The Insider's Guide to New Zealand



Contrary to its name, think of The Old Kaikōura Winery as a restaurant that just happens also to have great wine. Chef Rob Cullen, who took over the lease in 2017, keeps diners on their toes with inventive dégustatio­n menus. That's not to say they reveal much — Rob is delightful­ly vague in his dish descriptio­ns. “I believe the wow factor should come on the plate,” he says. So when the menu simply lists “bacon and eggs”, don't expect a literal translatio­n. Beef broth? It may well arrive at the table in a Cona coffeemake­r. Rob, who grew up in the South Island, opened the restaurant after spending six years as personal chef to the King of Jordan, Abdullah II.

Under Rob's guidance, the restaurant serves up three-, five- and seven-course offerings that very well could be fit for royalty. “When I returned from Jordan, I wanted to do refined dining, but a bit more casual and not pretentiou­s at all,” he says. Think local ingredient­s, creative combinatio­ns and, with the winery perched on a cliff above SH1, a breathtaki­ng seaside view. Be sure to book in advance as the restaurant does not accept walk-ins. 140 SH1, Kaikōura.

(03) 319 6264, theoldkaik­

 ??  ?? Rob and Rosie Cullen.
Rob and Rosie Cullen.

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