VICTORIA STREET BISTRO
The name proclaims it a bistro but the food in this intimate restaurant is more sophisticated than rustic. While it may seem that there’s a lot happening on the plate, head chef Andrew Clarke will have planned each component with care. He searches the Waikato (and beyond) for fresh produce and artisan suppliers, and his menu draws inspiration from East and West. Crispy pork hock is teamed with palm sugar, chilli caramel, fresh Thai vegetable salad, red nam jim and fragrant rice, while braised Takapoto beef comes with vegetable pappardelle, marinated heritage tomatoes, potato puree, sauce verte and saffron crumbs. Staff members have extensive wine knowledge, and customers get a good steer on matching from an impressive list (both Kiwi and global).
153 Victoria St, Hamilton, 07 839 4444, victoriastreetbistro.co.nz Lunch & dinner Tues-sun; mains $35-$39
IN BRIEF Creative cooking and charming service to match