Pinocchio is a high-end Martinborough bistro owned by chef Paul Ansell and his wife Elly, who ably runs front of house. Ansell has previously cooked at Martin Bosley’s, The White House and Logan Brown in Wellington, as well as at Peter Gordon’s The Providores in London, and his food is all about advanced technique and refinement. The complementary flavours and contrasting textures of dishes like confit duck leg, parsnip puree, kumara gratin, duck liver parfait, orange jus and spinach make a fine example of Ansell’s skill, as does an entree of six-hour braised beef cheek with remoulade, parsnip puree, baby beets and hazelnuts. It’s all backed up with a small but appropriately parochial by-the-glass wine list (though the bottle-only cellar list is wider ranging).
3 Kitchener St, Martinborough, 06 306 6094, pinocchio martinborough.co.nz Dinner Wed-sun; mains $29-$38
IN BRIEF Bistro dining taken up a notch in Martinborough