Bringing in new flavours
Waihi restaurant owners have made a u turn from Germanstyle cooking to bring Mediterranean delights to the table.
Roland Straessle and Mufide Cetin decided on a fresh start with the make-over of their former Waitete restaurant to create Down Thyme, focusing on Mediterranean and Turkish specialties.
The new restaurant was launched earlier this month and the owners are excited by the new challenge.
Roland says the couple has been inspired by Turkey, where Mufide is from, during their travels a few months ago.
“I have been blown away by the culture and history of this country and the fresh food at markets, specially variety of spices you can get there,” he says.
“We ended up with a suitcase full of them as well as some hand-painted art and craft that are now part of our new restaurant decor.”
The restaurant is a family business, with Roland in the kitchen and Mufide working front of house, and their previous experience in hospitality contributed to Down Thyme.
Roland has had 50 years’ experience as chef and Mufide 15 years’ managing several restaurants and vineyards in New Zealand.
But their food culture comes from their childhoods — in Germany for Roland and Turkey for Mufide, both growing up around homemade cooking, with fresh ingredients from the kitchen to the table.
“I love creating tasty food at home and still make my grandmother’s recipes,” Mufide says.
Roland says he does not compromise on quality.
“We trying to source our products locally. We get some lemons from our neighbours, we also get some vegetables from down the road. That is our motto. I make my own meat marinades, my fries, most desserts such as baklava, lemon zest etc.
“If people expect fast foodtype meals then we do not cater for them,” he says.
As well as their Turkish shish kebabs, falafel and Mediterranean flavours, the couple have maintained a wider range of dishes, with vegetarian and gluten-free options.
Their also host monthly wine clubs and can sit 60 people inside and another 30 outside.
They have also added some afternoon openings for snacks and coffees from Wednesday to Sunday.
Owners of Down Thyme, Roland Straessle and Mufide Cetin.