HAWKE’S BAY

Cuisine - - RESTAURANTS -

Black Barn Bistro 14.5/20 Black Barn Rd, Have­lock North 07 877 7985, black­barn.com Lunch Wed-Sun, din­ner Thurs-Sat (win­ter hours) Mains $32-$35 THERE’S SOME­THING

awe-in­spir­ing about sit­ting at a ta­ble in a hill­top res­tau­rant, look­ing out over a trel­lis of leafy grape vines to vine­yards and farm­land and be­yond to the rolling hills of western Hawke’s Bay. This won­der­ful view is a ma­jor draw­card of the Black Barn din­ing room. Even af­ter dark, when the vista has dis­ap­peared, am­bi­ent light­ing pro­vides a sense of be­ing el­e­vated above the world.

I re­call my first visit to Black Barn not long af­ter it opened in 2003. De­spite the fact it had not had time to set­tle fully into its skin, I thought it a beau­ti­ful place then, thought­fully set out with the for­mal av­enue-like en­try path. There have been mod­i­fi­ca­tions and a general spruce-up but while the decor re­mains mostly the same, the years have given it the patina of age and it seems some­how more com­fort­able and wel­com­ing.

Our visit was at lunchtime and the res­tau­rant was rea­son­ably busy, but ser­vice through­out was prompt and ef­fi­cient. We no­ticed a sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment from pre­vi­ous vis­its in the menu aware­ness of the wait­staff, who were con­fi­dently able to de­scribe the dishes and as­sist with wine rec­om­men­da­tions.

This re­newed en­ergy may well be the re­sult of the in­flu­ence of Henry Gor­don, who took over the lease of Black Barn around 12 months ago, the first change of own­er­ship in 14 years. Henry, whose fam­ily is from the Hawke’s Bay, re­turned home af­ter sev­eral years in Europe work­ing on su­per yachts. Be­fore that

ABOVE Black Barn’s dessert of Hawke’s Bay ap­ples; chef Daniel Pi­s­tone and owner Henry Gor­don; the new fire­place

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