Voyager 2021 media awards
WEBSITE OF THE YEAR
APP OF THE YEAR
Travel

Baby, it's warm inside: NZ's cosiest restaurants to hunker down in

Maggie Wicks
By
Maggie Wicks

Food Editor and Writer

Not for sale

Throughout the country are places designed for snuggly comfort, writes Herald Food Editor Maggie Wicks

Yes, it's cold out there. But the fastest way to warm up is by putting a little heat in your belly. Shrug on your coat and boots, and step out to enjoy the cosiest food and drink establishments around New Zealand.

Jervois Steak House, Auckland

Wintry comfort food – check. Blazing fire – check. Tried and true – check. Auckland's Jervois Steak House has been serving up its legendary steak cuts for years. Yes there are divine cocktails, yes there's unctuous mac and cheese, and a wine list offering every lip-staining red you could crave. But it's the meat they come for – top quality, a considered range of cuts, and a close relationship with hand-selected producers around NZ (and beyond). And now the winter Sunday roast is back until the end of winter – rump steak, wagyu fat roasted spuds, gravy, Yorkshire pud and a glass of wine. You don't even need to switch on the oven. jervoissteakhouse.co.nz

Jervois Steak House, Auckland. Photo / Supplied
Jervois Steak House, Auckland. Photo / Supplied

Teresa, Napier

After hours, at the back of a deli along a quiet pedestrian mall in Napier, lies a secret – a tiny, dimly lit cocktail bar with room for just a handful of people. Owner Andrea Marseglia (you'll find him wielding a blow torch behind the bar, or telling customers the story behind Napier's most secretive bar), named Teresa after his Italian nonna. The bar is many things – a taste of the theatrical, a haven on a cold night, a forager's paradise, a mad scientist's lab. Here they serve drinks you could never recreate at home, no matter how well you shake a martini. Start with aperitivo – the traditional pre-dinner cocktail enjoyed in Italy to stimulate the appetite – then move on to more dramatic productions like Continuity in Space, a rum and wild fennel drink served on a bed of burnt hay (set alight at the bar), or a Dolce Vita Sour, topped with an aromatised bubble that will gently burst into a cloud of mist over the bar. The drinks are taken seriously, but they are served with a wink. On the side, order Waiheke Te Matuku oysters with shallot vinaigrette, and great slabs of sourdough with butter from the deli in front. harvesthospitality.co.nz/teresa

The Dolce Vita Sour at Teresa, Napier. Photo / Supplied
The Dolce Vita Sour at Teresa, Napier. Photo / Supplied

Hawthorn Lounge, Wellington

In the capital, Te Aro's Hawthorn Lounge prides itself both on cocktails, and its dark cosy corners, making it the perfect spot to wait out an evening of Wellington's famous weather.

At the bar, lit by classic brass-based green-glass banker's lamps, the cocktail list is classic with new inventions featured regularly – just ask the staff, or request what you fancy. The lounge is open until 3am, so feel free to settle in, but look sharp – with the bartenders in waistcoats and bow ties, Hawthorn isn't for slouches. hawthornlounge.co.nz

Hawthorn Lounge, Wellington. Photo / Justin McKenzie
Hawthorn Lounge, Wellington. Photo / Justin McKenzie

Cloudy Bay, Marlborough

Marlborough may be one of New Zealand's sunniest regions, but Cloudy Bay's cellar door, open 363 days a year, is perfect for chilly days, when the hearth of the huge indoor open fire set at the back of the tasting room is a welcome retreat. Here, with views overlooking the Richmond Ranges in one direction and the cavernous Cloudy Bay pinot noir barrel hall in the other, you can choose from a range of wine flights to introduce you to the full stable, take a deep dive with an immersion tasting, or simply order something toasty by the glass alongside platters of freshly baked breads, local olive oils and cheese. cloudybay.com

Postmasters Kitchen & Bar, Arrowtown

On a cold night, Postmasters is all a-twinkle. They open early for brunch but it's the evening when this space hits peak cosiness. Formerly the Arrowtown post office and then home to the local postmaster until the 1980s, this historic building has held its great views down the Arrowtown mainstreet since 1882 (although a fire saw the original house rebuilt in 1907). Nowadays locals order the signature dish - the seafood chowder - and a glass from the list of locally produced and boutique wines, or perhaps a mulled wine, and grab a spot by the roaring fire. postmasters.co.nz

Postmaster Kitchen & Bar, Arrowtown. Photo / Joe Bailey
Postmaster Kitchen & Bar, Arrowtown. Photo / Joe Bailey

For more travel inspiration, go to newzealand.com/nz.

Check traffic light settings and Ministry of Health advice before travel at covid19.govt.nz