Restaurant review: Pacifica, Napier
Winner: KitchenAid Best Regional Restaurant
Cuisine rating: 15/20 (one chef's hat)
Housed in a bungalow painted as blue as the nearby ocean that shares its name, Pacifica has established itself as a Bay classic. Chef-owner Jeremy Rameka has created a restaurant that combines Kiwi bach chic with an exciting level of culinary sophistication, placing an emphasis on kaimoana. In the past year his approach has evolved – Pacifica now offers just two five-course degustation menus each evening; one devoted to seafood, the other serving a broader range of fare. A suggested wine match is displayed alongside each dish. The food is painstakingly prepared, daringly innovative and delicious – anyone for sesame crusted swordfish, squid mince and greenlip mussel congee? Or perhaps steamed scallop, local black pudding and foie gras crumble? Front-of-house staff share the passion that drives the kitchen, and the wine list is suitably interesting and quality-oriented. This is an original, highly creative restaurant.