White House to go as owners plan new start at Clyde Quay

TESSA JOHNSTONE
Last updated 05:00 28/06/2014

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After 22 years, Wellington fine dining mainstay The White House is shutting up shop.

Late last year, the operators of the award-winning restaurant announced they would shift from its long-time Oriental Bay spot to the new Clyde Quay Wharf development, a $100 million project on the site of the old Overseas Passenger Terminal.

But head chef and owner Paul Hoather has since made the call to can the White House brand and start afresh with a new restaurant at Clyde Quay.

"We're going into brand new premises and I feel the White House restaurant as such doesn't suit that site."

He said the White House brand suited the "little cottage on Willis St" in which the restaurant started, but the Clyde Quay site needed something different.

"It's going to be completely different from what we've done in the past - different from Charley Noble and what we've done at the White House.

"We've imported some great equipment from Spain for the kitchen, which will be a lovely point of difference, and we'll be announcing in a couple of weeks the fact that we've secured an international chef to come and be a part of it."

The change follows the closure of top-end restaurant Martin Bosley's in February, which prompted Wellington food reviewer David Burton to announce that fine dining was "sliding into extinction".

Hoather disagrees that fine dining has done its dash, but is hoping the new offering will be more contemporary.

The White House owners made the announcement in a newsletter to customers yesterday and outlined a commemorative six-course degustation menu that would feature dishes picked from menus set between 1991 and now.

It had been "an awesome journey" and, with a couple of decades of memories, it had not been an easy decision to close, Hoather said.

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- The Dominion Post

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