flavours, sharp ideas and careful cooking", Nourse said.

The judging panel considered more than 100 contenders, refining the list to 50 after several months of deliberation.

Judges paid for their own meals and visited restaurants anonymously.

Metro Peugeot Restaurant of the Year 2019 winners:

Metro Peugeot Restaurant of the Year 2019

Winner: Pasture
Runner-up: Cazador

Best Chef

Winner: Ed Verner
Runner-up: Jo Pearson

Restaurateur of the Year

Winner: Sid and Chand Sahrawat (joint), Sidart, Sid at The French Cafe and Cassia
Runner-up: Michael Dearth, The Grove, Baduzzi

Best New Restaurant

Winner: Three Seven Two

Best Fine-Dining Restaurant

Winner: Pasture
Runner-up: Sidart

Best Smart Restaurant

Winner: Cassia
Runner-up: Baduzzi

Best All-Day Restaurant

Winner: Amano
Runners-up: Depot

Best Casual Restaurant

Winner: Apero
Runners-up: Cotto

Best Neighbourhood Restaurant

Winner: Cazador
Runners-up: The Engine Room

Peugeot People's Choice Award for Best Dish

Winner: Crispy Soft Shell Crab, Saan

Best Service

Winner: Baduzzi
Runner-up: Apero

Best Wine List

Winner: O'Connell Street Bistro
Runner-up: Rothko

Best Drinks List

Winner: Ponsonby Road Bistro
Runner-up: Pasture

Restaurant Personality of the Year

Winner: Hiro Kawahara, Sid at the French Cafe
Runner-up: Carlo Buenaventura, Gemmayze St

Best Destination Restaurant

Winner: Three Seven Two
Runner-up: The Tasting Shed

Best Dish

Winner: Aged New Zealand Wagyu & AC/DC, Pasture