Sitting in the conservatory of Tantalus Estate on a wintry day with the sun shining in, it’s hard to feel that much is wrong with the world. When Campbell Aitken and Carrie Mendell (above) opened this warming, convivial spot in September last year, the Cheshire Architects-orchestrated fit-out quickly had people talking, and it’s not hard to see why. All local stone and recycled kauri, with leather seating surrounding a cosy fireplace and lighting fixtures sculpted from vines, it has a casual, rustic lodge vibe. This is a winery restaurant but the Alibi in-house brewery gets just as much love, with the cluedup, charming staff suggesting both beer and wine matches to go with head chef Paul Jobin’s beautifully presented food. Don’t miss the seafood ramen – an umami bomb of softpoached egg, smoked fish and delicately pickled black fungi in a pitch-perfect crayfish broth.
70-72 Onetangi Rd, Onetangi, 09 372 2625, tantalus.co.nz Lunch 7 days; mains $34-$39
A sophisticated lunch IN BRIEF experience in a stunning space