17 / 20
THERE’S a lot going on in this casual, modern eatery, from the bustling activity to the complex menu of intricate dishes. Chefowner James Beck uses seasonal, local ingredients in novel and ingenious ways, exploring the characteristics of often humble ingredients and elevating them to a higher status. Hay-smoked chicken is cleverly paired with “carrot textures” (meringue, puree, shredded, braised), while a dessert of pumpkin cheesecake (a deconstruction of pumpkin mousse, pumpkin seed ice cream and candied seeds, passionfruit curd, gel and leather, and beet cake, crumbs and slivers) demonstrates his outstanding techniques to superb effect. The carefully curated drinks list features local craft beers and boutique wines, many available in different pour sizes, and the personable waitstaff are well versed in the menu and knowledgeable about suitable wine matches. A deservedly popular combination.
40 Hastings St, Napier, 06 834 4309, bistronomy.co.nz; lunch & dinner Wed-Sun, mains $18-$30
Ingenious, multi-faceted fare in a bustling, modern space